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Be part of the good...Open Wide the Door

I video and record Animal Rescuers, Fosterers and Adopters who have welcomed in animals in need. These good folks speak of how and why they do what they do.

Certainly, each animal cared for well honors all animals not cared for. This understanding becomes living prayer for animals worldwide (perhaps next door) still at risk.


star to celebrate animal rescuers - fosterers - adopters
star to inspire animal rescue - fostering - adoption
on a broader scale

to reduce the numbers of shelter surrenders and returns
to help establish stronger animal-fostering networks
to honor all that animals teach us
when we see them deeply

to promote reverence for all life

The conversations, whether videoed or simply recorded, take place face-to-face or long distance, In Depth or On the Spot. The voices themselves tell stories, laced as they are with true emotion.

Some folks are glad to be videoed or recorded. Others choose to tell their stories anonymously — no photos or video, no name or location mentioned. In whichever form, with their permission, I post their conversations from my smartphone to the world.

Fosterers and adopters may differ as to daily routines and philosophy and practice of care. Some have plenty of money to spend on their animal companions' well being. Others have little.

​And s​ome have plenty of time. Their dogs get walked frequently, for example. Others – especially those who work two or three jobs or who are ill or ​very old or ​who have young children to care for, maybe some with special needs – ​make do with​ runs or fenced-in yards.

That said, you will recognize the common thread of dedication. Caregivers spay and neuter their cats and dogs and feed them and shelter them and stick by them (as well as stick by their birds and rabbits and goats and sheep and horses and . . .) You will “as they say” feel the love.

I urge you not to watch or listen on the basis of calling yourself a dog person or a cat person and the like. In fact, watching/listening you will hear folks speak of having switched preferences — cat lovers become bird lovers, dog lovers become cat lovers. Walls fall down.   

"At this point I am creating a digital quilt of stories,
not a documentary.
Though I have spent much time sound editing,
consistent with my intention to present the conversations well,
I now view the occasional hisses and highway noises,
chain saw din, folks chatting in the background,
dog collars jingling, birds sounding loudly,
as "accompaniment" to the rescuers' - fosterers' - adopters' clearly-spoken words."

The OPEN WIDE THE DOOR video and audio conversations feature compassion live. They celebrate the lengths to which human beings will go for the sake of animals in need, even in (especially in) extreme and tender times.

because every life matters, 
signature of maggie davis
maggie (davis)



Late summer 2012, a friend called to say that a pregnant, two-year-old pug/minpin/chihuahua mix had been found abandoned on a chain, no food or water. The call came a few weeks before my six-year-old greyhound companion, Muse, and I were to move from a small summer rental in Stonington, Maine, to my winter rental in that town.

An animal control officer had kept the little dog a couple of days, but she couldn’t stay with him, he said. And there was a question of her being able to whelp her pups successfully. I believed she was at risk of being euthanized.

Adopting another dog
— especially a pregnant, unsocialized one —
seemed far from a good idea.
But now I knew about Molly,
and I couldn’t unknow her.
 Setting common sense aside, I welcomed her in.

At first she barked and lunged at everything and everyone new she saw, including leaves looping by her in a breeze. When she and Muse and I went walking (Muse, easygoing — Molly, loving and intelligent but far from easygoing) — we were not a pretty sight.

I reminded myself how I might feel if suddenly I had been transplanted from an isolated life. I’d have barked and lunged, too, most likely, until gentle touch and positive training, plus plenty of reassuring sniffs, could help me feel more secure.

Dogs far too often are returned to shelters when
they lunge and bark at other dogs.
Or they are labeled as Dogs Who Don’t Like Other Dogs
when, in fact — as with Molly — often they simply
are either very excited to see other dogs,
or are afraid of them.

Cats are returned as well, or worse.
A cat who recently had lost the person
she’d been with for ten years
peed on her adopter’s bed the first night in her new home
and was euthanized the next day.

Thankfully, many give their dogs and cats and horses and . . . .
a chance to settle in.
These folks call up times they, themselves,
have been most frightened 
and, remembering,
offer compassion to their new companions.
A woman adopting two goats who cried almost ceaselessly
sensed their terror
and comforted them with her presence
until they felt more at home.

