This column begins and ends with great stories, stories that illustrate how meaningful CRARL’s work is, and how it can bring both happiness and sadness.

First up is Henry Cooper of Appleton, who celebrated his ninth birthday a couple of weeks ago and asked for donations for the shelter instead of birthday presents. Henry and his mother, Martie, visited the shelter recently and presented CRARL with $374 and a large supply of cat and dog food. We just happen to know Henry and his mother personally, and we can tell you that Henry is a boy who not only loves animals but thinks of things he can do to help them, and then does them. Thank you, Henry, for your thoughtfulness and your generosity. Please visit us often, and not just when you have a birthday, as the next is almost a year away and we don’t want to have to wait that long to see you again.

Don’t forget the nail-clipping clinic from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. next Saturday, Sept. 18, at Loyal Biscuit, 474 Main St. Rockland, with all proceeds going to the shelter. We’ve already told you how important it is for your dog to keep her or his nails clipped, and that is especially true as it begins to get colder and your magnificent mutts aren’t outside as much as they were during the summer.

The Woofer Wash on Saturday was great fun, as always, with the car and dog washers getting almost as wet as their targets, if not nearly as clean. Thanks to co-chairs Mark Kelley and Mark Masterson; to dogwashers Laura Stupca and Kris Potter; to Autumn Stupca, who did a tremendous job of holding up our sign on Route 1; and to volunteers Eliza Roy and her father, Michael, Peter Gimlewicz and his father, Paul, Marty Lepow, Chris Litzenberg, Aubrey, Alexys, Dan and Gina Schaefer, our executive director, Sarah Shepherd, and of course our board president, Jean Freedman-White, who never asks anyone to do a job she wouldn’t do herself and who is always getting us to tie our shoelaces and step up to the plate. Thank you, Jean, for everything you do.

We’ve already told you that rumor has it that the photos for our Local Heroes Community Calendar, due out at the beginning of February, are crackerjacks. Well, we’ve seen them with our very own eyes, and they are even better than rumor says. We don’t know how to thank Pat McLean for these simply wonderful works of art. With the artist’s true eye, she has brought out the best in all her subjects-dog, cat, woman, man-and put together a group of photos for our calendar that is simply stunning. There’s no other word. The only reason you’re going to be able to turn over the fabulous picture for January is that you’ll get to see February and so on throughout the year. As we’ve said before, don’t let this one get by you. These calendars will make fabulous Christmas presents, as long as you don‘t forget to get one for yourself. And they come with a little something extra: Pat has chosen some outtakes to put on the back, where other calendars usually just reprint the pictures in the calendar, and they will give you a very good idea of how much fun everyone had getting this project off the ground and into your hands.

And that brings us to another great story, this one a little sad for us at the shelter but wonderful for the person who stars in it. Sally Russillo has been our office manager for a little more than a year now, and she has done so much that is above and beyond her job description that we hardly know where to start listing her accomplishments. But we think one example will tell you everything you need to know about her dedication, her willingness, her capacity for hard work, her sense of humor, her ability to get things done, her patience and every other gift she has given the shelter during her time with us. Without Sally there would be no calendar. She has put her heart and soul into it, and like Pat’s artistry, her commitment shows. She is truly one of the local heroes whom this calendar honors.

Sally is leaving CRARL. She’s not going far-in fact, she is going to organize the business of one of our hardest-working board members, so we expect to see her around. We all wish her all the best in the world, and we are eternally grateful to her for her time with us. It will not be easy for us to fill her shoes, though we are sure that whoever takes her place will bring her or his own special skills to the job. Thank you, Sally, from the bottom of our hearts. And the top too.

Why is our darling Mickey still at the shelter? This older gentleman should be at the heart of a home where his quiet dignity and restful reserve can be cherished. If he doesn’t put himself forward for visitors, it’s because he wants to be taken on his own terms, and he’ll return that courtesy with love and devotion. If you haven’t met him, do it soon. His adoption fee is by donation, and he is up to date on all his shots.

We are expecting an influx of kittens shortly, and we’ll be looking for foster homes where they and their mother can live and be taken care of until they are old enough to stay at the shelter. We found out the other day that there are actually people who have never seen a small kitten. They are one of the true great joys of life, and at that age they need you to help socialize them so that they can grow up into great cats. Please call us if you’re interested in being a foster family.

Should you find yourself in Islesboro, please stop by the Community Center and say “Hi,” to Morris and Maddie. They are hanging out over thereand having a very good time doing it too, but like all our precious charges they need a home of their own. Don’t disappoint them.