The First Dog And His Friends

Post Anita Ahuja, Victims Compensation and Government Claims Board

What a treat to pose with Governor Jerry Brown’s dog, Sutter!   We had a wonderful time together.  I adore animals which is why providing care and shelter for animals without homes has been a top priority of mine for many years.  I contribute regularly to Happy Tails Pet Sanctuary, a no-kill animal rescue group devoted to protecting and improving the lives of homeless and abused animals in the Sacramento area.  Their volunteers handle adoptions and many invaluable programs to help animals and pet owners. 

Dogs and birds, especially, have played important roles in my life.  I grew up surrounded by German Shepherds which my Dad adored as a child.  Duke, Max and Duchess were wonderful watchdogs and great companions.  I have many fond childhood memories of them.  As an adult, I became the happy owner of a mischievous parakeet named Mortimer and later, another parakeet named Guinness.  Mortimer learned to talk as a baby bird, but he didn’t learn any of the phrases from the cassette tape I played for him every morning.  No, he learned everything I said, beginning with the phrase “I love you.”  He developed quite an extended vocabulary and I learned to be careful of my word choices around him!  Five years later, Mortimer developed a tumor in one of his wings which had to be amputated.  I was devastated and afraid of the amputation because I knew how much he loved to fly.  After receiving the news, I sat in the veterinarian’s office and cried.  I will never forget the vet telling me that if I couldn’t take care of my pet bird after the surgery, she would.  Somehow, that changed everything and I was very grateful to her for helping me with my decision.

Pets are filled with unconditional love and support and are also very therapeutic.  Dogs go to court with victims when they have to testify.  In fact, here in Sacramento County, the District Attorney’s Office Victim Witness Unit has a comfort dog named Reggie.  He provides support, peace and security and helps to reduce stress and anxiety for those involved in the criminal justice process. 

I encourage you to consider giving to animal shelters and organizations dedicated to helping our animal friends.