Two veterinarians confirmed my concern that Molly would be delivering several large puppies. (It turned out she had been impregnated by a pit bull.) I added her story to several online prayer circles for pets. In the past, posting prayers for the sake of both humans and animals has worked very well (too many coincidences to be coincidences?). In any case, a week later, far-from-easygoing Molly serenely whelped seven hefty puppies on my couch, a caring friend and I “attending.”

No respite. In a few days, a call came in that a beautiful female Staffordshire mix had been found running free along one of our island’s main roads.

A woman had reported the young dog missing and searched, without success, for her person. She’d let the dog stay in her barn, and fed and walked her. The sweet pup had to be moved right away, however, and — so far — no one had offered to take her in.

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Click the play button, above, on Mercy’s video.
See why Mercy moved me so...and later moved a family to adopt her.

I was able to locate a second temporary fosterer in a housing project in town. If no one claimed the Staffordshire mix, I intended to film her then post a video of her online to help her be adopted to a loving home.

Then someone at the housing project failed to see the beauty in her and reported her to the project manager who banned her instantly. This the manager did despite this dog’s lovely ways. This he did without meeting her. According to her current fosterer, I had half an hour to scoop her up before the police arrived.

Scoop her up, I did. At once, I saw the good in her. I wished mercy for her and named her Mercy. Before we drove away, I filmed her meeting a new friend.

for a better viewing experience
1) buffer completely before watching
2) play full screen
3) turn up volume
4) choose HD setting (click on the little settings wheel)

Also: Like, Share, Comment, SUBSCRIBE!
What a difference this makes for the animals!

Do read each conversation's YouTube description.

That afternoon, I made calls to shelters and individuals throughout Maine to see if I could find yet another fosterer. All the while Mercy stayed with me in my van, which I’d parked beside my rental cottage.

Her eyes spoke volumes. I didn’t want to confine her. But the cottage I was renting was small and featured a fairly open floor plan. Now, with Molly and the pups (plus Muse and me) in residence, it felt jam-packed.

I walked Mercy as much as I could, considering Molly and Muse needed walking,too. And of course Molly’s pups needed tending. Weaving between these responsibilities, I calmed all (including myself) best I could, the chubby puppies faring best of all.   

A friend who lives over an hour away on Mt. Desert island offered to let me introduce Mercy to his pack of rescues, some of whom are pit bulls. “She’s welcome to stay if they all get along with her,” he told me over the phone. Mercy and I made the trip to his home while a Stonington neighbor watched over Muse, Molly and the puppies.

All my friend’s dogs did get along with Mercy — all his dogs . . . but one. I intended to stay positive, but my heart sank. A young woman at my friend’s house took one look at my face and at Mercy’s, then at once came up with another Mt. Desert island lead. I followed it, but the situation didn’t feel right. I kept Mercy with me.

The sun was setting as we started back to Stonington. I stopped at the store in Ellsworth where I buy dog food and asked every customer with a kindly face if he or she would foster Mercy even for a little while, or try to think of someone responsible who might foster her.

Those I spoke with sympathized with Mercy — and they encouraged me — but no one took her in or could think of anyone who might do that.

I didn’t know how Mercy and Muse and Molly and her pups and I would get even a wink of sleep that night or how we’d get through the coming days. I did know, if need be, we’d get through them together.

Thinking of others in similar circumstances
— and much stronger circumstances —
I pictured the same good for them and the animals in their care
that I pictured for Mercy and for myself.
I knew I’d be helping strengthen animal fostering efforts
in Maine, and beyond, so that fewer people would have to go it alone
     with an Animal in Need who deserved sanctuary.

When we got home to my island neighborhood, I slept with Mercy in my van next to my rental cottage porch. I walked her between our “naps,” all the while checking in often on Molly and Muse and the pups. Barking would have started Muse and Molly barking and Molly’s pups scrambling. Mercy did well. No commotion.

