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By Rosalie Tirella

Rose, December 2020.

So long, favorite tree, so old and tall you grow straight past my third floor apartment! I’m moving out in a few weeks: by then, maybe a little past, you’ll be in full bloom – your green leaves wrapped in tiny tight buds unfurled, burst open. Your filigreed beauty gone.

I like trees best when they look like the one outside my pantry window: spare, the lacey green of a handkerchief’s edges embroidered on every brown branch, the branches still visible in all their drama. They are dark, gnarly, rough, crooked and broken in so many places. I like the way they cradle their “babies” – buds and fledglings in nests – spring after spring. April was invented for the filigreed trees and their promise of good things to come.

Rose’s tree …

I think of my late mom when I look at this tree, too. When I was a little girl, we lived on the third floor of a Lafayette Street three decker. If you walked out onto our back porch you saw this picture too – tree tops – but in my neck of Green Island. Before the gentrification and martinis. Back when we were a Bud neighborhood. In April the filgreed trees – a row of them – stood just yards from our back porch. Four, right close to us, so close, that when I was a little girl I tried to reach out and touch the tips of their branches. The telephone poles and their heavy black wires were there, too. They were where the black crows sat. The crows on the heavy black wires tilted their iridescent heads at me, staring right back at me with their flat, black eyes. The brown English sparrows perched on the telephone wires, too. The pigeons, too big and clumsy, were often huddled on nearby three decker roof tops and under their eaves. All of them were waiting for Ma – never for me. And every morning, right before breakfast, in the early pale sunlight, before she made us kids breakfast, my mother did not disappoint. My mother, hunchbacked, careworn at 41, would stand on our back porch and whistle to her friends and throw bread scraps to them from our third floor porch.

Rose’s mom as a teen standing before Green Island back porches …

Ma was the best whistler I’ve ever heard and could carry entire show tunes or religious hymns, verse, chorus, verse. She had taught herself to mimick the sparrow songs – and whistled them as she threw pieces of bread over the porch into our back yard. Birds – even pigeons – are smart: soon scores of crows, sparrows and pigeons were out waiting for my mom – every morning, way before her whistles. Lined up like communicants at church, waiting for their Holy Communion … with Ma. With nature, goodness, God.

Rose, when she was a child … on her Green Island back porch where her mom used to feed the birds …

Of course, the savvy crows took the biggest slices first, then the big pigeons hustled their way into the fray, the male puffing up their chests, as they attacked their scrap of bread. The wee brown English sparrows, dusty and flicking their wings, waited off to the side. That’s when Ma would throw the few scraps she had held back, round 2, special for them, right under their noses, as we kids used to say in Green Island …

Circa W W II: Ma (left) and Aunt Mary on The Block’s roof, Bigelow Street. Pigeons roosted here, and you took photos before the panorama of Green Island. Here Uncle Joe is back home on leave from the Navy. Ma, his favorite sister, wears his uniform!

🌍New Earth Day column – by Edith!🌍🌎🌏🌱

Mother Earth – Her Own Day!

By Edith Morgan

🌱Edith gardening🍃…

April has just started and already the City of Worcester’s DPW and P crews have been out in my neighborhood sweeping away the debris left by winter: mainly salt and sand, with surprisingly little litter. And now our area is pristine, for how long no one knows.

This year, Worcester’s city-wide Earth Day Clean–up is scheduled for THIS Saturday Morning, April 10, from 8 a.m. to noon. Usually the DPW trucks come by each site just before noon and pick up what has been collected by us volunteers at the 50 sites around the city. My ED co-coordinator and I had been doing the cleanup yearly for some time, and we had a regular crew of helpers, which included Kristen’s two sons and my grandson and some of his high school friends, in addition to neighbors who cleaned their streets.

You want to save our Earth? Keep it clean, reduce greenhouse gases? EAT LESS MEAT!

This will be the first time after the year of COVID cancellations that I will not be out there early on Saturday, in the St. Bernard Church parking lot, signing in our helpers. I am 90 years old now, and since Kristen moved away I could not round up a new co-coordinator in time to sign up for this year. But there are 50 sites, so the city will get a thorough cleaning anyway!

