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Paying it forward

CAPS wouldn’t function very well without caring, dedicated volunteers. Most of our volunteers are of the two-legged kind, but we have one very special four-legged volunteer, Ki (aka The Kissing Pooch). Ki’s presence in the Kissin’ Booth truly makes our Walmart Saturdays successful. He asked if he could tell his story; I (Betty Duncan) am delighted to present it here.

“Hi, my name is Ki, and I’m ‘paying it forward’ for the dogs and cats who haven’t found their forever homes yet. That’s what ‘Mom’ says each time people ask why I’m sitting in the Kissin’ Booth at one of the CAPS fundraisers. I usually appear at Walmart once a month with the other volunteers to raise money for CAPS. I’m sure that a lot of you recognize me and wonder what my story is.

“I’m a yellow Labrador-greyhound cross with long legs and soft fur. I have amber eyes and not a mean bone in my body. I’ve been around for 11 years now, and I have a good life and good home. From what I remember, I was rescued the first time as a puppy, and after the medical necessities went to live with a young lady. When she needed higher education, I was taken to CAPS with the promise to find me a good home.

“I was adopted out to a good home with another dog, a cat and the ‘apple of my eye’: two little girls. As life would have it, one of the little ones developed a strong reaction to animal dander, and we all had to find new homes. I went back to CAPS but was adopted out again relatively soon.

“Unfortunately, they weren’t dedicated owners and actually surrendered me to the local shelter, which isn’t a no-kill one. Thank goodness they were told I was a CAPS dog! CAPS people do their best to keep tabs on all of the pets who leave the shelter. So I was returned to CAPS again.

“I became very important to one of the volunteers, and when she told her husband about me, I came to live with them. Now the truth is, I wasn’t easy. I was running here and there, looking for those little girls and my dog buddy. I just knew they were out there somewhere.

“But even though I dug out and destroyed screens doors, Mom and Dad didn’t give up. They hadn’t had a big dog, weighing in at 74 pounds, like me before, but they could see the potential in me and stuck it out. I’m told all the time that ‘it’s love’ and I’m one of the pack. A couple more dog buddies have been added to the pack, but I’m still number one!

“I started this fundraising gig several years back. Mom kept a strong collar and leash on me and stood by my side at all times. She said she didn’t want me to run off or snap at any of the people who came up to the booth (as if I would). Now I sit in the booth and greet my public without restraints.

“Even though the kisses are free, most everyone is generous with their donations, which really helps the shelter pets waiting for the good fortune I received. I look forward to my Saturday in the booth, and I really like the attention I get. Some people seem really excited to see me each month. I’m pretty sure I deserve all of the praise, but I would trade most of it in for a good ice cream cone or a couple of chicken strips. Just saying . . .”

Ki is a modest “gentleman,” so he doesn’t brag about how well he is loved. But I (Betty) heard this from a reliable source: Every time Ki does his Saturday volunteering, he has a fan club whose members take pictures of him and them with their phones. You get a high five, Ki!

This week’s article was contributed by Sharon Peters, a member of the CAPS board of directors, along with Betty Duncan.