The next morning I called one of the shelters I’d phoned the day before. The assistant manager, whom I know and respect, had reconsidered accepting Mercy. Hearing I could bring her in, I nearly melted with relief. During the two-hour trip to the shelter — Muse, Molly and the pups safe at home and watched over — Mercy next to me, soulful and calm, I filmed a few more clips for the video I’d be making on Mercy’s behalf.

The shelter staff welcomed Mercy with open arms. She responded, tail wagging. I trusted she’d be safe until she found a loving home. Still, my heart ached. I could barely leave her behind.

During the previous twenty-four hours, I’d listened to good people in every circumstance tell me why they couldn’t take in another animal, even temporarily.

Before I adopted Molly, I had my own reasons: I’m on my own. I’m moving in a month. Both my summer and winter rental spaces are small. I won’t, in winter, safely be able to walk two dogs of different sizes and temperaments. I’m not sure I have enough money to care for another dog.

Some individuals literally
cannot rescue or foster or adopt,
even though they want to.
It’s also true
that what may be a challenge to one person
may not be as much a challenge to another
or, that to some people,
challenges simply are a part of living.

Some very old people
rescue, foster or adopt, responsibly.
Some people who are ill
— or who experience physical challenges —
do as well.

So do people who are renting, moving, allergic,
having a baby and so on.
Each person must determine
his or her capacities and motivations and priorities.
Animals don’t need a perfect life to be happy.
(Who has a perfect life?)

What they do need and deserve
are humans who see them deeply
and recognize all they may have suffered
purely to stay alive —
humans who treat them respectully
and with compassion
in ways animals themselves can feel.

Patience is key,
as are consistency and wholeheartedness.
In the best homes, animals are family.
They are teachers.

It is we who are fortunate to have them
not merely the other way around.
We can measure who we are
by how they are in our company.

Witnessing individuals living happily
with several animal companions inspires.
Desire to welcome in an Animal in Need
replaces fear of doing that.
Hearts open wider, and so do doors.

Help more Animals-in-Need. Make Open Wide the Door more than just a nice idea.

bell's palsy TELL YOUR STORY, via video or audio conversation. Be as private or as PUBLIC as you’d like to be.
bell's palsy Share this OPEN WIDE THE DOOR webpage on your social media sites and blogs.
bell's palsy Attach it to emails you send, asking those you email to do the same.
bell's palsy DONATE. Your (non) tax-deductible contribution, large or small, eases fuel costs and related OWTD expenses. (As a thank you – but only if you'd like – i'm happy to mail you a copy ofCaring in Remembered Ways: The Fruit of Seeing Deeply. Simply include your mailing address with your donation.)

maggie davis
POB 370   Blue Hill, ME  04614

How wonderful that more and more individuals
(whose lives — like yours or mine — may be far from suitable)
strrrrrretch beyond their comfort zone
and welcome in an animal who has no one.
Each time an animal is welcomed in,
one fewer animal suffers.

  Some do this in honor of animals
they already care for every day,
or animals they have cared for in the past
who remain dear to them
— or in honor of animals loved ones have loved.

  To forestall concerns and overcome obstacles,
these folks utilize out-of-the-box creative thinking.
They fine tune their attitudes as well as their living space.
They explore others’ solutions
to rescuing/fostering/adopting issues.

   Despite an occasional — or even ongoing challenge —
they honor their heart’s response
to an animal who needs them,
and wouldn’t have it any other way.

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In honor of an animal/animals in your care, past and present, WATCH and LISTEN here.

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After watching and listening,
please Like, Comment, Share and Subscribe.
Each positive response counts

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This MARIE (from Thomaston, ME) OPEN WIDE THE DOOR (OWTD) "In-Depth" VIDEO conversation, "A Win-Win Situation," features dog-trainer Marie Finnegan and Humane Society of Knox County shelter dogs plus inmate-dog handlers of Bolduc Correctional Facility and Maine State Prison.

Says Marie: "I'm very proud of this program because it's just done so much for so many . . . I think it's the thing I'm most proud of that I've been doing right now. I'm grateful I got to be a part of the program. It's just --- It's just -- very rewarding."

