For the love of animals

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Women forge friendship over compassion for dogs

By Norma Kirkpatrick
Opelika Observer

Often mistaken as sisters, Diana Adams and Phylis Floyd have been friends since the 90s.  It is their common love and compassion for animals that caused them to meet initially and has sealed their friendship forever.  They met through volunteering at the old Lee County Animal Shelter on Hwy. 280.  Each of them served terms on the board there, and also at the present location on Ware Drive in Auburn.
Presently, Diana checks on potential homes where a request has been made for a specific pet.  She evaluates the home, making certain it will be a good and lasting environment for the animal.  If she is assured by the surroundings, the dog is taken for another visit and helped to “settle in.”  Both ladies emphasized how diligent their network of workers and volunteers are to make sure all rescued animals are examined and treated by a licensed veterinarian, tested and treated for disease, and also spayed or neutered before being placed in foster care, or in an adoptive home.
Phylis and Diana make a perfect twosome for transporting animals to persons who have found a dog they want locally, or on-line through Pet Finder, or other sites.  They observe consistent rules during transport, such as rest and water stops, walks and meal breaks for the dog.  Sometimes there are great distances involved, as they drive part of the way, and link up with another transport.  The dog is then transferred to another driver to complete the journey.  Sometimes several transports are required, especially since the New England states have greatly increased requests for dogs.
Some people are interested in a specific breed of dog and search the Pet Rescues sites on-line where breeds are posted.  In 2001, such a person was looking for a Chocolate Labrador Retriever.  He was told there was a dog of that breed at the Lee County Animal Shelter where all of the workers had come to love him.  The only problem, he was an older dog; and was blind.  The interested person said he did not care, and wanted the dog to be flown to the Baltimore, MD, airport, where he would be met; he would pay all expenses.  Phylis had taken pets to the airport to fly to their new homes before, but this was different.  She shared with me that it was her most memorable transport experience.
Phylis walked the large dog, that had affectionately become known as “Big Man”, on his leash through the Atlanta airport.  She described how dignified, trusting, and calm he was, as they walked through the totally new and noisy environment together.  Though he was unable to see any of it, he was obedient and well-behaved.  A flight attendant, who had completed her trips for the day, had volunteered in advance to accompany Big Man for his flight on the last leg of the journey to his new home in Baltimore, Md.   With tears in her eyes, Phylis showed me Big Man’s picture.  “I am so glad he was able to spend his last years in a home where he was wanted and treated well,” she said.
Without any remuneration, these two remarkable ladies find great delight in knowing they are part of a network that unites abandoned, abused and unwanted animals with individuals and families who want them.  Their diligence has rescued, saved and placed many animals through the years, as they have driven the dogs to adoptive homes where they are welcomed with love and care. As Diana, Phylis and I sat talking, they both had brought photo albums to share; showing me pictures of the dogs they have transported through the years, with the temporary names they had given them, and other notes about the event underneath each picture.  There were a lot of them, and they remembered them all.

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