- Courtesy of Michelle Henry | Rev. Diane Sullivan
We say this every year, but Seven Days staffers look forward to putting together the annual Animal Issue arguably more than any other single edition.
The primary reason is the animals themselves. Everyone loves their critters, be they big or small, fuzzy or scaly. But another reason might be that the Animal Issue is an example of each of Seven Days' individual pieces moving in unison, like starlings in murmuration.
Sure, we always work collaboratively to produce the best dang paper we can. But in the week-to-week grind, it's natural for different departments to compartmentalize. Not so with this edition. From editorial to sales to marketing to production, the Animal Issue is an all-paws-on-deck affair.
For example, if it wasn't already the first thing you turned to after picking up the paper, flip to the Best of the Beasts pet photo contest. Marketing and events director Corey Grenier devised the contest with some input from me. Our designers spent hours combing through photo submissions to choose winners, then made it all look great on the page. Thanks to a long-standing business relationship, Burlington Emergency & Veterinary Specialists sponsored the contest.
Seven Days readers played their part by supplying all the cute photos. And, eventually, this issue — delivered to you by our ace circulation team — will line many of those same readers' litter boxes and birdcages. Cue Elton John's "Circle of Life."
There's more to the Animal Issue than adorable pet pics, though, and other sections also demonstrate the beat-spanning approach.
In news, Anne Wallace Allen writes that Vermont's growing tick population is not just harming humans, it's having a negative impact on the health of moose.
In food, Melissa Pasanen gets to know the folks behind Andy's Dandys Baked Dog Treats, a family-owned company that provides job training for people with disabilities. Meanwhile, at the Vermont Mealworm Farm in Braintree, owner Bob Simpson is growing what Jordan Barry terms the "squiggly insects," primarily as feed for animals but also for some brave humans.
Vermont animal shelters braced for a rise in animal surrenders following last year's spike in "pandemic pet" adoptions. Fortunately, those returns haven't materialized at the level predicted. But surrenders still happen, for many reasons. As Ken Picard writes in a moving first-person account, surrendering a dog in Vermont can be an emotionally devastating, stigmatizing and surprisingly difficult process.
For those fortunate owners and pooches who are a good match, doggy day camps offer "training and off-leash adventures," freelancer Gail Rosenberg writes.
In Wheelock, Sally Pollak met teenage horse trainer Wisteria Franklin, who was headed to Oklahoma City to compete with her latest yearling, Swiss Mister, in the Extreme Mustang Makeover.
Finally, we say goodbye to kitten rescuer Kira Jaye Serisky. The Shelburne teenager died in February from complications of Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, a rare and debilitating genetic condition. But she lived a full, rich life — and saved an awful lot of kittens — in her 17 years.