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This MATT (from Rockland, ME) OPEN WIDE THE DOOR (OWTD) "On the Spot" VIDEO conversation features Frankie whom Matt (and his wife, Rachel) adopted from the Humane Society of Knox County in Thomaston, ME. Frankie, formerly known as Violet had been trained, for weeks, by inmates during her stay at Bolduc Correctional Facility in Warren, ME.

Says Matt: "My heart went out to her. She was afraid of everything. It took a lot of patience, just meeting her where she was at the time. But it was worth it. She's come incredibly far. She's a sweetheart."

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This SHAY (from Ellsworth, ME) OPEN WIDE THE DOOR (OWTD) "On the Spot" VIDEO conversation features a woman whose love for dogs and cats was inspired by her mother's love for animals, a love Shay passed on to her own daughters.

Shay speaks of one of her rescue cats: "He was so nervous. I tucked him in [against me]. And i said to him 'It's okay, Honey Boy. It's okay.' [Shay makes a stroking motion and smiles slowly.] And he fell right to sleep. I think we bonded in that moment."

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This DEVOTED TO PARROTS and Cats OWTD In-Depth VIDEO conversation features a harmony of six parrots and four cats who live with their humans, David and Lily, in southern Maine. Sometimes noisy, this harmony. Invariably complex. The relationships are very much more than the sum of their parts. I will not forget the time spent with this true family and never see parrots in the same way again. Such wise and compassionate dedication is rare.

Says David during our conversation:_"For me the most important thing is really knowing what you're getting into--thinking about it, paying attention. Know the details. These are thinking, feeling intelligent beings. They can quickly grow bonds with people, just like a child. . ."

Lily: "When an animal needs something and you can fulfill it, you feel connected to the universe in ways that are worth [the challenges].

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This ANDY IN STONINGTON MAINE (OWTD) On The Spot VIDEO conversation with maggie davis features Andy Gove, a fisherman in his late eighties who adopted the dog of his dreams.

Andy said when we spoke together: "Some older folks worry too much they can't take care of a dog. They're afraid they can't do this or that. . . I don't let it bother me."

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This HELEN (from Ellsworth, ME) OPEN WIDE THE DOOR (OWTD) "On the Spot" VIDEO features Helen who does not shy away from welcoming in animals another might label "difficult" or even "impossible" when speaking about their chances for adoption.

Helen speaks about her foster dog Roscoe:
"The first night I got bitten one or two times. But even that night he started to settle down . . . It was really amazing how quickly that began to turn around. . . Within a week, he became the most lovable dog."

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This CORRY (from Unity, ME) OPEN WIDE THE DOOR (OWTD) "On the Spot" VIDEO conversation features Three Guinea Hens who found refuge at Corry's alpaca farm in Unity, ME in a most unusual way.

Says Corry: "We love them. We never imagined we'd have birds. . . . That wasn't part of the plan . . . Now we can't imagine being without them."

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This HEIDI (from Hampden, ME) OPEN WIDE THE DOOR (OWTD) In Depth VIDEO conversation with maggie features a family who took on a challenge that most folks wouldn't touch with a ten-foot pole--offering sanctuary to a dog with a leaking urine syndrome.

Heidi had this to say about Charlotte and her troubles: "It's not her fault. We might get stressed--and have to take a few extra steps--but she's not doing it on purpose. She loves us just the same and we give that love back to her."

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This CHRISTINE (from Ellsworth, ME) OPEN WIDE THE DOOR (OWTD) On the Spot VIDEO conversation with maggie davis features a woman whose animals seem to appear in her life just so she can help them and welcome them in.

Chris had been allergic to cats until, as if it were meant to be, a black kitten came down from a tree, straight into her arms -- this, on Mother's Day. The second part of this surprise? No allergies! The only reaction was love.

"Adopt!" Chris says. "Save them!"

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This PENNY from Deer isle OPEN WIDE THE DOOR (OWTD) In Depth VIDEO conversation with maggie davis features a woman who, with all good heart, says what she thinks (what a variety of animal fosterers and adopters surely think though keeping their opinions to themselves) regarding animal adoption .

Penny had this to say about the animals she cares for: "I want them to feel safe and loved. But I also want them to feel they've had a life --- that they've DONE some things -- like all of us.."

