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Happy hour has gone to the dogs--and cats, and all things relating to companion animals. Yes, happy hour is now "Yappy Hour."

The Beatrice Humane Society’s first after-hours gathering was held at Tall Tree Tastings in downtown Beatrice last Friday. Known as "Yappy Hour," the after-work social is an opportunity to meet and greet Humane Society staff, board members, volunteers and anyone interested in furry friends.

Attendees might want to tell stories about their four-legged kids, share ideas on raising a willful pup, offer creative ideas for shelter fundraising or find out more about ways to volunteer to benefit the critters. Or, you can just shoot the breeze with fellow animal lovers.

Yappy Hour will now be a monthly event on the third Friday of the month, beginning at 5:30 p.m. The next one is scheduled for Friday, Feb. 16 and will again be at Tall Tree Tastings. A cash bar is available.

Grab a friend or two after work and join us at Yappy Hour. It’s the purr-fect way to kick-off the weekend. For more information, call the Beatrice Animal Shelter at 402-228-9100.

Bow-WOW to Woods Bros

Woods Bros Realty Beatrice started our year off in grand style. The local agency recently donated $1000 to the Beatrice Humane Society to support the organization’s work with lost and homeless animals in Beatrice and all of Gage County. Thanks, Woods Brothers, for your vote of confidence.

If your business or organization would like to donate to the Humane Society, please contact me or any board member to learn about what special needs we are facing. Your help can make a real difference in how we can serve the animals that come into the Beatrice Animal Shelter.

Calling all volunteers

The Beatrice Humane Society is making a concerted effort to develop a strong volunteer program that will support the daily operations at the shelter. Six major areas of need have been identified, including dog care, cat care, office/data entry, housekeeping/maintenance, fundraising/outreach and volunteer orientation coordinators.

If you are interested in learning more about volunteering in any of these areas, plan to attend the next volunteer orientation meeting on Saturday, Feb. 24 at 10:30 a.m. at the shelter.

Before you sign up to attend, complete a volunteer application form that can be found on the Humane Society website at www.beatricehumanesociety.org. Forms are also available at the shelter.

Whether you want to socialize kittens, walk dogs, clean kennels, perform office tasks or help with any multitude of tasks, your contribution of time and talent is important to the success of operating our animal shelter. Check out your options and join the team.

A tale of bravery

There are many stories in the news these days about how dogs play an important role in today’s military. Not only are they in the field with active duty soldiers, but they also do service as therapy dogs for the veterans of war and battle.

But dogs in the military is not a new idea. This past week, the Associated Press ran a story about a hero dog from World War II. I would like to share his story with you:

LONDON— A U.S. Army dog that attacked a machine-gun nest during World War II has been posthumously awarded Britain’s highest honor for animal bravery.

Chips, a German shepherd/husky cross, was awarded the Dickin Medal for actions during a 1943 beach landing in Sicily. According to the soldiers, Chips raced into an Italian machine gun nest, attacking an enemy soldier and pulling the gun from its mount.

The medal was awarded by veterinary charity PDSA in a ceremony last week at the Churchill War Rooms in London. The honor was accepted by 76-year-old John Wren of Long Island, whose father donated Chips to the war effort.

PDSA Director-General Jan McLoughlin said Chips could “take his place in the history books as one of the most heroic dogs to serve with the U.S. Army.”

Thank you for your service, Chips.

This column was written by Bette Anne Thaut, board member of the Beatrice Humane Society.

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