|Pets: The compassionate party animal|
|Written by Staff|
|Friday, 06 August 2010 00:00|
Arthur Graves’ best friend sounds like a fairly typical gay party boy in Atlanta.
They marched together in last year’s Gay Pride parade alongside their Southern Bears brethren, and the best friend spent the day flashing his incredible blue eyes and broad smile, luring men close to him so he could sniff their crotch, then acting stand-offish when they would start paying more attention to Graves.
“He managed to last the whole day, and then he got home and he just pooped out for like 30 minutes, and then he was ready to go again,” Graves says of his best friend Fire, a nine-year-old huskie that Graves adopted from DeKalb County Animal Control five years ago.
While he’s generally a high-energy animal who loves to frolic about the yard — especially during torrential thunderstorms — Fire also has a calm and tender side that has earned him a place in Graves’s heart alongside his childhood hero, his dog named BeBe, who helped police locate Graves’ parent after he had been hit by a car at age 7.
“Fire’s just an amazing part of my life,” Graves says. “A couple of years ago I was in the hospital for about a week, and my roommate said Fire would just lie on my bed with the saddest look on his face, and he could barely get him to go out that week, and Fire lives for going outside. When I finally got home, he just exploded and started jumping all over me. It was a really nice welcome home.”
Graves says he owes his relationship with Fire in large part to Pets Are Loving Support, also known as PALS, the non-profit organization that provides pet assistance to people who are critically ill or disabled. The organization that started as resource for people living with HIV/AIDS is most known for distributing pet food and its monthly bingo nights hosted by Bubba D. Licious, but Graves says that PALS helps pay for Fire’s legally required shots, annual check-ups, flea and heartworm control, and the cost of implanting a medical and identification chip.
“I couldn’t have him without that support,” Graves says. “Without PALS, I don’t think a lot of people would have lived as long as they have, without the support to keep their pets and probably their best friends.”
Top photo: Arthur & Fire (courtesy photo)
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