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This ANGEL in Maine (OWTD) In-Depth AUDIO conversation features Angel, a senior so committed to nine dogs she'd rescued in Maryland (anxious dogs who remained unadoptable), she brought the dogs to Maine when she retired here, (along with one cat and a macaw).

Said Angel when we spoke together: "I'm happy to do a lot for dogs because during many junctures in a long and complicated life, they've kept me sane. It seemed paying back was a real good idea.”

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This SELINA (from Clifton, ME) OPEN WIDE THE DOOR (OWTD) On the Spot VIDEO conversation features a woman who, with the help of her husband, fosters dogs from the south.

Says Selina: "Years ago a guy told me that if I wanted to foster, I had to make sure I wasn't going to "fall in love."

Setting her mind, she didn't, unlike many who"fall in love" at once with rescue animals, winding up as "failed fosterers":)

Surely, when fostering or adopting is embraced with great heart, each path shines with remarkable worth.


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This FORGOTTEN FELINES/DOWNEAST MAINE (OWTD) In-Depth VIDEO conversation celebrates a Forgotten Felines adoption event in Ellsworth, Maine held for the benefit of local feral cats.

Pam says: "We provide the food . . . the litterboxes and the cage to put [the cat(s) in. You can foster as many as you'd like for as long as you'd like. What we need the foster homes to do is provide love."

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This EDIE from RANDOLPH, VT (OWTD) On The Spot VIDEO conversation with maggie davis features Edie Reynolda,, a woman in her late eighties who rescued and nurtured a horse and a dog, totally at risk, who "gave back" by helping others in need.

Speaking of hers and other rescue animals:
"Just love them and they'll love you back."

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This DAVID & LORNA (from Milbridge, ME) OPEN WIDE THE DOOR (OWTD) "On the Spot" VIDEO conversation features an abandoned little white dog named Taz who found refuge with David and Lorna moments before he was to be whisked away.

Says Lorna: "The best thing to do is adopt an animal. They need us more than we need them."

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This AMANDA from Ellsworth, ME (OWTD) On The Spot VIDEO conversation with maggie davis fatures Amanda Ochs who, with her housemate, Lindsay, cares for one husky and one husky mix, Amanda rescued when the dogs showed up in her life.

Say Amanda and her apartment-mate, Lindsay: "Our dogs have separation anxiety, but we would never get rid of them. . . If you have a kid and he did something wrong you wouldn't give him up.".

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This GLORIA (from Blue Hill, ME) OPEN WIDE THE DOOR (OWTD) "On the Spot" VIDEO conversation features Gloria speaking of members of her family who, over the years, have welcomed animals in need into their homes.

Says Gloria regarding a mother and her last kitten in a local shelter: "I couldn't separate them. (She chuckles, remembering) So . . . I took them both."

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This KATHLEEN CARES FOR 16 CATS (OWTD) In-Depth AUDIO conversation features KATHLEEN who, responsibly, cat by cat, happily shelters many, gladly including those with special needs.

Kathleen told me when I asked if she sets limits:
"I find that sixteen is a good number for my house, but I have gone over it when there was a cat in need.[Do you foster as well?] No. I can't foster. I keep what I foster:)"

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This Dr. JOAN from Penobscot, ME OPEN WIDE THE DOOR (OWTD) In Depth VIDEO conversation features a veterinarian who looks at animals and sees much more than most.

Says Joan, speaking of dogs: "I guess it's knowing we have so much to learn from them and we should respect that and give it back and they'll just bring so much joy. They're not just little fuzzy thiings that wag their tails. They deserve to be heard ... and honored. Their communication is so fine tunded, and ours is so crude. [laughter] We really have to learn from them if we want them to get along with us in OUR world."

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This GRETCHEN (from  East Blue Hill, ME) OPEN WIDE THE DOOR (OWTD) "On the Spot" VIDEO conversation features Gretchen who, one by one, with her family, rescued three little dogs from beyond USA borders and welcomed them in to her home in Maine.

Says Gretchen, with emotion, speaking of her current little dog: "I love her to death! She's my best friend."

