Pet Care Pride Day brings out dog lovers

News-DemocratMay 20, 2014 

About sixty Nestle Purina employees worked Tuesday morning at the St. Clair County Pet Adoption Center in Belleville. The work was part of PetCare Pride Day which is a regional effort by the company which sent out over 1,200 workers to area centers to add new furniture, , do landscaping, paint and rehab pet areas and offices and add other upgrades.

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I thought Mattie might wag off her three-inch stub of a tail Tuesday at the Cambridge House in Swansea.

The boxer was so happy to get petted by residents that her tail was flipping back and forth non-stop.

She was part of a Purina Pet Partner team visiting the assisted-living home to give the residents a chance to commune with dogs.

The occasion was Pet Care Pride Day, an annual community service and sharing day sponsored by NestlePurina PetCare in St. Louis.

Busloads of Purina employees travel to different spots in the St. Louis area to help out and the company also sponsors activities at the home office, Checkerboard Square.

A busload of workers also came to the St. Clair County Pet Adoption Center at 1250 S. 11th St. in Belleville to paint, organize and decorate the adoption area and build agility equipment.

At Cambridge House, Connie Haslett was taking Cassie, a black Labrador retriever, on her rounds of the residents. Actually Cassie comes out about once a month to visit, Haslett said.

"I don't know who enjoys it more, the residents or the dog," she said.

Almost everyone there had dogs at one time or another it seemed.

Doris Kaffer, who lives at Cambridge House, had her own dog, Peanuts, a small mixed-breed lap dog. Kaffer's family drops Peanuts by on some days to visit but the dog can't stay overnight.

"I've always had dogs," Kaffer said. "He's such a sweet baby. But he's not used to these other dogs being here. They're making him nervous today."

Mattie, a boxer, was quick to make sure her head was underneath any nearby hand so it could pet her.

"She's an attention hound," said her handler Julie Frerichs.

Roy Shanks of Cambridge House petted Scooby, another black lab who was there with Jamie LaVite.

"I always had chihuahuas," he said. But he had a story about a huskie he had which grew so big and aggressive it kept knocking all the kids over.

Cleo Jacob had a dog story but it wasn't his dog. "Jake" said he had a paper route and delivered the Belleville Daily Advocate when he was a kid. There was a dog that would chase him all the way to the end of his route, he said.

Have a column idea? Call Wally at 239-2506 or 800-642-3878; or email: wspiers@bnd.com

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