by Wendy Hunter
Happy New Year peeps! How’s your noggin’? Today is the day for hangovers, leftovers, and water under the bridge. To wit; eat, drink, be merry, and forget about all the questionable stuff you did this past year. No regrets, no bad deeds, and no bad language. Well, I don’t know about that last one…dagnabbit! I started this article yesterday, and was going for my usual snarky remarks, sarcastic humor, and irreverent comments about how lousy this past year was. I was going to blather on and on about the ongoing health issues in our family, how our failing appliances all hate us, and if Lady Luck was ever going to shine through our windows again. Where the ding dang is she? My never-ending thought was how we should just boot 2022 out the window, kick it to the curb, and ring in the new one. Actually, what I really wanted to do was grab it by the shoulders and toss it into the flames of a well-known establishment. That’s right, the Fires of Mordor. Hey, what the heck were you thinking?
The New Year opens most beautifully to me with all my dear ones in good health, & each busy & happy in their own peculiar way. —Louisa May Alcott
Yesterday, I went to ARF for a very special morning, where we met an amazing man on a mission. I have to say, after spending some time with an individual who has such a fantastic attitude and compassionate demeanor, I felt like the new improved Grinch. In other words, my heart must have grown three sizes by the time I drove home. Along with the other volunteers, I wept a bit and gained a new found respect for anyone who can inspire and remind me that there really are some good people out there. I give you Sean Quinn, former park ranger, avid outdoor enthusiast, and dog lover for the masses. Quinn is the founder of Pedals4Paws, a bike touring organization spreading their objective to “Help as many animals as we can by being their ambassadors, inspiring others to have kindness and compassion for animals. All while raising money to support humane societies, animal shelters, wildlife rehabilitation centers, etc. in the places we visit during our bicycle touring adventure around the world.” We love that!
The bicycle, the bicycle surely, should always be the vehicle of novelists and poets. —Christopher Morley
Here is a word of advice — see the world. Travel abroad and seek some kindly educated animal to teach you, for though this garden is one of extreme beauty, your mind will never be broadened and developed by resting peacefully at home. —Livingston Welch
Currently, a non-traditional bicycle tour with dogs, Pedals4Paws is a labor of love that is pursued on weekends and days off from work. As of October 2022, Pedals4Paws has ridden over 1,300 miles, raised over $1,000, and looks forward to continuing to make contributions to animal welfare organizations that they encounter during their travels. Oh, and did I mention that 100% of donations received to this one man show are used to further the mission of helping animals worldwide? Now that’s a mission worth shouting about.But before I babble on and on about Pedal4Paws and all the places they’ve been, the crazy encounters they’ve experienced, and all the tears and heartbreak in between, perhaps we should go back to the beginning. The beginning of a love story so pure and beautiful, it might cause you to shed some tears, and to having that whole Grinch effect. For people who’ve had the joy of owning a rescue dog so amazing and sweet and kind, you will be able to relate. And if you have not been that lucky, my friend, read on, and get out the Kleenex. Perhaps this story will get thee to your local rescue.
Once upon a time, specifically in 2009, Mr. Quinn visited our good friends at SoHumane in Oregon. There he found an adorable terrier mix named “Tucker”, with chocolate brown eyes and a gentle demeanor. Boom! It was an explosion of hearts and butterflies and all things magical. Okay, maybe there was a rainbow involved. Tucker captured Quinn’s heart, and it was true love ever after. Tucker was quickly renamed “Dogzilla”, and began the life of a true globe-trotting dog, with more adventures than Gulliver even thought about. Thirteen years later, the two have traveled to forty-nine states, three countries, climbed 14,000 foot mountains, gone caving and canyoning, dipped his paws into three oceans, hiked thousands of miles, and crossed two states all by bicycle. Because his paperwork said Zilla was born sometime between November 2007 and March 2008, Sean decided that December would be his birthday month. It was also discovered that Zilla was not a terrier, but in actuality, a Chihuahua. The only appropriate way to celebrate Zilla’s birthday was to celebrate his Quinceanera in Mexico. Ole! And off they rode to the land of tequila and tacos, where Zilla celebrated his fifteenth birthday with party hats and embarrassing photos. At least there’s no bad karaoke videos involved. Or is there?
Your birthday, as my own, to me is dear…
But yours gives most; for mine did only lend
Me to the world; yours gave to me a friend. —Marcus Valerius Martialis
And I know what you’re thinking right now; what the ding dang does Animal Rescue of Fresno have to do with all of this? What piece of the puzzle are we for this amazing little critter and his doting dad? Well, we are the missing link. The former “Tucker” originally came from a kill shelter in Fresno, was then pulled from euthanasia by ARF, and eventually hit the motherlode; the Willy Wonka golden ticket to Oregon. Tucker had a seat on the Saving Train to SoHumane, where he and Sean Quinn had their meeting of a lifetime. It was all over after that. When Mr. Quinn joined us this last Sunday, he came with Dogzilla and 100 cheeseburgers. He walked the two acres of our facility, feeding every single, solitary dog some delicious morsels. In our “Q” area where some of the more challenging dogs are housed, he showed us what a true dog whisperer he could be. “Denver”, one of the Min-Pins we got from a hoarding situation earlier this year, is still a bit skittish. But Quinn, who is a six-feet tall drink of water, folded his limbs onto the cement of Denver’s kennel, and was able to hand feed him cheeseburgers without a problem at all. It was amazing and shows that even the biggest human can ease the smallest of fears.
The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away. —Pablo Picasso
There are so many other things I’d like to share about Sean Quinn and his Pedals4Paws organization. Like the recent loss he had of his beloved dog, Captain Fantastic, and how she made it through more time battling cancer than they ever expected; how she and Dogzilla traveled the country with Sean and enjoyed every single solitary moment; how Dogzilla is battling cancer and Cushing’s disease, and a multitude of other illnesses. Not to mention Dogzilla’s recent forty-foot fall from a cliff, and landing onto a snow bank. Battled and bruised, he still carries on, a backseat driver in his trailer behind Quinn. We would like to thank Sean for his visit to ARF. Our dogs all loved the cheeseburgers, and we were so excited to spend some time with another animal rescue enthusiast. Mr. Quinn, you are more than welcome anytime.
The assumption that animals are without rights and the illusion that our treatment of them has no moral significance is a positively outrageous example of Western crudity and barbarity. Universal compassion is the only guarantee of morality. —Schopenhauer
I think dogs are the most amazing creatures; they give unconditional love. For me they are the role model for being alive. —Gilda Radner
Animal Rescue of Fresno
4545 E Dakota Ave.
Fresno, CA 93726
Check out more animal rescue stories in our Pet Perspective section and check back every month for another animal rescue adventure from ARF. Advertise in KRL and 10% of your advertising fees can go to a local animal rescue. We also have a pet Facebook group for KRL and we would love to have you join!