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This NANCY in JACKSON, ME (OWTD) In-Depth VIDEO conversation features a senior whose mix of formerly at risk cats and dogs and endangered sheep thrive under her good care.

Says Nancy: "In my world, death is a part of life. and to give up because one of my animals has died would be brutally sad . . . [What has surprised you about all this?} The depth of my compassion."

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This DIANE FOSTERS DOGS & CATS (OWTD) In-Depth AUDIO conversation features a generous woman who, gladly and with confidence, welcomes in animals in need in her Downeast Maine community.

Says Diane: "I've been fostering and saving pets ever since I was a little kid and it just keeps getting more important to me to find homes for pets, on my own and through networking with people. I'd love to have kept all of them..."

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Nellie of Downeast Maine cares for animals, as well as for elders in a residential care home. A great spirit!

While we talked together, she said she'd be willing to foster an animal in an emergency. "Everyone needs a home."

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This ROBERTA ADOPTS SHELTER CATS (OWTD) On the Spot VIDEO conversation features ROBERTA, teacher of special needs children and caregiver of older cats.

Says Roberta, regarding the possibility of returning a cat she's welcomed in:
"Never. Once you take them home they're part of your family. And there they are -- you don't return your kids :) even though they may not be fun some days [laughter].

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This PAULA from Mariaville, ME OPEN WIDE THE DOOR (OWTD) On the Spot AUDIO conversation features Paula who would never return an animal she's adopted.

Says Paula: " I love animals. I've always had animals. I'd do anything FOR any animal. . . . Animals deserve the best homes they can possibly have."

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This OWTD On the Spot AUDIO conversation features George, a former Marine. George sees animals differently from how he once saw them. Listening to him tell his story, you can tell at once how deeply he cares.

George told me: "They just want love, unconditional love. 'Just show me you love me, and I'll do the same for you.' That's it in a nutshell . . . right there."

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This OWTD On the Spot VIDEO conversation features Sherman who, if he weren't going blind, would take in more animals. Despite the twinkle in his eyes when he speaks, you can see on Sherman's face that he means it.

Said Sherman when we spoke briefly: "I'm going blind. I just can't see good. And I can't take care of them good. . . I used to take in lots of animals years ago."

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During this OWTD On the Spot VIDEO conversation, what impressed me about Brad is his willingness to respond to all breeds of animals in need who find him/he finds. Many individuals find reasons not to respond. Brad isn't one of them.

Said Brad when we spoke together: " . . . always loved animals ever since I was a kid. It was mainly the fact of having someone who cares about you --essentially someone there you know is your friend."

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This CHASE from Surry, ME OPEN WIDE THE DOOR On the Spot VIDEO conversation with maggie davis features a young woman, vulnerable herself, who's reached out to animals even more vulnerable.

Chase told me: "Rescue animals are really good at knowing when something's wrong becaause they've been through alot."

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This DR JODY'S THIRD CAT (OWTD) On the Spot VIDEO conversation features JODY, a chiropractor in Stonington, ME, who wasn't looking for a third cat till Stormy found him and his family.

Dr Jody: "We're very happy with all the animals we have. They've been life fulfilling."

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This Ellen from Bucksport On the Spot video features Ellen who has welcomed in animals all of her life and intends to keep doing that.

Ellen told me: "I'd have a house full of cats and dogs. When one leaves this earth and you've helped it and lived with it and loved it, it's time for another one. . . "

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In our OWTD On the Spot AUDIO conversation, Susan told me that she and her husband live in an apartment in Bangor (ME). They rescue animals now, though once they bought a dog. Susan and I met in the oral surgeon's office in Ellsworth where Susan works.

Said Susan when we spoke: "If we had more room, I'd have more animals."

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This JANICE FROM DOWNEAST MAINE (OWTD) On the Spot VIDEO presentation features Janice, former member of a working board of individuals committed to animal rescue in their downeast Maine towns.

Said Janice when we spoke together: "Some of the dogs we've had were frightened of their own shadows. . . The rewarding part is to see a rescued animal relax and start to be integrated into your home and enjoy the sweetness of life."