Mountain Views News, Sierra Madre Edition [Pasadena] Saturday, August 18, 2018

MVNews this week:  Page A:7



Mountain Views-News Saturday, August 18, 2018 

Happy Tails

by Chris Leclerc




Columbo is a medium energy 2-year-old 
Siberian Husky, weighing in at only 52 
pounds. He is good on leash and enjoys 
walks and sniffing his surroundings. He 
is extremely affectionate and human-
oriented. He likes to be close to his human 
and really enjoys cuddle time. Columbo 
is new to the shelter and is still a little 
overwhelmed with noises and shelter 
life and he will often climb on your lap 
seeking affection or lean by your leg to be 
close to you. If you are a fan of Huskies, 
you have to meet Columbo - he will melt 
your heart with his beautiful soulful blue 
eyes. His adoption fee is $145 and includes 
neuter surgery, vaccinations, microchip 
and a free wellness exam at a participating 
veterinarian. Feel free to call us at (626) 286-1159 
for more information. He currently resides at the 
San Gabriel Valley Humane Society located at 851 
E. Grand Avenue in San Gabriel which is located 
off San Gabriel Blvd, north of Mission and south 
of Las Tunas Drive. To arrange a ‘Meet and 
Greet’, please stop by any time from 10:30am to 
4:30pm Tuesday through Sunday.Website:www. 

I am convinced that God allowed the animals He 
created to become domesticated for a very specific 
purpose - to help the people get along in this life on 
earth. While humans like to consider themselves the 
superior species in the animal kingdom, I believe that 
we should be very careful in assuming we’re “top dog” 
among all living things. I guess it depends on how you 
define superior, and what set of criteria you choose to 
apply to the honor of that particularly important title.

 These are just a few of the emotionally charged 
thoughts that came to mind while I was viewing a 
documentary about a prison dog program at Dixon 
Correctional Institute in Jackson, Louisiana. The dog 
rescue & training / prisoner rehabilitation program 
was born out of necessity when thousands of pets were 
inadvertently released, ran away or were abandoned 
during the torrents of hurricane Katrina.

 The documentary was so touching, I was compelled 
to seek out similar stories to feed my need to know 
more about how convicts are learning to ‘love and let 
live’ through intimate interaction with canines & cats 
in need. What I found was quite astounding, in terms 
of the positive results of inmates coming together with 
pets in prison. There are numerous such programs 
throughout the US, and statistics show that prisoners 
who participate, are far more likely to live productive 
lives upon release, than those who did not.

 What enthralls me most about pet shelter programs 
in prisons, is that it demonstrates the universal 
structure and balance of symbiotic relationships 
between species, and the important role those 
relationships play in forming a better future for all 
involved. Needy animals get the love, attention and 
training they desperately need while inmates learn 
to be responsible for and care about another being. 
Inmates become very attached to the animals they 
are responsible for and many choose to pursue 
certifications that, upon release, will allow them to 
care for and train animals in municipal shelters, 
bettering the chances of the pets being placed into 
forever loving homes.

 Participation in prison animal shelter programs 
is a privilege limited strictly to inmates who prove 
themselves trustworthy enough to safely handle and 
care for the animals and willing to show them due 
respect. The program 
presents a strong incentive 
for prisoners to work hard 
at maintaining a record of 
good behavior, which helps 
with the rehabilitation of 
those who may otherwise 
become frustrated or angry 
and cause disruption. The 
inmates who benefit most 
from the program are 
those who truly wish to 
move onward and upward 
in life, rather than allowing 
themselves to become 
perpetual victims of the 

 Another plus to having a cooperative canine, cat 
and con program is that the animals placed in prison 
shelters typically receive excellent, closely monitored 
care and even obedience training that is typically not 
provided in public animal shelters. While the SPCA, 
the Humane Society and other animal rescue agencies 
work hard to provide optimal treatment & sufficient 
time for placement, they are limited to minimal tax-
paid and donated funding to carry out the task. In the 
case of most prison shelters, the inmates build and 
maintain the structures themselves, and in some cases 
are expected to cover part of the cost associated with 
owning a pet.

 Dixon Correctional Institute is one of many prisons 
that have established pet shelter programs. Another 
one I was impressed with is called Operation Second 
Chance, sponsored by a partnership between the 
Gwinnett County Sherriff’s Dept. and The Society 
of Humane Friends in the state of Georgia. This 
program, which involves inmates working one-on-
one with the animals and some becoming certified 
trainers, is made possible by volunteer efforts and 
pro-bono services provided by animal-loving pet 
professionals who believe in the idea of positive 
results coming from symbiotic relationships between 
inmates and animals.