Earth Day is actually much later in April – on the 22nd – when we really celebrate our environment. But actually, every day should be Earth Day: we should not be befouling our nest with trash, chemicals, plastics and all sorts of unsightly refuse.

I have always felt that it is the job of our public schools to train our young right from the very beginning to be aware of their surroundings, to pick up after themselves, and to feel responsible for being respectful of Mother Earth. It s never too soon to have children pick up their play area when they come in from recess (I used to make a game of it: everyone needed a “ticket” to get back in – a piece of litter from the playground.) and of course at the end; of the day, to pick up the area around each one’s own desk.

Love your Mother!

My parents always taught us that public property should be treated especially well, out of respect for our fellow-citizens. ( Some of us were somewhat more cavalier about our own rooms, and I know that especially with adolescents , their own rooms tend to be somewhat more messy…)

Our major corporations have begun to run ads bragging about what they are doing for the environment, it has become fashionable at last to conserve, recycle, re-use and think about how we use things.

What do you want to leave behind for your grandchildren?

I hope it is not too late to reverse the effects of our wastefulness and lack of respect for our planet.

🌱But we have taken the first step: awareness. 🌍🌏🌎🌱🌱🌱🌱

Hundreds of birds and insect species have gone extinct during the past century …

Butterflies are free!

Exotic “Pets”: Suffering for Sale!

By Jennifer O’Connor

Some years ago, I heard a loud, rather frantic knocking at my door. I rushed to open it and found my next-door neighbor standing on my doorstep with gloves on and a pillowcase in hand.

He had stopped by to warn me that his “pet” python was on the loose, having escaped the small, inadequate tank that he was kept in. As if this weren’t alarming enough, he admitted that he had been out of town for “a couple of weeks” and wasn’t exactly sure when Bruno the snake had finally gotten hungry enough to make a break for it.

Snakes and iguanas are just as EXOTIC as lions and elephants!

Could I keep an eye out for him?

I slept with one eye open until Bruno was found — weeks later, emaciated and dead, having starved to death behind the dryers in the apartment building’s laundry room.

Bruno met a ghastly end, but as Florida lawmakers well know, some lost or discarded pets manage to thrive.

Florida officials tried every trick in the book to rid the state of pythons and other non-native species. Roundups didn’t work. Killing contests with cash prizes failed. A recent decision by the state’s Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to ban the possession and breeding of pythons, iguanas and 14 other nonnative species is long overdue but may have come far too late.

Florida’s war on reptiles can be directly attributed to lawmakers — at both the state and the federal level — who have long capitulated to the exotic animal industry by refusing to ban wild animals from being kept as pets. Just a few years ago, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service caved to the U.S. Association of Reptile Keepers, which was fighting a bill that would have made some species of dangerous snakes illegal to import and sell. The proposed list was gutted by more than half — four species were banned rather than nine. The group then sued to overturn even that modest measure.

When you make it as simple as pulling out a credit card to buy snakes, alligators, iguanas and other exotic species, the cruel cycle, fueled by the exotic pet industry, begins again. These animals are often bought on a whim and are quickly disposed of when their specialized needs become burdensome. The thrill of acquiring a novelty pet can wear off before the check even clears.

Animals who have become “inconvenient” are often tossed out like trash or relegated to life at the end of a chain or in a tiny cage; others are passed from one owner to the next. A few “lucky” ones may end up in an already overburdened animal shelter, where they will at least be given food.

Unbelievably, there is no federal law prohibiting the private ownership of wild or dangerous animals, and that includes tigers, bears, lions and other large species.

Breeders and dealers market exotics as if they were little more than stuffed toys. But exotic species have precise dietary and environmental needs and require specialized veterinary care that even zoos, with their vast resources, sometimes have difficulty fulfilling. Reptiles need technical spectrum lighting, big cats require a fortified diet to prevent their bones from weakening and tropical birds need high levels of humidity in order to thrive.

Lawmakers owe it to their constituents to prevent people from breeding, selling and keeping reptiles and other exotic species, not only to protect the animals themselves, like poor Bruno, but also to protect public health and our ecosystems.


