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Volunteers Are The Lifeblood Of Every Shelter


by Debra Starr Photography by Anna Cooke


John Morse (shown above with Delilah) is M


eet Delilah. Her muzzle is speckled with grey flecks and her eyes are a bit cloudy. She has been a resident of Manatee County Animal Services for almost two years. Most of Delilah’s days are spent in her kennel dozing on her Kuranda bed. But today is Tuesday and Delilah


loves Tuesdays. That’s when John Morse comes. That’s when John takes her out to the sunshine and they lie together in the grass. Delilah will roll onto her back and close her eyes while John talks to her softly and rubs her belly. Yes, Delilah loves Tuesdays. Who is John Morse? What does he do and why? Let’s go behind the


scenes of Manatee County Animal Services’ volunteer program on a typical Tuesday to find out.


a volunteer with a big heart. Cancer took his wife, Donna, 24 years ago and his 17-year- old dog, Josie, seven years ago. John finds happiness giving love and hope to dogs at the Shelter. He dedicates himself to eight dogs at a time, visiting them at least two times a week until they are adopted. When one of “his” dogs is adopted, John adds a new one from the dogs that are a little less adoptable than the others; dogs who are scarred, scared or have health issues.Whether he is hugging Trixie, walking Timothy, throwing toys and balls for Smiley or simply lying on the grass with Skybarker, John has found his joy in sharing love and building trust. Meanwhile, our typical Tuesday finds a


pair of young hound mixes joyfully chasing each other in the play yard as Nancy Motyka watches approvingly. They race around the perimeter of the yard, stopping only for occasional pets and laps of water. Nancy, Benita and I watch with big smiles on our faces. Nancy lost both her dogs within three months of each other and is currently dog- less. She joins the other shelter volunteers twice a week for a self-prescribed dog fix.


34 THE NEW BARKER www.TheNewBarker.com


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