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Towne Salute: Bill Wirth of Talbot Humane

Jun 22, 2016 01:07PM ● By Cate Reynolds
By Becca Newell

Man’s best friend isn’t exactly known for their fondness of postal workers—according to comic strips and cartoons, at least—yet that didn’t stop the unlikely friendship forming between retiree Bill Wirth and an assortment of pooches at Talbot Humane in Easton.

After a 25-year stint as an electronic technician at the Easton Post Office, Wirth decided to take up dog-walking at the nonprofit organization to occupy his newfound free time. Little did he know just how much fun it would be.

“I’m having the time of my life,” he says, as an adoptable pooch, Georgia, jumps up on the couch next to him. “Look at her, sitting here? Being here makes you feel better. And them, too. I’m really enjoying it.”

Wirth’s volunteer efforts aren’t solely limited to his time on-site; he and his wife, Ruth, frequently offer their home as a foster site for those up for adoption. He says his reasoning for taking that extra step to help is simply to benefit the animals—particularly those that find themselves in the shelter for a longer period of time.

“It gets them out of the kennel for a couple of days during the week,” he says. “I feel sorry for them.”

After striking up such a close relationship with many of the adoptables, Wirth admits it’s bittersweet seeing them find a forever home.

“You’re so happy for the dog, but some of them really grow on you,” he says, before referencing Doug, a recently adopted Golden Retriever. “I miss Doug, but the people that have adopted him, I know he’s going to fit in really well there.”

As for Georgia, she’s been up for adoption since St. Patrick’s Day, Wirth says. The four-year-old English Setter hasn’t yet spent any time at Wirth’s house (he’s currently looking after his “grand-dog”—his daughter’s Pit Bull, Grace), but with his reputation preceding him, it wouldn’t be surprising if that changes sometime soon.

A self-described “mutt guy,” Wirth adds another reason to the relatively long list of why he loves Talbot Humane (and fostering dogs): spending time with a variety of breeds he otherwise would never have encountered.

“I’ve [fostered] a Bull dog, English pointer, and Jack Russel Terrier … and other mixes of breeds,” he says. “You get as much out of it as the dogs do. More, actually.”

Prior to his dog-walking days at the nonprofit, Wirth would regularly run on the treadmill. Nowadays, he happily spends his runs outside with any shelter pups in need of a little exercise. Wirth—along with fellow volunteer, Karen—refers to his time with the animals as a form of therapy.

“You can just let any stress or thoughts drift away,” he says. “It’s a great break.”

That mentality is similar to how Wirth describes the environment at the organization: hard-working and dedicated, yet extremely laid back.

“If you can give an hour a week, it helps,” he says, adding that the opportunities don’t end with the dogs; there are plenty of felines in need, too.

And though he is clearly a dog-lover, Wirth can’t refuse petting a cat or two whenever he walks by their cages. Once you start petting one, another soon shows up to get in on the action, he explains, with a laugh.

“And then you’ve got another cat next to him and then another,” he says. “It’s hilarious here. The pets are just hilarious.”

For more information, visit talbothumane.org.

Do you have a volunteer to nominate? Email Becca Newell at Bnewell@WhatsUpMag.com