AC Pup: Happy Father’s Day to man who loves animals

June 14, 2013 

Fill up the picnic basket, head to the lake and fire up the grill. It’s Father’s Day weekend, so let the celebration begin!

Families everywhere will be spending time honoring the man that means so much to them. So will I.

I’m lucky enough to have the most fantastic father in the world in Van VanDeWalker. He has helped save homeless, hurt and heartbroken animals all across our region.

There are tons of reasons I love my dad. But there’s one reason I’m exceptionally proud of him.

I’ve gotten to know many wonderful people who’ve done some pretty incredible things to help downtrodden and hurting animals. And along the way I’ve made an interesting observation that rescuers are predominately female.

Well, I love all the ladies in rescue, and I’m not sure what we’d do without them, but I often wondered where the men were. I was certain there are as many men who want to help defenseless animals as there are women but just didn’t see them in the rescue community.

That’s where my dad has made a difference and has been a trendsetter. My dad is the classic athletic man who loves football, basketball and hockey. And don’t even get him started talking about his Michigan teams.

But he’s a wonderful blend of macho tenderness. He’s shown that it’s cool for a guy to help animals in distress. It’s important for a man to offer assistance to an animal that’s lost and can’t find his way home. It’s imperative for a man to intervene when a pet is being mistreated.

He will stop to get a turtle out of the road. And heaven forbid he hears of an alligator who has wandered out of the swamp. My dad is an alligator’s best friend.

He’s spent a lot of time teaching young people, including young boys, how important it is to be a leader among their peers and an advocate for animals. Learning to be compassionate toward animals is a key lesson for both girls and boys to understand.

The message that it is really hip for men to help animals is permeating our area. Just last week a wonderful man named Mr. Larry Cox stopped to help an emaciated dachshund standing on the center line of a busy road refusing to move.

This little dog was so defeated, alone and hopeless that she had just given up. She didn’t care if she even survived. But Mr. Larry spent the next few hours helping coordinate her rescue because she needed someone to care.

I’m so glad the men of Middle Georgia are brave enough to help animals in need. And thanks, Dad, for showing that real men are kind to animals. Happy Father’s Day.

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