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A Rare Breed of Love

How a three-legged dog won the hearts of everyone from an angry homeless man to Barack Obama.

(Page 2 of 2)

Little Baby melted the heart of Bill Mahrer. She made Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler sing. She went on the air with Paul Harvey. She palled around with Martina Navratilova’s dogs and hung out with Jim Cramer on the set of “Mad Money.” For star after star, politician after politician, the little dog put a face to dog abuse and made people stop and care.

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And, as Kohl explains, her tours across the country also touched thousands of everyday people. Not to mention one homeless man whose rage all but stopped when he saw the three-legged poodle.

“He charged down the sidewalk toward us, screaming obscenities at the top of his lungs ranting unintelligibly,” Kohl wrote. But upon seeing Baby, the man stopped and questioned Kohl about the three-legged dog, before suddenly becoming an advocate for her.

“ ‘You’re taking good care of her, right,’ he asked looking at me squarely. ‘You aren’t going to hurt her,’ he added more as a statement than a question. I felt my throat tighten and my eyes well with tears for the empathy this troubled man was offering Baby, someone he identified with and wanted to protect, someone who, for that moment, inspired him to put aside his own agony and feel the pain of another. In the two years since I adopted her, I had never seen a clearer example of Baby’s transformational power to elicit love, kindness, and empathy even in the face of one’s own suffering. It is a power that animals singularly possess to heal the human soul.”

Baby’s story makes for a transformational book.

The pictures are priceless. The stories are touching. Some of it is not easy to read. Not only did Baby lose one leg, but her vocal chords were removed with scissors so she wouldn’t annoy her keepers by barking.

But it’s much easier to read it than to live it. Baby’s done the hard part.

“A Rare Breed of Love: The True Story of Baby and the Mission She Inspired to Help Dogs Everywhere” reads like a collection of articles interspersed with dozens of photos.

And that picture with the president? Back in 2005 when President Obama was a US senator, he was one of the politicians who agreed to meet with Kohl and Baby. He agreed to the photoshoot and pledged to Kohl that when he brought a dog home for his family, it would be a rescue dog – not one from a breeder. And now, it seems, the president is living up to his word.

If we believe Mahatma Gandhi had something to offer, we may want to listen to his words, “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”

Kohl, through her work and her book, is helping our country. And I’m glad she has the president’s ear.

Jimmy Orr is the Monitor’s online editor.


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