Well, rather than let myself get filled with indignation, however rightous, and just complain and be angry over all of these dogs that have been dumped at shelters or simply given up, I've decided to do something, however small, about it. The other day I submitted a volunteer application for ARPH, an Australian Shepherd Rescue organization. I spent an hour this morning talking to the area rep, who seems really nice, and lives in the next town over, so I'm really feeling good about it (and also, loose plans for a puppy playdate this week! Yay!). We don't have the space to be a foster home for dogs, but I can scan the shelters and notify the rep if an Aussie's at the shelter, and then she'll go about trying to find a foster home for it, and it looks like she's going to need some help getting the organization a bit more established in this area (I was already aware that there wasn't a lot of representation for Aussie rescue in this part of Florida). So, if nothing else, I think it'll be a great experience. A lot of folks on the Australian Shepherd forum I frequent do a lot of work with ARPH and STAAR ("Second Time Around Aussie Rescue"), so it's been on my mind for a while now.
I had thought about volunteering at the animal shelter, but given that I burst into tears when I just read stories of dogs that have been given up or abandoned, I'm pretty sure that's not a very good fit. But I have resolved to bring a donation of SOME sort down once a month -- kibble or cat litter or toys or towels (Sam's Club has ginormous bags of kibble and cat litter at really reasonable prices) -- simply because kicking irresponsible owners in the shins... is probably not the most sound plan, leaglly speaking. And our local county-run shelter is just... it's a depressing place. They have a lot of land, but the drainage is utterly nonexistent, so with a bit of rain it gets converted into swampland. It's overcrowded and ... "dreary" is probably the best word for it. Probably because it is SO overcrowded. (Seriously -- they have kitty overspill in the lobby. The rooms where the cages are kept are full, so they've set up cages wherever there's room.)
I know ARPH is breed specific, and part of me feels a twinge of guilt, because ... well, who's watching the mixed breeds' backs? But this is... I think this will be a good way to find out if I CAN help, and if I want to be more active with volunteer work. I'll see how it goes, and then take it from there.
On a completely unrelated note: my panettone recipe continues to thwart me. I think I just made another batch of panettone-biscotti (panetotti?). Which isn't a bad thing, but I still cannot figure out where I'm going wrong with this recipe, and I am nearly out of the orange confit I made specifically FOR the recipe. Am considering trying one more time -- later, once I'm not completely tired of fruited bread -- and going off-recipe to see if my hunch is correct. But for the nonce, I'm out of bread flour and vanilla extract (I'd also like to pick up some Fiore di Sicillia from The Baker's Catalogue for my next attempt), and at least the house has something sweet in it. Even if it's something botched.
I also finished reading Fangland by John Marks, and I have a lot to say about it -- not all of it good -- but I need to collect my thoughts a bit more. The first half of the book was really quite good. The second half tried my patience and pissed me off and made me want to smack the author upside the head with a nice, hefty hardcover edition of Dracula.