Please take a moment to visit the Web site of The Humane Society of the United States, particularly the Executive Staff and Subject Experts. Sue and Panda’s mum, Stephanie Shain, is featured with a very nice Bio but where are they? After all, with the publicity she gets for her very fine articles, her radio and television appearances and her work against puppy mills I thought she would include Sue and Panda’s photos on the list of experts. Aren’t they much cuter than a lot of people dressed up in suits and ties? Never fear, I took over and decided to interview both of them at once, particularly as Sue is so cute and Panda is a much larger fellow than I am. So here goes, Monday at the Water Bowl with Sue and The Panda Bear
1. Sue, I never get very personal but from your photo you do not look 15 years young. Do you follow a special beauty regime that we should all know about or are you just naturally cute?
Thanks for noticing. I’m certainly naturally cute but I do have a few tricks. I try and eat a varied diet…this does take some effort as the cats’ litterboxes are kept behind a gate but I get in there for a snack as often as I can. I also exercise daily- I do this by charging to the front door whenever a person or dog or other creature happens by. I also protect my family from thunderstorms by running outside to bark up at the sky to scare those storm clouds away.
2. The Panda Bear, or if I may be so bold, particularly as you are a much larger fellow than I am, may I call you Panda? I understand that you adopted Sue and the household on the 13th February of this year and so far what has been your favorite experience at home?
Please do feel free to call me Panda. It’s hard to pick a favorite thing, I’ve really enjoyed learning about what a cat is, and going for very long walks in the morning ranks high on the list as well. But if I HAD to pick I think I’d say sleeping on the couch is the best. It’s big and very soft and I tested it out the moment I walked through the front door the first time. Sometimes I stretch out but I’m always happy to curl up small so people or the cats can share the space with me.
3. Sue and Panda – What have been your main contributions to helping your mother with her job at The Humane Society of the United States? For example, she is so active in making the public aware of the cruel treatment of dogs in puppy mills what do you think the public can do to stop this horrific treatment of dogs?
We help her in lots of ways. I, this is Sue speaking, went through three homes before finally coming home for good so I’m a good reminder to never give up hope, even when things appear bleak. Panda is a great ambassador for adoption. Although I’ll never let him know it since I’m top dog around here, he’s a very handsome guy and people stop us on the street to ask about what breed he is. Stephanie (we really see her as more of our equal, not so much our mom, she always whispers in our ears that we are her best friends) always beams when she says he’s a mixed breed and that he was adopted from our local shelter.
Stopping puppy mills is serious business. Stephanie works hard but she can’t stop them alone, she really needs kind-hearted people everywhere to learn about those horrible mills and be sure they never support them. We hope more people listen to her and decide to make adoption their first choice. But for those people who want to buy a dog, we hope they will visit www.PuppyBuyersGuide.org and find out how they can be sure they only ever deal with compassionate dog breeders. Steph has said that 2 to 4 million puppies are born in puppy mills every year. If people stopped buying the puppies from puppy mills, those places would go out of business and stop producing so many puppies.
4. This question if for both of you – if you could be anyone or any animal in the world, what person or animal would it be?
Sue – this is easy, I’d be a cat. And it’s NOT because cats are better (dog rule after all) but it’s because they can jump up on the counter or table and steal food. I really REALLY love food (I’m part Beagle) and many times I’ve seen those cats sneak up and snatch themselves a goodie. It’s not fair.
Panda - I really value my lounging time so I think I might pick an animal who lounges ALL the time – like a sloth.
5. Sue, did you have to teach Panda any rules or tricks when he was adopted?
Yes, but he’s a quick study. I dropped by the shelter to meet Panda before he came home so he knew before he arrived that I was the boss. The only really important rules to know are that I get my food first and if I want a drink of water he should move out of the way for me. He’s easy going so he doesn’t mine stepping aside for me.
6. Panda, what irritates you?
That more people don’t adopt animals from shelters. When I was in the shelter I met a lot of really great dogs, most of whom where there because their people decided they just didn’t have time to take care of a dog anymore. The staff at the shelter were very kind and took good care of us, but all of us dogs really, really just wanted to find a home. I was there for almost two months and I couldn’t believe that more people didn’t come to meet me and my shelter mates. I heard the cats talking when I walked by their room and they felt the same way. It makes me really sad and mad that more people don’t even consider going to a shelter for their next animal companion.
7. Sue and Panda – I do not see your photos on the HSUS Web site with your mother or did I miss them?
Thanks for mentioning this – we’ve been pestering her to take care of that oversight. Her picture on the website is with a dog who is no longer with us. His name was Mason and our mom took him from a fraternity when she was in college because he was being neglected. Sue still misses him sometimes – they had ten years together – but she knows he had a long and happy life and she’ll see him again in Dog Heaven.
8. Sue and Panda – How would you get more pets adopted? Are you thinking about adopting more to your household and if so which of you would decide who gets to join you?
We’d keep doing what we are doing….going out in the world and interacting with people and letting our family talk about the shelters we were adopted from and what great animals there are there who need new homes. We really believe that if more people just gave the shelter a chance – even if they only agreed to visit once – that they would see how many terrific pets there are there. We like websites that enable people to look at animals in shelters near them….it’s a good way for people to see how awesome these animals in need really are.
We aren’t looking to adopt anyone else right now. We also live with three cats and two guinea pigs and although it’s REALLY hard, Stephanie tries to keep things like veterinary and food bills in mind when she wants to bring another animal home.
9. If you could give one present to each other what would it be?
Panda – If it was a magic gift I’d make Sue young again. I love her and I wish she could play really rough with me. If it’s a real gift, I’d give her food (any kind, she’s not picky at all) because Sue loves food more than anything.
Sue – I’d give Panda a dog park with a REALLY tall fence. He gets very excited when he sees other dogs and can jump the fences in our yard and at the dog park so he’s not allowed to be there off his leash.
10. Any advice for all the great dogs in Shelters across the United States waiting for good and loving homes?
Have faith! Try not to get too depressed and worried. Sue and I are both perfect examples of dogs who didn’t think we would ever find a home that would keep us forever and ever no matter what, but we did. Your new family or mom or dad or best friend will come.
Thank you so much, Sue and Panda, for taking the time to be interviewed. Recently The Humane Society of Naples
held a fun event and, of course, I went to take part in the dog kisses, doggie massage and photo sessions, particularly as The Humane Society of Naples was the very first to participate in The Lucky Day campaign and gave me some excellent ideas. I saw some great dogs at their party and wanted to take them all home so I absolutely agree with you about finding a friend at your local shelter. Remember to Keep Your Paws on the Pulse!