ARF’s Janet, My Sydney


(Staff Writer Carrie Soldati/The Inquirer, 2010)

On May 2, Sydney Soldati will slip into a bright red, ARF T-shirt and strut down the streets of Walnut Creek in support of the ones who saved her life.

Her story goes back to last June, when she huddled with her five brothers and a sister in filthy, cold shelter in Southern California. Luckily, she caught the eye of a visiting ARF employee, who scooped up the puppies before they could be euthanized.

As a volunteer for the Animal Rescue Foundation in Walnut Creek, I was asked to foster Sydney and her sister Zooka until they could be adopted into permanent homes.

I prepared emotionally for the experience. Having been a foster parent, I knew to keep telling myself, “She’s not yours. She’s leaving soon.”

But as the time drew near, I couldn’t let her go.

A Border Collie/ Newfoundland mix, she resembled a wolf, with fanned-out hair around her face and those piercing yellow eyes. In fact, her wolf-like features made it even more impossible to give her back. As a child, my favorite animal was a wolf.

The only obstacle to keeping her was my dad, and I hit on a creative way to make the argument.  Instead of pleading, I made a power point presentation in which I linked my love for Sydney to his love for baseball.

After outlining where I would keep her, what she would cost and how I would train her, I came to the last slide. Its message:  Making me give Sydney back to ARF would hurt just as much as if I cut up his signed Willie Mays’ baseball card and flushed it down the toilet.

The analogy worked.

My dad laughed and agreed to let me keep her. Ever since Aug. 22, the day she was officially mine, Sydney and I have volunteered for ARF.

And that is why we’ll be in the “Paws on Parade” fundraiser May 2 in Broadway Plaza. Sydney is in the process raising $1,000 prior to the event.

Come join us and the other volunteers as we raise money that goes back to the ARF animals still in need of homes.


Contact Carrie Soldati at [email protected]