 Probably most unique among the prison pet 
programs is one in Alabama involving convicts who 
have been allowed to adopt the feral cats that were 
roaming the premises, causing chaos for security 
officers around the perimeter of the prison. In 
this particular program, hand-picked trustworthy 
inmates, including some on death row, are allowed 
to keep cats in their cells under the condition that 
they will accept responsibility for the cost to spay 
or neuter and that they will feed and care for them. 
Remarkably, most of the inmates who’ve qualified 
for the program have followed through with their 
responsibilities as promised and have fostered long-
term, loving and affectionate relationships with their 
pets, not to mention have become very protective 
of them. Apparently the message is made perfectly 
clear that nobody better mess with a con’s kitty 


Like her namesake, 
the famous 
Hollywood movie 
star, Norma Jean, 
who became the 
beautiful Marilyn 
Monroe, our feline 
beauty has had her 
share of troubles. 
Our Norma Jean 
was abandoned to 
a life on the streets. 
She had some litters of kittens and never knew 
where her next meal was. She was found by a Good 
Samaritan and brought to safety. Her health exam 
discovered some issues, which are now clearing 
up nicely with a special diet (non Rx). She is FIV+ 
but needs no meds, a condition easily managed 
as long as she is kept indoors. In spite of all this, 
our Norma 
Jean, like the 
movie star, 
has remained 
the pillar of 
beauty and 
We think 
this superstar 
should be put 
on a pedestal 
and pam-purr-ed with love and safety all the 
rest of her life. Age 3 or 4. See her sweetness 
on her video at
watch?v=Ixu4cy1D3c4 and more pictures on our 
website at

 GOOD NEWS: Wiggin has been adopted!



A Weekly Religion Column by Rev. James Snyder




I am not the kind of person 
that dabbles in luck. [Knock 
on wood.] When something 
looks like a good gamble to me, I run from it as 
fast as I can. If it looks too good to be true, believe 
me, it probably is not true.

 Luck has never been a friend of mine. The only 
luck I have ever had in life is when I conned a 
young lady into saying, “I do.” That was 47 years 
ago and I have never had a luckier moment since. 
Each year I appreciate that lucky moment more.

Apart from that, I am not on the lucky side of the 

 It is not that I would not appreciate a lucky 
moment every now and again. It is just that I am 
not the lucky kind of a person that gets that kind 
of thing.

 My father taught me that life is not built on luck, 
but rather on hard work. Then he would send me 
to the backyard to do the mowing. Looking back 
on that situation, I think he was pretty lucky that I 
did not know what he was talking about and went 
and mowed the grass for him.

 I tried this on my son once and he came back 
and said, “Dad, the mower is broken I can’t get it 
started.” Lucky for him.

 I do not know why people are so interested in 
luck. Whenever I go to a convenience store, there 
is a long line behind the lottery ticket counter 
buying their ticket for the week.

 One time I stood back and watched people buy 
their lottery ticket and everyone’s impression was 
they believed it was their lucky day and this was 
their lucky number.

 I stopped one person and asked, “Do you buy 
lottery tickets often?”

 The man looked at me and said very 
enthusiastically, “Yes, I buy them every week.” 
Then he chuckled as he showed me his recent 
lottery ticket.

 “How often,” I queried, “have you won?”

 He looked at me and his smile evaporated and 
he mumbled, “Never.”

 As I thought about that, I began to realize how 
lucky the lottery was that there were so many 
people that did not have any luck whatsoever 
except bad luck.

 I begin to calculate how much it would cost 
a year to buy lottery tickets every week. It was 
rather an amazing amount and I began to think 
how much bad luck really cost people.

 It is lucky for me that I do not play the lottery 
because all I would experience is bad luck.

 A young friend of mine was telling me that he 
had no luck in the dating compartment of his life. 
“All I have,” he complained, “is bad luck when it 
comes to dating.”

 Then he explained that he was going to try his 
luck at one of those online dating programs. I am 
totally unfamiliar with that kind of thing, but he 
said that it might be his lucky day if he just went 
in that direction. “Who knows,” he smiled, “I just 
might get lucky.”

 Six months later, I saw him in the mall and 
ask him how his luck was with the online dating 

 He just looked at me and said, “So far all I’ve 
had is bad luck.”

 I thought about this for a moment. Which is 
worse bad luck; the lottery or the online dating 

 Although I am not an expert along this line, I 
think the best bad luck would be in the lottery.

 As I processed these things, it occurred to me 
that I have been a rather lucky dude, in my time.

 I was thinking of all the money I saved from 
not playing the lottery. That brought a smile to my 
face. Not losing money is rather a lucky thing as 
far as I am concerned. I like to think of myself as 
rather fugal when it comes to money.

 Another thing my father said, “A penny saved 
is a penny earned.” I think I know where he got 
that saying. However, when looking at it, it is very 
lucky to save a penny. Every time I go past the 
lottery window at the convenience store, I count 
my lucky stars that I am not having bad luck today.

