Yesterday morning, Pat Cowan passed away. I knew her only tangentially, as we regularly met her while dog walking at one time and later knew of her work with greyhounds. I knew little of her political life and nothing of her teaching career. I knew her through her dogs.
They say you can tell a lot about a person by how he treats his dog. I have long been of the opinion that an individual's actions towards the animals in their life are even more indicative than their behaviour towards children. Social services will show up at the drop of a hat, but the SPCA has fewer powers. To not only be responsible towards your own animals, but to assume a role in helping animals in need find other responsible people with whom to share their lives makes a person a sort of hero, in my books.
Pat is the reason that greyhound adoption became possible in Newfoundland. She started the ball rolling in establishing the Newfoundland branch of Greyhound Pets of Atlantic Canada (GPAC) and kicked the ball along whenever it needed momentum. Her own dogs were ambassadors of this cause and I suspect that many greyhound owners (ourselves included) were largely swayed into adoption by having seen the joy that she and her dogs gave each other.
If you can tell a lot about a person by the way they treat animals, then there are not words enough to praise Pat's life. Hey Pat, when you pass by the Rainbow Bridge, there will be a crowd waiting.