These companies DO NOT TEST THEIR PRODUCTS ON RABBITS. Please support them!:

“Lemon Tree, Very Pretty …”🍋🍋🍋🍋

Text and photos by Chef Joey

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Here in France, having lemon trees in your yard has its advantages. Unlike most fruit, the lemons do not rot and fall – they just get bigger and bigger! And a variety of uses as is: A simple slice in your tea or a drink, or to season a salad … over fish or even meat! Lemonade is delicious too. Cooked lemon juice is used in soups and desserts …

I am giving you a recipe for lemon curd that also can be used as a lemon pie filling. Because the eggs get separated, I decided to use the whites and make lemon merengue pies. I chose to make small tarts – a conventional pie is just as easy if not easier!

Here is what you will need:

1 pie crust pre-cooked

2 lemons – zested and juiced


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2 tbsp flour

3 tbsp corn starch

1 1/2 cups water

1/2 cup sugar (more, if you have a sweet tooth … up to 1 cup)

Pinch of salt

2 tablespoons butter

4 eggs, separated

(6 tbsp sugar extra for meringue)

In a cup, mix the flour …

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… and corn starch and make a paste with COLD water from your cup 1 1/2 portion.

Add to a sauce pan and heat.

Add the water and sugar, stirring constantly. It will start to bubble and thicken – add the lemon juice keep stirring until thick …



Separate the eggs and temper the yolks with the mix I to the pan, stirring until thick. Shut the heat off, add the zest and stir well.


Pour the mix into the pie shell – …

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Meanwhile beat the egg whites until stiff …

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… sprinkle with the 6 tbsp sugar and FOLD the sugar in – cover the top of the lemon curd mix right up to the crust’s edges.

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Bake at 350 F in a pre-heated hot oven for 10 minutes until the meringue starts to brown.

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Chill and serve!

I make a thinner pie so I can use the rest of the lemon mix on toast or scones! Enjoy!🍋🍋🍋🍋🍋🍋

Safe at the Elephant Sanctuary, Nosey Makes Her First New Friends!

By Danny Prater

For decades, an African elephant named Nosey languished in chains as she was carted around the country and exploited for entertainment.


She was denied the crucial companionship of other elephants, which was surely devastating for her.

Nosey is safe and happy now.❤

But thankfully, her life took a turn for the better after officials in Lawrence County, Alabama, as well as PETA and tens of thousands of compassionate people took action. Nosey was freed from her longtime abuser and sent to rest and recover at her new permanent home, The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee (TES). And now there’s more good news! TES has announced that Nosey has been introduced to two new Asian elephant friends, Sissy and Tarra.

In their native homes, elephants live surrounded by family and friends.

Mother and baby elephant

Elephants playing …

By this point in her life, Nosey would’ve been an auntie and possibly even a mother. But humans took that opportunity away from her. When she was just a calf, her family was gunned down. She was captured and sold to the circus. Because she was alone for most of her life, she never had a chance to learn social skills or important life lessons from other elephants.

Because Nosey — like many elephants used in traveling circus-style shows — has a history of exposure to tuberculosis, she is not able to reside with other African elephants at the sanctuary, who have no history of exposure.

Nosey Meets New Friends

During the early days following Nosey’s arrival at TES, she began rumbling to and socializing with her Asian elephant neighbors from a safe distance. But recently, Nosey met Tarra and then Sissy through a fence. This allowed the elephants to become comfortable with one another on their own terms, with the added security that a barrier provides. After slowly getting to know one another, the three elephants even met all together — with careful supervision by TES staff — inside a barn.

Elephant introductions at reputable, accredited sanctuaries like TES are careful and slow. This affords each elephant the freedom to learn how to be around others and the option to leave the area.

TES detailed some of Nosey and her new friend Tarra’s heartwarming first interactions:

“When finally introduced, Nosey and Tarra were both very relaxed, and spent several minutes smelling one another’s trunk, face, mouth, ears, eyes, and feet. Tarra showed particular interest in Nosey’s tusks and mouth, while Nosey was taking in everything she could about Tarra! They rumbled to each other softly. The two were allowed supervised access to each other for three hours and were seen on four occasions meeting up for minutes at a time expressing the same relaxed, exploratory behaviors.”

We can’t wait to see Nosey’s relationship with Tarra and Sissy bloom!

