News: Soft spot for animals keeps Marine busy
Story by Cpl. Thomas Bricker
MARINE CORPS LOGISTICS BASE BARSTOW, Calif. - You see, she’s been through the desert carrying a dog with no name, but it wasn’t to get out of the rain. She couldn’t remember the dog’s name because there was no one to share the dog’s pain: a parody of the 1970s folk-rock band America’s hit “A Horse with No Name” parallels the story you’re about to read.
Corporal Bryanna Kessler, a stableman with the Marine Corps Mounted Color Guard at Marine Corps Logistics Base Barstow, Calif., acts as a foster parent for the dog referenced above rescued from the Barstow Humane Society.
In early March 2013, Kessler began fostering dogs from the local humane society after several weeks of volunteering there, at the end of each work day.
“I started out walking four or five dogs a day after work regularly last month,” said Kessler. “Up until that point, I had only been going out there every so often,” she added.
Fostering an animal is similar to pet adoption: in both cases, the pets are taken home. For foster care, the pet is only there temporarily, until the foster parent has found a home for the animal or until it’s returned to the humane society.
Currently, fostering an animal isn’t a regular practice at the Barstow Humane Society.
“As of now, we’re working on a process people can follow to foster animals, something more official,” explained Ashlee Ramsey, manager of the city’s humane society. “Right now, it’s based on who we see regularly and get to know and trust,” she added.
Kessler is no stranger to caring for animals. Growing up, her family had many "farm" animals as pets despite never actually living on a farm. Animals they had ranged from the conventional house pets such as dogs, cats and rabbits, to larger ones like horses and goats.
By volunteering her time after work to the humane society after spending a full work day caring for and training horses, the Kelso, Wash., native has been able to immerse herself in a world of animals.
“It feels so rewarding to help out with animals. With the first dog I fostered, I helped it (avoid euthanasia) and, instead, it went to a great home,” Kessler explained. “It felt good knowing he was adopted 24 hours after I picked him up. It was like I gave an animal another shot at a happy life,” she said.
Not only does Kessler’s volunteer work with dogs help the animals, it assists the humane society as well by clearing space at their compound for new animals and alleviates some of the workload of the permanent personnel.
Ramsey explained that Barstow’s Humane Society has 12 to 13 people on staff but doesn’t include the volunteers who come in to help. While the employees are capable of doing all jobs there, the volunteers normally handle tasks such as walking dogs, bathing the animals, and cleaning cages.
Kessler’s current foster companion is a small, nameless dog she hopes to find a loving home for adoption. They’re accompanied at home by Hank, a one-year old dachshund-mix she adopted in November 2012.
“I couldn’t help but try to find her a new family. The humane society was getting ready to put her down and I saw how behaved she was so I asked if I could try to find her a home,” Kessler explained while holding the tiny dog in her arms.
The animal lover has every intention of continuing to assist animals after her time is done with her current foster dog.
“I don’t know if I’ll be fostering another dog right after this one, but I definitely want to in the future,” Kessler explained.
“I’m going to keep up with walking dogs after work though. I love doing anything I can to help these animals,” she concluded.