Last week our community lost a good friend. Bob Slaine was an inspiration to so many at Oconee Regional Humane Society, with his good sense of humor, his kindness and compassion for our animals, and his willingness to help wherever we needed it. He may have lost his battle with cancer, but he did it with dignity and never gave up hoping he would be back volunteering at our adoption center and resuming his board activities.
Bob and his wife, Debbie began volunteering with ORHS several years ago. It started when they helped out at a local adoption event. They made it a point to learn each animal’s story and they loved to share all they knew about our wonderful puppies and dogs with everyone who stopped by at Publix. It wasn’t long before they were part of the rescue of an adult lab mix they named Buddy. He was a big dog and hard to control. They were determined to find the right home for Buddy and fostered him, working on his manners for months until he finally found his forever home with a chef from Silver Moon. We hear he’s the best dog ever! Their work with adoption events expanded to include PetSmart in Athens once a month. They were very good at helping to match our dogs with the best adopters.
Bob and Debbie also helped with pet food distribution in Putnam County. They helped pick up and organize donated food, then re-bagged it for distribution. Each month they would spend a Saturday morning handing out the food to those who wanted to keep their pets and just needed some help. They did their best to convince these good people how important it is to spay and neuter their pets, and they explained how we could help them.
Bob wasn’t satisfied that he’d done enough yet. He wanted to understand more about ORHS so he attended a few board meetings, and soon became a very active board member. He chaired the operations committee for our adoption center and worked with Debbie on our very successful Treasure Sale fundraiser. It seemed that Bob was involved in everything.
Then along came a very frightened adult dog named Schultzie. This boy was afraid of the whole world. Some of you may remember him as the dog that ran away one cold, rainy day. He was missing for several days with dozens looking for him, and then he just came back. Bob and Debbie worked their magic and now he’s Quincy and he found his forever home with the Slaines. Although he’s still a shy guy, with their love and patience, he has come out of his shell some.
When Bob learned he had cancer, he didn’t let it slow him down. Maybe he knew the animals didn’t care about anything but Bob’s love and patience. They accepted his loving pets, and walked along side him as they wondered about the future together. When Bob would sit and hold a frightened puppy, maybe they were really helping each other cope with the unknown. It’s hard for us to say why Bob worked so hard for so long, but we’re so very grateful we had him for as long as we did.
What a difference one person can make. Bob was an inspiration to all of us and we will miss him.