 Then I reminisced about the luckiest day of my 

 My friend had no luck at the online dating 
service. I, on the contrary, had all the luck in 
the world when the Gracious Mistress of the 
Parsonage said to me, “I do.” I do not know 
anybody luckier than me in this regard.

 Now, I don’t want this to get back to her, I’m 
hoping you’ll keep my little secret, but every day 
of my life I am lucky to have her in my life.

 I must confess that I do not believe she is as 
lucky as I am. After all, I do have a mirror in the 
bathroom. But I am lucky that she does not take 
me to task with that one.

 Thinking about this I remembered what David 
said in one of his Psalms. “For thou hast made 
him most blessed for ever: thou hast made him 
exceeding glad with thy countenance” (Psalm 

 Thinking about this a little more, I do not 
consider myself lucky. I consider myself to be 
blessed beyond words.

 The Rev. James L. Snyder is pastor of the Family 
of God Fellowship, 1471 Pine Road, Ocala, FL 
34472. He lives with the Gracious Mistress of the 
Parsonage, in Ocala, Florida. Call him at 352-687-
4240 or e-mail The church 
web site is

[Nyerges is the author of 
“Self-Sufficient Home,” 
one chapter of which 
shows the pointlessness 
of a “front lawn.” He is the 
author of several other books, and leads regular 
survival and self-reliance classes. He can be 
reached via this paper, or Box 41834, Eagle Rock, 
CA 90041, or on-line at www.ChristopherNyerges.

 Leaf blowers are causing much consternation 
in Sierra Madre. 

 Yes, some cities have banned them, and yes the 
perpetrators can be fined when a police officer 
actually has the time to catch them.I have long 
been against leaf blowers. How many of you have 
seen “gardeners” simply blowing dirt and dust 
and bits of debris into the middle of the street, or 
audaciously blowing it into the neighbor’s yard? I 
can no longer count the times I have seen this. Yes, 
I know some of the guys doing landscape work are 
conscientious individuals, but at least half are not, 
and they view a neighbor’s yard as a good place as 
any to dispose of leaf and dirt and dust.I can recall 
when I did landscape and gardening work. We 
used some power tools, like a mower, but mostly 
rakes and brooms. 

 Though it was hard work most of the time, it 
was a silent meditation as we worked in some 
yard, cleaning and pruning with no adverse effects 
for the neighbors.Today’s mow and blow crews are 
not artists, just guys moving from house to house, 
quickly knocking off each job with their blowers 
and week-wackers, and when you complain you 
are accused, at best, of interfering with someone’s 
ability to make a living, and at worst, you are 
accused of being a racist.The racist accusation 
does not merit comment. As for interfering 
with someone’s job, since when is how someone 
makes money not subject to regulation? If the leaf 
blowers were silent, that would reduce some of 
the criticism. And if the leaf blowing guys used 
the blowers only occasionally, blowing leafs into 
a pile and then picking it up into a container, that 
too might reduce some of the criticism.When the 
blowers come in and do their dirty deed, asthma 
sufferers suffer more, as all the nasties in the dust 
are now in the air, things like arsenic, cadmium, 
chromium, dried fecal material, and more. 
That’s what you’re breathing when the knock-
off gardeners pretend that the leaf blower is the 
only tool need for yard maintenance.I am on the 
extreme that believes we should just let all the 
leaves lie, and let a garden grow where you once 
had a lawn. Weed-wackers and leaf-blowers make 
our urban home a nightmare, not a paradise.What 
then can we do? 

 Do everything possible. 

 First, talk to your neighbor who employs the 
leaf-blowers. Some will understand that yard-work 
can be done without excessive noise, dust, and 
fumes, and they might be convinced to hire true 
gardeners. When I lived in L.A., I hired a gardener 
for some occasional work, before the blowers were 
banned. I told him he could not use the blower on 
my property. He objected at first, but I told him 
I’d not hire him otherwise. Of course, he found 
the way to do my yard without a blower.Other 
neighbors will not care until they are suffering 
from breathing problems, and the noise is driving 
them mad.If you want to keep your quiet Sierra 
Madre neighborhood tranquil, then go to the 
city meetings and bring up the topic. You could 
also speak up at your local Neighborhood Watch, 
assuming you have one. You may not get the quick 
action you want, but if you remain silent, you can 
be assured that no action will occur.Paradise is 
within, and it is an internal thing. We make our 
homes and neighborhoods a living paradise, or an 
excruciating hell, by all the choices we make. Let’s 
learn to respect each other, and especially the 
needs of the elderly and infirm who are home all 

Mountain Views News 80 W Sierra Madre Blvd. No. 327 Sierra Madre, Ca. 91024 Office: 626.355.2737 Fax: 626.609.3285 Email: Website: