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Honey, The Accidental Foster.


–by Anna Cooke


There are no coincidences. I have heard that quite a lot over the last year. Richard Gonzmart, for example, prayed for a sign to move forward with his dream to create Ulele, his new restaurant in historic Tampa Heights. Suddenly, a manatee emerged from the waters of the Hillsborough River and met Richard’s gaze.


Shelter’s Puppy Love fundraising event in May, I made an unplanned stop at Pinellas County Animal Services. They requested more copies of The New Barker for their lobby. Leaving the lobby, I ran into Lori Fricker, President of Florida Great Pyrenees Club. She was picking up a Pyrenees mix who had been owner-surrendered. She promised to stay in touch with the dog’s progress. Heading towards my car, I noticed a woman holding a small


dog in the parking lot. She turned around and we stood face- to-face. I commented on how sweet her dog looked and asked if she had just adopted her. “No, I’m afraid I have to let her go. Her name is Honey and I’ve had her since she was a puppy. But, she bit my six-year-old daughter who is autistic. I can’t take a chance of that happening again,” she told me. “I was just inside the shelter, but realized I’d forgotten my driver’s license, so I had to come back out to my car.” The family had just moved to the Tampa Bay Area from


Texas. She was clearly upset and Honey didn’t have a clue what was in store for her. I wondered if the woman had mentioned to anyone inside Animal Services about Honey biting her daughter. How would that affect Honey’s chance for adoption? I suggested that she might want to reconsider, and contact a rescue group or a no-kill shelter. New to the area, she didn’t know of any rescue groups, nor did she quite grasp the concept of a no-kill shelter. I contacted Scott Daly, Executive Director for Pet Pal


Animal Shelter. He answered his phone, despite the fact that he was under the added pressure of getting ready for Pet Pal’s biggest fundraising event of the year that evening. Honey had not been officially signed in to animal services. Yes, of course, bring her to the shelter, he told me. It all had to happen pretty fast after that, otherwise, I might


change my mind. What was I thinking? The woman handed Honey and her pillow over to me. As I drove to St. Petersburg, with Honey in the passenger seat, she never took her eyes off of me. What was I getting myself into? Throughout the drive, she remained calm, well-behaved


Honey, Lucy, John & Joan.


Or Regina Invandino, who was unsure about what her next career path would be. She suddenly found herself surrounded by dragonflies, a symbol of change, and change in the perspective of self realization. Cappuccino’s Fine Wine & Espresso Bar is a thriving Dunedin business that Regina created, and has owned and operated since her encounter with those dragonflies more than 10 years ago. There are no coincidences. On my way to St. Petersburg to cover Pet Pal Animal


66 THE NEW BARKER


and followed my instructions, mixed-up as they were. No signs of aggression when I reached for her or picked her up. At Pet Pal, the staff and volunteers were getting ready to close for the day. They would all be heading to the Mahaffey Theater for the evening’s big event. As I began to fill out the paper work to release Honey to them, I suddenly realized that she would be left all alone, with no human interaction until the following morning. I called Scott back and thanked him for his generous offer to take Honey. She would be going home with me, at least for the weekend. I offered my apologies for not being able to attend Puppy Love that evening, as planned. Of course, he understood.


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