Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 18, 1999

ANNA MONICA / L’Observateur / August 18, 1999

My pet’s name is Eppie Jo, named after my late brother, Epifano Joseph, who some called “Epi” and in the Marines was called “Joe.” Before her was Sugar,named after my late brother, Tony “Sugar Boy” Monica. Sugar was killed by a carwhen she was 5 months old. It still hurts.Before Sugar, it had been years and years since I owned a pet My dog, Patsy, was killed when I was in the seventh grade, and I never wanted another until many years later when I got Sugar and then Eppie Jo, both Dobermans. You really don’tknow how much you can love an animal until you have a pet, I think. As a formerboss of mine told me after Sugar died, “They have a way of getting to your heart.” All of you animal lovers and pet owners out there know just what I mean.My neighbor, Gloria Borne, loves animals as does her daughter, Nancy Bourgeois.

My Aunt Rosalie Carpenter loves animals above all else, and my sister-in law Nancy Monica and offspring Ty, Nicholas, Katie and Gina are true animal lovers.

Ask them about their pet ducks, as well as their new dog, Angel.

A cousin, Mary Frances Falgoust, is one of the most devoted animal lovers I know. We used to call her “Ellie Mae” after the television animal-lovercharacter. She will feed anything around and has a number of cats to her credit,as well as dogs which live quite well.

I love animal lovers. To me they are part of the plan to take care of God’s dumbcreatures.

Eppie Jo shares my home and, thankfully, Gloria, who she loves, is her “dog sitter” if I am away. She always has food, water and lots of treats. I leave theair conditioner on for her. She is my child. Gloria’s bird dog, Sam, is her favoriteplaymate. My back yard is a mess. The dogs are happy. It is so very distressing to see a dog lying dead in the street, and I have seen several very recently. It is also upsetting to see strays wander the streetslooking for food and water, especially if they are pregnant and have no one to care for them. The more animals on the street, the more they will mate and theneven more little animals are born to roam the streets. I can hardly stand it andif I had a yard with a fence, I would like to rescue them all. But I can’t. Gene and Tammy Duhe of Garyville and their boys Casey and Blake rescued a pregnant, shaggy and sorry looking dog once. Her pups were brought to theshelter, and today Pearl is healthy and looks wonderful. Beryl LeBoeuf ofGaryville has a pet but also has been adopted by a stray dog which follows, sits and waits for her outside of church. She is good to the dog and she and others inthe neighborhood feed it. I love it! Most strays aren’t that lucky.That is where Heidi Hogan comes in. I owe Heidi and the humane shelter somevisits. It was a heartwarming experience when I was there. Heidi is anexceptional, loving person and every animal brought to the shelter is so important to her. I admire her tremendously. In my garage right now are severalrugs and things to donate to the shelter to make the animals comfortable. Theflea infested puppy I brought to her one day got her immediate attention and concern. She let me help feed the animals, told me the history of some and alsoshowed me the dangerous ones waiting to be put away. There are no words forHeidi’s dedication and hard work.

When I was there a lady looking for a dog settled on a red colored dog with Heidi’s help. The lady was going to keep and groom the dog. That was a lucky dog.Then I knew if I ever wanted another pet it would come from the shelter. Thoseanimals need owners, love and attention.

A number of emotions are experienced at the shelter. Heidi couldn’t turn downone owner whose husband had died and had to give up her three dogs and move away. The owner came there with her daughters. Having to give up their petsmade for a lot of losses in just a couple of weeks for that family. While Heidiwas finding space in her crowded shelter, I just cried with them. At least,though, the dogs would be in good hands.

A flyer I saw recently asked citizens to ask their council members to dedicate funds for a new parish animal shelter. I beg for that, too. I spoke to CouncilmanRanney Wilson, who is sympathetic and in favor. He says it’s a matter ofdedicated funding. I just say, please, please find funds somewhere and let us notlet Heidi stand alone. Money is needed. I always put money in the little plasticdogs I see on counters everywhere, and a contribution to the shelter would be so helpful.

“All creatures, great and small, the Lord God, made them all,” the verse says. Itwould be wonderful to have a new animal shelter. The animals, our pets, “Theyhave a way of getting to your heart.”

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