Edith – always in style! New spring column!💐🌼🌱🌿🌷🌸🌺🌹🍃

Meet the Hellesbores

By Edith Morgan

Edith and Guy

Spring seems early this year: warm days, interspersed among the colder ones we expect, have led the the early birds of the plant world to come up. In my yard, the crocuses have bloomed, and the hyacinths are two inches above the ground. The tulips too are showing buds, and the forsythia buds are ready to open. Strawberry leaves are coming to life, and the trees have a slight yellow halo where leaves will soon appear. And, of course, the yearly City of Worcester spring street sweeping signs have appeared in our neighborhood, and we are all keeping our cars off the street in hopes that soon the sweepers will come and remove all the sand and salt that has accumulated along our curbs from winter time.

So, truly, all the signs of spring are all about us. One of my spring rituals, before the novel corona virus hit us, was to learn some new way of displaying plants every year or using natural materials to create something natural and beautiful.

Edith loves flowers and has them in her kitchen, dining room and living room.

This year, after having kept to myself for the whole previous year, my best friend and I ventured out to Spencer, to Bemis Nursery, for one of their wonderful workshops. I had really missed them, and since I got my COVID vaccine and still wear my facial mask, I decided it was safe to attend the workshop to learn to plant and care for a plant I really did not know anything about: the hellesbore.

There were about 15 of us in the workshop, standing out doors and listening to the instructions – and then moving into the clear plastic green house where all our materials had been set out so we each could create our own arrangement.

Edith, working in her garden.

There is something very satisfying about getting your hands dirty – and learning to avoid at all costs calling the planting medium “dirt” – it is SOIL!!!

Working in the green house, surrounded by hundreds of very colorful and artistic arrangements ready to go out to be sold for Easter, was greatly tempting. After we completed our own arrangement and cleaned up after ourselves, we wandered through the aisles of plant arrangements, each different from its neighbor, each tempting, colorful, beautiful. Dozens of pansy flats of all colors, with their little faces looking up at us, sat in rows just waiting to be bought … And so many different arrangements, each with numerous spring plants, growing in happy companionship in a variety of planters, decorated with sprigs rising above them, adorned with butterflies or small birds.

And the country air was pure and clean.

We took home several, to keep indoors until danger of frost is past – or to give away. It was a great way to spend a half-day accomplishing so many goals at once.

Many thanks to the Bemis family for this memorable experience, which I had missed so much!
Happy Easter, from Edith!

Don’t put your eggs in one basket

By Chef Joey


“Do not put your eggs in one basket.” This sentence has many meanings – from relationships to work. It is particularly interesting in this new Covid 19 era – and Easter. Eggs break, as does everything really. However, eggs are indeed more vulnerable when the sides are compromised. Like in life, we have sides: Democrat and Republican, left and right – the list goes on. The year is 2021, like a science novel or a “sci fi flick” from the early 1970s: “Are you vaccinated?” from “it”?

It’s crazy how we have cancer, leukemia, HIV, lupus among the diseases that have societies, volunteers and companies for the prevention of them, and all controlled by CEO’s – complete with staff and full salaries, with no cure or prevention in sight. Years of research, and yet in the United States, they are challenges for the cure. MS is another one, replete with challenging walks to raise funds for the cure, stamps and yet more societies like the March of Dimes that send lovely message labels for your letters … still no cure.

Now we have a two-step injection for COVID – a disease that is perhaps old but only known as a one-year-old plague, with US companies popping out an inoculation replete with stickers and stamps for validation with a multi-mutating (man-engineered?) dare I say “malady”? I tend to think the “Blair Witch” on this, as there are not many mitigating circumstances about what is going on, just speculation.

Europe shut down one of them (vaccinations), they regrouped, added a change – and “boom!” back up and running again. How crazy is that?


The USA is the ringleader in medical costs for the entire world. The rest of the world has controlled costs and no additional health care costs to the citizens, as their taxes were designed to pay for universal education and health care, as they are paramount to a working society. Not so much for the working citizens of Massachusetts! We pay a 10% fine for no health insurance at tax time. How is that working out for the people with the $10,000 emergency room bill for not being able to pay for health insurance?

My father was diagnosed with lung cancer several years ago: One year and 14 weeks hospitalization, surgeries, biopsies, chemo and everything else associated with it in France, with no insurance, just self-pay. Full insurance in the USA that reimbursed 80%. Total French cost you wonder? $38,000.

