From the Editors
The dog days of summer
If you're awake (even barely) just before dawn this week, look to the eastern sky. There you'll find Sirius, aka "The Dog Star," bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, ready to cozy up to the rising sun. In reality, it's 8.6 light years away (a little far for fetching slippers, even for the most devoted pet), but to some ancient observers it appeared as if the two stars were teaming up to bring on some of the hottest days of the year — what are popularly known as the "Dog Days of Summer."
Since the Dog Star is about twice as massive and 26 times more powerful than our sun, things would be a lot more Sirius if that were the case. The ancient Egyptians both feared and eagerly anticipated the early morning appearance of Sirius, knowing the Nile would soon flood, destroying property but also leaving behind fertile ground for crops. Typical entrance for a dog — messy at first, but quick to grow on you.
Generally speaking, we love our pets — canine, feline, or otherwise. According to the ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals), it is estimated that Americans collectively own approximately 78 million dogs (with 44 percent of households owning at least one) and 85.8 million cats (with 35 percent of households owning at least one). However, not every pet-owner relationship is as fuzzy as it should be, as 6.5 million animals enter U.S. shelters annually. Some are surrendered by owners that can no longer physically or financially care for them, while others are rescued from abuse or abandonment — but all need new homes.
Animal lovers rallied to their cause in a big way during the most recent Erie Gives Day, with three area shelters — The ANNA Shelter (No. 3) , Because You Care, Inc. (No. 4), and Orphan Angels Cat Sanctuary & Adoption Center (No. 9) finishing in the top 10 in terms of unique donors. In total, over 1,200 bipeds chipped in on behalf of their quadruped counterparts. In this issue, you'll meet some of the lovable pets you can adopt from shelters and the dedicated people behind them, volunteering countless hours and buckets of energy to bring these animals back from some pretty desperate situations. If opting for a canine companion, Cara Suppa provides a list of places Spot might best explore his or her new leash on life.
It's a good thing to invest our favorite pet projects — whether literally in the form of a pet or in manifest in some other hobby or passion (pickles anyone?) But as the Amazon rainforest burns and the community's poor suffer, we mustn't forget about our planet and our people either. Sniff around and see how you can help.
Cover model: Slim, a six-year-old beagle adopted from Because You Care, is the beloved pet of Co-Editor-in-Chief Brian Graham and an occasional visitor to the Reader offices.