PORT ANGELES — Port Angeles High School teacher Peter Rennie has won $1,000 for the Olympic Peninsula Humane Society with his entry into the Petco Foundation’s Holiday Wishes contest.
A people’s choice portion of the contest could add another $25,000 to that.
And at 1 p.m. Saturday, the Olympic Peninsula Humane Society (OPHS) and the Petco Foundation will host a celebration at the Sequim Petco, 1205 W. Washington St., to honor Rennie for his contribution to the Humane Society.
The public is invited to bring their pets for the presentation of the $1,000 award and to take photos with Santa for a $9.95 donation benefiting OPHS.
In his contest entry, Rennie told how adopting a three-legged boxer named Tripp helped him and his dog Oscar overcome their sense of loss after the death of their canine companion, Baxter.
“My energy plummeted and my students suffered,” Rennie said, according to a press release.
“Essays went unread, tests ungraded; nothing was going right. I was often late to work and couldn’t wait to get home. My students and friends noticed, but didn’t know what to say.
“Oscar’s depression was even worse. His appetite and energy level fell, but most disturbing were his lonely, ear-shattering night howls. They were frightening and heartbreaking.”
A former student working in a local veterinary clinic where Rennie took his dogs for care contacted him about a boxer puppy with a severely broken leg that had been surrendered to OPHS.
The puppy needed surgery and a home. After surgery, the puppy’s growth plates didn’t mend properly and another surgery was required to remove the unresponsive leg that merely dangled in place.
OPHS staff cared for the puppy by day and employee Angel O’Neil cared for the puppy at home at night. Eventually, the now three-legged dog healed, the press release said.
Rennie took him home and he and Oscar improved as well.
“The impact on me was dramatic,” Rennie said. “My energy level returned. … Joy for my classroom returned. … The three of us became fixtures at the school’s tennis matches, fast pitch games and track meets. Everyone wanted to meet this three-legged wonder-dog that made my family a threesome.”
Tripp’s name comes from Rennie’s love of baseball and coveted triple plays.
“He is a great example of how determination helped overcome a disability,” Rennie said.
Tripp, in a newly outfitted wheelchair, now accompanies Rennie while he speaks to student gatherings about disabilities and finding love and compassion for all, the press release said.
For more information about OPHS, call 360-457-8206 or visit www.ophumanesociety.org. The shelter is at 1743 Old Olympic Highway.
The hours are from 11 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Mondays and Tuesdays, and Thursdays through Saturdays. It is closed Wednesdays and Sundays.
For more about the Petco Foundation, visit petcofoundation.org.