I had disc replacement surgery in America – one miserable night in the hospital with a hideous roommate. Total hospital time: 30 hours, and my cost was $43,000 PLUS co-pay and meds. There are 850,000 people in Worcester, with minimal testing or vaccination centers. Europe is replete with vaccination and testing centers – all for free. I was charged $169 at a Worcester Walgreens for a COVID test, as I was exposed to a person that had it and Fallon denied the claim because I did not get a referral. For COVID exposure?! (By the way, Saint Vincent Medical Group does not refer … keep that in mind.)

So, to keep this short and sweet: Stay safe, wear your facial mask, wash your hands and stay 6 feet from the next person. The whole world is in quarantine that has socialized medicine – except the great old USA. Perhaps there is a reason?
The egg and the basket. Pic: Edith Morgan

What do we really value?

By Edith Morgan

Edith and Guy

Many years ago, one of the weekly magazines ran some public service ads dealing with the topic: what we really value is what we are willing to pay for. It went on to compare what we pay athletes, actors and entertainers vs. soldiers, teachers and our astronauts.

Does it seem to anyone else that our monetary reward system is completely upside down and that we pay the most vital jobs the least money and those least important the most money?

Our society, our whole species, would die out completely very soon were it not for parents – especially mothers, whom we celebrate with candy and flowers on Mothers’ Day every May. Yet parenting is unpaid work (and if you have ever done it and done it well you know it is years of 24-hour a day work of all kinds) and, while we give lots of lip service to motherhood, we as a nation do not put our money where our mouth is. The U.S. is way behind most civilized nations in its care of children – we are still “nickel-and-diming“ early childhood care, day care, pre-school education and proper healthcare for all our children and families.


We expect these services to be rendered free or for very little money, while we can always find billions of dollars without a question for yet another weapon of mass destruction, for yet another multi-billion-dollar massive aircraft carrier. Meanwhile we have millions of our children who are unsure where their next meal is coming from.

Outdoor Photo PAL-Child
Many children in America live in poverty. 1 in 5 is “food insecure.”

Those who perform the really vital services in our society are paid the least: If the garbage is not collected for even a week in New York City, it piles up and the rats take over. When the schools closed because of a deadly virus, parents were frantic to find things for their children to do at home. The au pairs and governesses who actually raise the children of the rich are poorly paid, and teachers are expected to do the work of instructors, social workers, psychologists and guards – and to supplement school supplies out of their own pockets when school taxes do not stretch far enough.

But we can afford to pay millions for athletes, stadiums, ever more expensive automobiles and toys to amuse us – and gadgets galore to fill our hours. We reward those who do the least work (at the top – or who inherit and did nothing to earn their position).

And more and more we are “privatizing” vital services, taking the power away from the public and transferring it to those for whom only the profit motive matters. And so we have come to depend more and more on the charity of individuals who work hard to help those they see are in need. But that is a “finger in the dike operation” – for every leak in the social fabric that opens up, several new ones appear. We cannot continue very long to depend on the kindness of strangers and, while we teach our children compassion, sharing and kindness, it is not enough.

It has been written that we have the best Congress money can buy – and unfortunately for too many of our elected officials on the national scene, that is true. When I came to America in 1941, there were two kinds of elected officials: the politicians and the statesmen. It is not too hard to tell who is what. We know who are the real public servants and who is in it for power and money.

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Is it not time to really get the devotees of the Golden Calf out of our government?

Go, Worcester DA Joe Early Jr., go!

By Rosalie Tirella

Rose, yesterday, heading out to walk her pups Jett and Lilac.

I met Worcester District Attorney Joe Early Jr. 10 years ago – at the Flagg Street School playground. I was walking my dog, Jett. He was planting sunflowers! For the little kids at the school. He told me his children were students there, and he wanted to help with the beautification project. Early seemed like a good man, a great dad. Former City Councilor Barb Haller once told me: Joe does a lot for the city’s kids – supports sports programs and more.

So, Early does the right thing. He’s been there for Worcester’s youth – for decades. Drops the charges against the Clark University students at this past summer’s Black Lives Matter rally in Main South. … he’s not the bully that the Worcester Police Department, a department often accused of racism and insensitivity to the Black community, hoped for. Early understood the moment. This moment in America.

