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These cold days and colder nights have been brutal, but at least we have a roof over our heads and heat in our homes. We know, however, that there are lost and homeless domestic animals out in the elements that are not as fortunate.

Some of those in this category make it to the Beatrice Animal Shelter, and I have heard people say that they feel sorry for them. But don’t! These are the animals that are safe, and fed, and warm, and cared for. It’s all the unfortunate canines and felines living on the streets with stories we will never know that we need to worry about.

The story of Miss Scarlett

Two such furry friends, “Scarlett” and “Pandora," recently made their way to the Beatrice Animal Shelter. Scarlett is a young adult cat who was a victim of the frigid temperatures from the recent polar vortex.

In an attempt to get warm, she climbed up into the engine of a vehicle. When the vehicle started up, Scarlett was trapped inside. She suffered burns in several places including her face, side, feet, and tail. Even her whiskers were singed off.

According to shelter manager, Carlee Fiddes, a good Samaritan found the traumatized kitten and brought her into the shelter. Thanks to the Coffin Cat Fund and the generosity of those who heard her story, Scarlett was able to get the help she needed.

Today, she has been spayed and is warm, dry, medicated, and healing.

Scarlett will be available for adoption when she gets medical clearance, but whenever that is, she will be a wonderful, loving addition to her forever home.

Pandora’s predicament

Coming into the shelter about the same time as Scarlett was Pandora, a sweet four-five-month-old kitten that was skinny, homeless, hungry, and injured.

We will never know her whole story, but we do know she came in with a broken leg that made it next to impossible for her to hunt or scavenge for food. If she had not been found, she most likely would have succumbed to starvation or the freezing cold. For Pandora, it was a miracle of timing.

Little Pandora needs to put on some more weight before she will be spayed or have the non-viable leg amputated. Meanwhile, she is getting stronger and loving the care and attention of her caregivers. She, too, benefitted from the funds in the Coffin Cat Fund and the donations from generous shelter supporters.

Be a hero

If you would like to be a hero to the animals at the shelter, there are several ways to help. Cash donations can be made through the Beatrice Humane Society website or by mailing donations to P.O. Box 646, Beatrice NE 68310.

Other options include volunteering or fostering or donating shelter supplies such as laundry detergent, non-clumping cat litter, cat and kitten food, office supplies, and gas gift cards for the shelter van. The complete shelter wish list is available on the Beatrice Humane Society website.

 Going to the dogs

For the dog lovers in our midst, February is a special month. Not only is it Groundhog Day, Valentine’s Day, President’s Day, Black History Month, and the shortest month, but it is also the annual Westminster Kennel Club dog show in New York City.

This year’s show will be Monday, February 11 and Tuesday, February 12 on Fox Sports 1. As you may recall, I am all about mutts, but I do enjoy watching the Westminster competition. The dogs are handsome and beautiful and elegant…even if they are purebreds.

Interestingly, this year’s event will also include 16 mutts – many of them rescues from animal shelters – that will compete in Saturday’s agility competition against 209 purebred dogs. Go mutts!

According to espn.com, mixed breeds are back at Westminster for the first time since they were officially disinvited over a century ago because their muddled bloodlines left no written conformity standard to judge them by.

Meanwhile the fancy pants purebreds are exquisitely groomed and seem to have a sense that all the world is watching them. And, if you listen carefully to the introductions of the dogs, you will learn some interesting facts about each of the breeds that is represented.

Before the two-day show is over, you will find yourself rooting for a special canine that won you over. And by the time the judge is making his choice for Best in Show, you will be yelling at the TV and campaigning for your favorite.

Go ahead. Enjoy the competition and take in all the glitz and glamour of life in the fast lane of the dog show crowd. Just remember that the Best in Show is the loveable canine sharing the couch with you. You picked a winner!

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