A Letter From a



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Bruce Wolhuter a counselor for the YMCA and does some Springer Spaniel rescue work.  We thought this letter was worth posting.  Perhaps it gives a sense of life here at S.C.A.R.S.


Attention dog lovers!


       A visit to the Cummins’ Pet Haven [SCARS] is an experience you shouldn’t miss.  I visited this wonderful place today and will go back again many times, I’m sure.  I made so many new friends there (four and three legged).  Driving up the long winding driveway to the house is like a scene from a movie set.  As I approached the house, a swarm of dogs surged forward to greet me.  I opened the car door and crouched down to meet all of the greeters.  Crouching down is, I believe, a form of respect to dogs, as you lower yourself to their level rather than towering over them.  I always greet a new dog in a crouching position with open palms.

            In this case I was surrounded by an incredible collection of dogs.  Some stood out immediately.  I wish I could remember all of their names.  All, incidentally, is forty two dogs, and I never was good at names.  There was a beautiful German Sheppard with one eye missing.  A beautiful black and white dog with a boxer head pushed forward and shoved his head into my hands.  I fully expected some skirmishes to break out between jealous dogs all pushing forward for attention.  I haven’t seen that many dogs anywhere, except the movies.

            You may have noticed I haven’t mentioned the couple that cares for and truly loves all of these dogs.  I know they are not concerned about where they appear in this story, because for both of them, the dogs come first.  The owners of the Cummins Pet Haven are Maureen and Terry Cummins, who met each other, each owning their own personal “family” of dogs, and obviously both sharing the same love for their dogs.  Talk about a marriage made in Heaven.  In this case, “Heaven” is 50 acres on the edge of the Flint Hills and west of Auburn, Kansas with wide open spaces and places for dogs to run.  Many of these dogs are rescues or someone’s discard.



The SCARS Welcome Party


            It was several minutes and two stiff knees later, when I finally stood up and went over to meet and shake hands with Terry, whom I was meeting for the first time. I have known Maureen for a number of years and share her and his passion for dogs. I have six of my own, two of which are rescues. They invited me into their house and a wave of dogs flowed into the house, swirling around my feet and quickly claiming position on couches and chairs. Their house had gone to the dogs, and I was envious!. The house was well kept and I know keeping it that way was a never ending job - a labor of love.        

            Although I would have been happy sitting on the floor and visiting with all of these dogs, I reluctantly allowed Maureen to move two dogs off of a chair so I could sit down. I suddenly felt like royalty with so many dogs pushing against each other, wanting to be touched and given attention. I can think of few experiences that would surpass this feeling for me. While I petted several dogs at once, a small, black part-Chihuahua wriggled into my lap and curled up in the number one position in the dog world - a lap. When I looked down, there he was. I was later to learn that this pint sized lap dog was actually one of the more dominant dogs.

            And this brings me back to the amazement I felt that there were no fights; only a few growls, which I recognized as verbal reminders of each dog’s position in the pack. I hesitate to use the word pack because a pack of dogs running together, even though they may be someone’s pet or a pedigreed dog, can be a dangerous, even lethal combination. And yet here was a collection of forty two dogs and they were all getting along.



Naptime at SCARS


            Several times Terry and Maureen tried to call the dogs away from me, but I was enjoying meeting so many new dogs and was trying to give all of the dogs some hands on time.  If you ever get to a point where you don’t feel appreciated, go to the Cummins Pet Haven and give yourself over to the attentions of the dogs.

            I have to mention my favorite dog in the group-Pooh Bear - a jet black Newfoundland.  I think keeping a Newfoundland, which truly is the size of a small bear, is a testimony to dog lovers as Newfoundlands tend to drool and shed abundantly.  I was told Pooh Bear kind of acts as keeper of the peace, the “sheriff,” and yet I know this breed to be among the most affectionate and gentle of dogs.

            You should know that some of these dogs are being offered to approved homes.  Some are permanently locked in the hearts of Terry and Maureen and are now family.  If I didn’t have six dogs already, I could have taken several home with me.  Although these dogs are happy and loved, many would be happier in new homes.  You do the math.  Which do you think a dog would rather have - 1/42 of the attention or perhaps 100%!   If a dog is adopted, I know Terry and Maureen will have mixed feelings about it’s leaving - sad at losing a good friend, but happy for that friend’s going to a wonderful home where he can be the center of attraction.

            Try to imagine the time and expense that this couple have devoted to their dogs.  Efforts are being made to find new and additional funds through grants and donations.  You don’t have to be a philanthropist to help this worthy cause.  Every little bit helps.  They now have a 501(c)3 status as a non-profit organization and all donations are tax deductible.

            If you are a dog lover, call the Cummins at 785-256-2976 and arrange for a visit.  If you are there to make a donation, the welcome you receive when you drive up the driveway is thanks enough and an experience that will lift your heart and stay in your memory forever.  And if you are ready for a new dog in your life, call the Cummins and set up a visit.  It just may be that one of their dogs will choose you.  Donations can be sent to their web site here.  Don’t miss this experience!


Bruce Wolhuter



Bruce Wolhuter and Pooh Bear




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