Louisville Magazine

SEP 2018

Louisville Magazine is Louisville's city magazine, covering Louisville people, lifestyles, politics, sports, restaurants, entertainment and homes. Includes a monthly calendar of events.

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70 LOUISVILLE MAGAZINE 9.18 like a vaudeville comedienne: "Two of my favorite things — gin and ham." e oth- er, quieter volunteer is Melissa Kampars, who is one of the founders of Breckinridge County Animal Friends, which started in the early 1990s and now owns the van and runs the transports. Everyone says "awwwww" as the shelter workers bring out two of the six Chihua- hua-Jack Russell puppies. "I love it when we take loads of puppies!" Hamm says. "is is the best part of being a volunteer — puppy kisses." e air is full of barking and howling coming from inside the shelter. Bubbles, a two-year-old white German shepherd, pants and pulls at his leash. He sniffs at Randy Miller, then at a resident shelter cat, who gives him a good right hook to the nose. e volunteers gasp. "Bubbles! Oh!" ey load Bubbles into the van before he can get smacked again. "It's going to be a noisy trip!" Hamm says. "Hopefully it won't be a poopy one. For some reason, they always poop for us." Kampars chimes in: "One time, we had — what? — four bloodhounds, and they started howling and pooping, and we were on the Gene Snyder and we had to roll down all the windows because we couldn't breathe, and people were really giving us funny looks." "We were howlin' and smellin'," Hamm says. She gestures to the staff, which consists of Shor and Miller full- time, plus two part-time kennel techni- cians. "is may be the best little shelter you've ever been in," Hamm says. Miller, she says, "can take the orneriest dog in the world and turn it into the right dog. He's a whisperer. And that gun," Hamm says, referring to the holster on Miller's belt, "is probably full of Kool-Aid or something." Bubbles snarls at Zeus, a year-old black lab mix, who has been loaded into a crate right next to him. Grrrrrrrrrrrr. "Now, now," Hamm says. "We're gonna have to separate those two." ey find a blanket and a piece of card- board to put between the crates. "See what happens? You don't get to talk to each other!" Kampars says. More barking. "Is it that people don't spay and neuter enough?" I ask, trying to figure out where these dogs come from. "ey don't," Kampars says. "We have spay-neuter clinics in January for cats, and we're trying to get one for dogs. And our organization sponsors a low-cost spay-neu- ter clinic for low-income (pet owners)." Is the main barrier the cost or the access? "I think it's the cost," Shor says. (In rural areas, spaying or neutering your pet can cost as much as $300.) "But there's an attitude among some people — they don't want to neuter a male dog," Hamm says. e dogs yelp from inside the van. "We probably need to get going," Kam- pars says. at day in fall 2016 when those two blue heeler-beagle puppies were dumped at a boat ramp, I was texting my wife Brooke pictures of adorable golden- doodles. Partly, I blame it on Hound Dog Press, the Louisville print shop on Barret Avenue, which has a sweet basset hound named Daisy. When I went in one day, she came up and said hello, head down, tail wagging, with a face so melted it looked like a Dalí painting. A few months later, a co-worker told me about why bulldogs have up-turned noses: "It's so they could hold on to a bull's nose with their teeth and the blood would drip down their faces but they could still breathe," she said. at's crazy, I thought. And then . . . I got pretty obsessed with dogs. How they have co-evolved with hu- mans for at least the last 10,000 to 15,000 years. How smell is their primary sense. (ey're as hardwired for smell as humans are for vision, with 220 million olfactory receptors in their noses, compared to our five million.) How they're all so different — all the breeds, each developed for a specific purpose over centuries of selective breeding. Dogs, like food or music, are repositories for human ingenuity, culture and genius built over generations and generations. I wanted one. Writer Eric Burnette's dog Tesla.

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