— — What do black Labrador retrievers and spin class have in common? Not much, unless you are a journalist who happens to teach an indoor cycling class. Spinning and journalism don’t really mix, so it is easy to transition between the two different roles. No one expects an impromptu workout in the newsroom. Neither do fitness lovers count on being interviewed for a story. Every now and then, a few spin class regulars will comment on a story or ask about the women’s magazine Prerogative. But for the most part, conversation tends to revolve around morning matters like spinning and coffee, or favorite breakfast foods. But I was pleasantly surprised when one of my female regulars started talking about a black lab’s photo in the newspaper. Her and her husband had adopted the dog from one of the local shelters after seeing the dog’s picture in the Sunday Lifestyles pages. I was pretty excited and started asking questions about the new dog.
“Shelter corner” began in 2012. The public’s outcry about overcrowding in area shelters led Editor Samantha Perry to request space for the pets, hoping readers would consider adoption. Week after week, I dutifully placed three animal photos, with adoption information from Mercer and McDowell County Animal Shelters and Pet Haven, in Lifestyles. Weeks turned into months and I wondered if readers were saving these animals or simply glancing at them on the way to the Sports page. Finding out an animal was adopted by one of my spin students was confirmation to the effectiveness of Samantha’s idea. Every week, I have asked for updates on the dog. Last week, I learned the black lab slept through the night for the first time. A small step for the dog and owner, and positive feedback I passed on to Samantha. I felt as if I had an active part of the adoption process.