Main picture is Scrappy, a Catahoula Mix looking for a forever home now!  For more information CLICK HERE.  


Take one five month old shiny Black Lab puppy, who has not been able to run off leash for a few weeks until her vaccinations were complete, set her free in the play yard at the Shelter, and voila! you have a recipe for sheer joy.  Add four grown women, observing the abandon with which this puppy is running, and you have a group of very happy people.  In fact it’s difficult to determine who is having more fun–the pup or the people.


With long, gangly puppy legs getting tangled as she flies around chasing toys, leaping into the air to amazing heights to capture the frisbee, then just doing ‘speedy attack’ circles, round and round the field, it’s as if she can’t decide what she wants to do first.  And there we stand, laughing out loud, watching this puppy bliss.  It feels so good to laugh like this, and it is obvious little Michonne thinks it feels very good to play and run to her heart’s content.  I’m thrilled to report that Michonne has been adopted by a lovely family, and I have a feeling there is a lot of laughter in their future.


I must admit I’m a bit envious, no, a LOT envious.  Sure, puppies are a work in progress, but, oh what fun along the way!


Our more senior pets can also bring happiness, perhaps in a more subtle way, but no less effective in making our lives more cheerful.  We know an eight year old Dane that can run circles around her younger sister Dane in our backyard, big ears flying in the wind.  How can you not smile?  We’re convinced she is part Greyhound!  


One of our recent Shelter pets, Maggie, always brought joy to my heart when I approached her kennel and she would recognize me, and was excited about going for her walk, whereas at first she would need gentle persuasion to come near.  Her tail actually started wagging, and a few times she ran after a toy!  This was progress for this shy 7-year old lady and made me very happy.  She still has so much love to give, as I’m sure her new family is experiencing.


Just a few days ago, Humane Society Dog Walker Cheri had Possum (a Border Collie Mix pictured below for more information CLICK HERE) in the play yard while I was in the adjacent pen with little Scrappy.  Cheri was joking about her lack of skill throwing the ball for Possum, but gave it a good toss and the ball went perfectly right into Possum’s mouth!  Not sure if it was Cheri’s accidental good aim, or Possum’s dexterity, but it was amazing!  You can be sure that Cheri and I had a very invigorating laugh over that.




We have all heard the many benefits of getting our giggle on:  lowers blood pressure, reduces stress hormones, produces endorphins, and I recently heard a good belly laugh actually gives a workout to our abs.  So much better than doing sit-ups!! (Pictured below, Meatball a loving lab mix.  Could you give him a home?  For more information CLICK HERE).



A good number of years ago, our baby daughter first laughed out loud when she noticed our Schnauzer running circles around the house, releasing energy.  And I don’t mean a little laugh–I mean a full throttle giggle that came from way down in the belly.  Our whole family loved to stand in the backyard, watching Jessie the Schnauzer speeding around the grass with a plastic container (her favourite toy) in her mouth, covering her whole face.  It seemed our laughter would spur her on.  We don’t know why she didn’t bump into things!  (Pictured below, poor Carlos has been waiting forever, could you give this Rotti-Mix your love and a home?  For more information CLICK HERE). 



Every pet owner has similar stories which they recall with smiles.  Who cannot burst out laughing when watching a kitten wildly playing with a toy, or a cat chasing a laser.  Our cat would fly up and down the stairs trying to catch the flashlight beam, and get us all hooting with laughter.  Just this week I watched with great enjoyment as one of our Shelter kittens viciously attacked a ball in her kennel, pouncing at it over and over again. (Pictured below, Dolly, a Mastiff Mix who needs a new beginning.  Could it be with you?  For more information CLICK HERE).



For some of us, January brings melancholy feelings after the anticipation and fun of Christmas and New Year’s celebrations.  Perhaps we are sorry to see time with family members come to an end–the house is lonely again.  Maybe this is the perfect time to contemplate adding some laughter to your life by adopting a friend from the Niagara Falls Humane Society.  You can be sure there are cats and dogs, a gorgeous big rabbit, and  even an adorable Pot Belly Pig!! willing to cheer you up and  ‘get your giggle on’!  Isn’t it time you laughed again?



For more information on shelter pets waiting for their forever homes, visit the NFHS on Chippawa Parkway or the Cat Adoption Centre at Niagara Square.  You can see animal profiles on our website or check out our new App on our Home page.

This week’s column written by volunteer Phyllis Babyk.

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