Not only are people happier when they interact with pets, but "a growing body of scientific research is showing that our pets can also make us healthy, or healthier," according to a March 5 story by NPR reporter Julie Rovner.
It has been demonstrated through pet therapy that animals and humans can heal one another, too.
Is it any wonder with these benefits and the unconditional love we gain from and give to our animals that we grieve so deeply when they die?
Shirley Scott, a Walla Walla resident and self-described clairvoyant reader and medium for both animals and humans, plans to start a group for those who have suffered such a loss.
"I was approached by a client who is having problems getting over the death of her pet and it seems very timely as I just had to put one of my rescues to sleep yesterday," Shirley said via email.
Tentatively, the meetings would start at her house on a Tuesday or Thursday from about 7-9 p.m.
"In my line of work, I see many people going through the grieving process. Support from others who have gone through it and just the common threat of loss helps these people know they aren't alone.
"Love is really the only emotion that can break our hearts."
On her website, Shirley also commented that, "One of my greatest thrills and responsibilities is to help people understand that animals are here to teach us lessons with unconditional love. There is a sacred bond between people and their pets. When we honor that bond we start living in a world of joy and wonder."
Call Shirley to make arrangements for the grief group. She has a couple of other people who would like to join the group as helping counselors.
Shirley plans to hold an animal communication class through the Walla Walla Parks & Recreation Department from 6:30-8 p.m. April 23, 25, and 26 at Carnegie Art Center, 109 S. Palouse St.
For more information, contact Shirley at 526-5020; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; www.animaltalkhealing.com or www.animalrescueranch.com.
Andrae "Have Food, Will Travel" Bopp gave an interesting interview published on Leap Day in the Seattle Weekly at blogs.seattleweekly.com. The story comes on the heels of an item colleague Vicki Hillhouse included about Andrae's business in her Strictly Business column Feb. 22.
Many here are learning about the local chef who provides diners with fare from Andrae's Kitchen, billed as our town's only gourmet food truck.
The St. Louis native routinely rubs elbows at his business with famous types, such as our own Scott Campbell from "Deadliest Catch," Queensryche musicians and actor Kyle McLaughlin.
He told writer Zibby Wilder in the Meet Your Maker column Feb. 29 that he expects to cook in the galley aboard "Deadliest Catch" Capt. Sig Hansen's crab boat in Puget Sound this summer while wines for the dinner will be poured by area vintners Andrew Trio, Justin Wylie, Brian Rudin, Eric Dunham and Trey Busch.
Andrae has a reputation for "delectable burgers and a damn fine fish taco," according to Zibby's blog. He opened AK's @ the Co-op, 111 N. Ninth Ave., so people won't have to track his moveable feast around town to get a bite. He tallies the number of burgers served at his truck on a chalk board. It shows 3,760 served "as of today" in a photo on the Walla Walla Farmers Co-Op website. The number since then is reportedly more than 5,000. He also operates La Porte Brune Catering, The Dugout Caf at Borleske Stadium and Andrae's Kitchen in Walla Walla.
Ak's is open seven days per week from 6 a.m.-6 p.m., including breakfast and then lunch service runs from 10 a.m. to close. Orders can be called in or texted ahead of time or there is indoor seating for 30.
To read more of Andrae's interview online, see tinyurl.com/8ycu9t9 .
Seattleite Adam Woog is seeking contact in the here and now with folks from the area who are familiar with Walla Walla's otherworldly legends.
He's collecting ghost legends in Washington state to include in "Haunted Washington," which will be published as part of a nationwide series in 2013 by Globe Pequot Press.
A working writer with 30 years experience, Adam wants to assemble "as many good ghost stories" from our area as possible. He's already written about Jennifer Lopez, Bigfoot, YouTube, Lucille Ball, Carlos Santana, Mark Zuckerberg and "Prohibition/Banning Alcohol."
"Any help would be greatly appreciated, and whoever I talk to will be given full credit. This will be in both the body of the text and on a ‘thanks to … ' page. Of course, anyone can also choose to be anonymous," he emailed.
