Oh, Oliver! First, a big Happy Birthday as you embark on your fifth year. Second, an even bigger thanks for all the wonderful gifts for the shelter that you asked your friends to give you instead of gifts to you. You are a gift yourself, and we and the animals thank you a thousand times!

Thanks too to David Dickey, the owner of the Riverhouse Hotel, and Jennifer Wiley, his marketing and sales coordinator, for their donation of blankets and sheets to replenish our bedding supply.

What would we do without friends like these?

As the warm days move in (don’t you dare think snow), Laura Stupca, our shelter manager, has a few suggestions for those of you with four-legged creatures in the family.

• It’s time to have your dog(s) checked for heartworm.
• It’s also time for flea treatments for almost anything with four legs. (We met a wonderful checkout person at Wal-Mart yesterday who has two pythons. Do pythons get fleas, we wonder?)
• If your dogs are starting to spend more time outside, be sure they always have enough water, shelter from the wind and rain (don’t think wind or rain either) and plenty of toys to keep them busy.
• If your dogs are diggers, make sure the holes aren’t under the fence where they could get out. If they do, hurry and call your local animal control officer and local shelters and check with neighbors. It is very important that your dog carry ID (and we think it’s the law too). And having your dogs — and cats too — microchipped is an even better idea, in case they lose the collar. We have heard many stories about animals being returned to their owners because they were microchipped. It’s a little to pay to avoid a lot of heartache. Call your vet or the shelter to ask about it.

Camden-Rockport Animal Rescue League Executive Director Sarah Shepherd (who has basset hounds) and Laura Stupca were invited to talk about the shelter at the West Bay Rotary on March 4, something they are always happy to do. Molly, our beautiful 4-year-old beagle mix, was invited too, and when she saw an opportunity to grab Marty Martens’ breakfast she took it. She enjoyed every last bit of it too! Fortunately, Marty is a member of the CRARL board, and she was happy to see our shelter animals so full of pizazz. Besides, she got another breakfast. (George and Betsy were there too, but they were slightly better behaved.) The annual West Bay Rotary drive to collect food and supplies for the shelter begins this month. Many thanks to Mark Masterson, who invited us to speak at Rotary, and to Marty, who does such a wonderful job representing us at Rotary, and many other places.

Among the many fabulous creatures waiting patiently (more or less) at the shelter for a forever home are:

The afore-mentioned Molly, who is great around dogs, cats, kids and some breakfasts. She’s got a nose that is a mix of hound and beagle, so walks, which she adores, are for smelling just about everything.

Buddy is an 11-month-old German shepherd mix, and in addition to being wicked handsome, he loves walks, already knows a few commands and has a very sweet temper.

Our beautiful Mickey, who is about 8 or 9 (some men don’t tell their age either, it seems), has been at the shelter since 2003. Always the perfect gentleman, he — and we — would like nothing better than to see him settle down to retirement in a loving home. He just had some dental work done and is missing a few more teeth, but that doesn’t stop him from eating. And it sure doesn’t stop him from loving!

As always, thanks to all of you who have made the shelter a part of your life. If you’d like to get an idea of the kind of love money actually can buy, we are located in Rockport at 146 Camden St., just across from Subway. We are open from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday and closed on Monday. Please visit us in person and at crarl.org. We look forward to seeing you either place!