The WPD cops – a vindictive, sometimes brutal bunch – don’t understand the changes that are happening in America, in Worcester. Early is Woke. The WPD cops are Asleep.

So …they are punishing Early for his refusal to back their over-reaction to the Worcester BLM march last summer – the one where one WPD cop threw a tiny young woman to the ground and another cop name called another student. Cell phones were smashed. Kids terrorized. The cops came in riot gear, with guns…the Clarkie nerds came with their apple cell phones and youthful idealism – and stupidity. The cops came down hard on the ignorant kids. One Clarkie grad student hid in the bushes, terrified. She was recording HER FEELINGS AND BEING FULL OF BRAVADO – right outside her apartment! She sounded more silly than menacing.

So now it is this for our DA, from WPD Chief Steve Sargent and the WPD: We’ll trash you, destroy you, Joe Early. Not one vote. Not one penny will you get from us.


Shame on the WPD cops for being the vindictive toughs so many of us in Worcester know them to be. Shame on the Worcester cops for forgetting DA Joe Early Jr. is a good man who has backed them for years but this time sided with the kids and Black people. And HISTORY.

Now the cops are doing to Early what they’ve done to so many Worcesterites through the years – get mean, play dirty and strong-arm.

Forty years ago, President Reagan was shot, and therein hangs a dog’s “tale”

By Ingrid Newkirk


Forty years ago, on March 30, 1981, President Ronald Reagan was shot outside the Washington Hilton. So was James Brady, who later died as a result of his wounds, and two others: Secret Service officer Tim McCarthy and D.C. police officer Thomas Delahanty. With Officer Delahanty was a dog named Kirk.

Security was lax in those days. Just minutes before the shooting, my dog, Ms. Bea, and I had been directly across the street from that now infamous archway, visiting the Cafritz building, but my connection to the event was even closer than that. Not only was Kirk named after me, I was also responsible for his presence at the site.

Kirk was a handsome German shepherd. I knew him well because I was poundmaster of what was then the D.C. “dog pound,” which is where Kirk — called “King” then but not treated like one — had ended up. His owners had pushed him through the door and signed a form and were gone. In those days, we took in a lot of German shepherds. Working with the head of the Metropolitan Police Department’s K-9 unit, I instituted a program to save the lives of some of those who had been thrown away as if they were inanimate objects or who were unclaimed strays. The dogs were put through their paces, tested for temperament, and, if they passed the tests, went on to have a new, working life with the police.

There were three reasons I cherished that program: First, it gave those otherwise unadoptable dogs a second chance at life, as many had been so mistreated by their owners that they were deemed too aggressive to go into private homes. Second, Metropolitan Police dogs weren’t kept warehoused like mere equipment, kept in a cage somewhere, as some police dogs are; they all lived at home with their officer families and were considered fellow officers who did much the same work as their human partners. Third, the Washington Humane Society/SPCA was a place often frequented by K-9 officers, who provided a presence that protected the staff from human beings who could be far more aggressive than any dogs sheltered there, and in getting to know them, we learned that they loved their dogs too much to risk their lives. To a man (and they were all men back then), they would rather wait it out than send a dog into a situation too dangerous for them to go into themselves.

After the shooting, Office Delahanty retired on disability, and Kirk retired with him. There was a retirement party at the family home, and other officers took their dogs to it. It was supposed to be a somewhat melancholy occasion, but I remember everyone watching and laughing as the dogs jumped into the swimming pool in the backyard over and over again, chasing each other and having a whale of a time.

These days, the “pound” is an animal shelter, and the dog of the day — discarded, battered, bruised and sorely used — is no longer the German shepherd, but the pit bull, the most abused dog in the land. There are other lonely dogs there, too, as there are in all the shelters in the U.S., indeed around the world. Many were casually purchased from pet stores or breeders then equally casually discarded, which is why PETA has a campaign called “Adopt, don’t shop.”

It may be an unusual way to commemorate what took place 40 years ago, but there has never been a better time to do so by taking in a homeless dog—giving love and understanding, patience and a family, to someone who needs you. Breeders and pet stores contribute to the crisis of animal overpopulation and casual abandonment, but fostering or adopting a dog in memory of Kirk and Officer Delahanty would be a lovely way to chip away at it.