However, he cautioned that "I'm too much of an old newspaper/magazine guy to be interested in the ‘my-friend-saw-something-creepy' approach to this topic.
"Instead, I'm focusing on relatively well-established legends that already have legitimate media stories about them. As I'm sure you know, there's a lot of invented junk out there, and I hope to avoid it as much as possible."
He enjoys traveling for interviews, but said he'll have to be content with phone and/or email interviews in many instances.
Contact Adam at email@example.com or 206-525-2789.
Walla Wallan Danny Davis had a Eureka! moment while exploring the goods at a local yard sale. His foray yielded a Pioneer Methodist Episcopal Church (now Pioneer United Methodist) cook book published in 1927 by Marytha Bible Class.
The class received the support of local businesses, whose advertisements lace the cook book's pages and enabled the group to issue the book.
It's a walk down a gastronomic memory lane with such popular foods as flannel and johnny cakes and Parker House rolls. More than half its pages are filled with desserts, from cakes and cookies to candies. There are tips on canning and preserves, main dishes and vegetables. A challenge for modern cooks is the decided lack of specific directions, such as "bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes."
It's a who's who of local recipe contributors, including Cordiner, Yeend, Coyle, Bryant, Eichenberger, Morton, Preas, Walker, Davis, Wylie, Martin, Sherwood and Chambers.
The tradition at the time was for women to go by their husband's name, such as Mesdames John Stimmel, John Webster and Roy Gilmans, for example.
My favorite ads include one from Walla Walla Steam Laundry, 126 W. Rose St., Phone 4. "Phone 4: when your washing machine and wife are worn out, send your laundry to us. We satisfy."
Advertisers in its pages that are still around: Martin's Jewelers, "home of the blue white diamond," 119 W. Main St., telephone 738; Green & Jackson Drug Co.; Wylie Monument Works, Main Street at Seventh Avenue. No longer here: Marshall, Calloway & Hennessey Funeral Home, "with a private sick ambulance service," Phone 151, 315 W. Alder St.; Cookerly & Funk Funeral Home, 34 Boyer Ave., phone 717; MacMartin & Chamberlain, "new modern mortuary, lady assistant," phone 322, Pullman Ambulance Services, 130 E. Alder St.; The Book Nook Inc., "a new store offering drugs, greeting cards, ice cream, school and office supplies, in fact, the largest stock of merchandise carried in Walla Walla," phone 2025; and The Davis-Kaser Company, "complete home furnishing department store at 10, 12, 14, 16, 18 and 20 Alder St., telephones 100 and 101.
To stimulate causes that fight hunger, The Feinstein Foundation Campaign to Fight Hunger has donated $1 million each year to anti-hunger agencies throughout the country.
Ongoing for the past 15 years, the giveaway is divided in full proportionately among the agencies that participate in the Challenge.
Walla Walla's Pantry Shelf Food Share, at 325 S. First Ave. in the First Presbyterian Church, is taking up the challenge again, during March and April, according to a release from Pantry Shelf Board member Gwyn Frasco.
In 2011, Pantry Shelf's two-month participation collected financial contributions and non-perishable food worth more than $2,500. These donations helped fill its shelves. An additional contribution of $261 was received from Feinstein Foundation for participating last year.
"The challenge has been very worthwhile and is a good volunteer project for churches, businesses and organizations," Gwyn said.
Food and monetary donations specifically earmarked for the Feinstein Challenge will be collected in March and April.
Food, cash or checks made out to Pantry Shelf will be recorded on Feinstein Challenge receipts indicating what was given by each donor. Non-perishable food items are given a value of $1 each in Pantry Shelf's report to the Feinstein Foundation at the end of April.
Food and financial donations may be brought to Pantry Shelf during open hours: Monday from 2:30-5 p.m., Wednesday and Friday from 12:30-3 p.m. or call Pantry Shelf at 526-4169 to set up a delivery time.
Etcetera appears in daily and Sunday editions. Annie Charnley Eveland can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 526-8313.