The People of EES: Saving Lives, One Paw at a Time

Posted by Daniel F Luna, P. E. on Mar 31, 2023 12:01:19 PM

Ashrae (2)Get to Know Vice-President of Engineering Dan Luna and his a passion for animal rescue

My family, like many of you, has seen those famous ASPCA ads that play the Sarah McLachlan song over clips with the dogs freezing next to an empty wooden wire spool with snow blowing down on them.  Instead of sending in the $19/month, just 63 cents a day, we adopted a new pet.  It may cost a lot more, but made a real difference in one animal’s life.  My philosophy is that you can’t save every starfish, but you can save this one.

This makes 4 dogs and 6 guinea pigs that we as a family have rescued.  Each has made a difference in both our lives and theirs.
Our most recent adoption was “Lexington”.  A 2-1/2-year-old “lab mix”.  In reality, we are sure he is 1-1/2 years old and mostly black pit bull.  We found him to be so playful and goofy that we changed his name to “Pepper”, because Lexington was just too formal for his antics.

EES pepperEES pepper 2In his mind, Pepper is a 12-pound lap dog.  He lands on you with 75 pounds of enthusiasm.  He’s friendly and has particular interest in cats, deer, squirrels, cars, people, dogs, rubber balls, and unidentified sounds.  The UPS driver is one of his best friends.  Pepper is also very smart.  He’s a regular Harry Houdini: he managed to escape from his crate, open the basement door (no scratches on the wood, mind you), and find (only) dog toys from our previous dog.  He then hid the items throughout the house for later retrieval when he wanted them.

Before Pepper, we rescued three other dogs named Liam, Artemis, and Murray.  Artemis got named when we went through the liquor store after adopting him and finding a bottle of wine of the same name. Liam was a dog the rescue was having a hard time placing because he had some medical problems, possibly a brain tumor.  

EES ArtemisMurray was named after the dog from “Mad About You”, and, yes, we did hear that “pathetic furry thud” as he bounced in to things. Murray was a golden retriever, but the only gold he retrieved was for the vet. Murray was originally from a breeder. A pure breed. Within a year we detected very loud hip dysplasia that  clacked when he walked and went back to the breeder.  Of course, their solution was a new dog.  We humbly asked, “what happens to the old one?”  Nobody wants to hear the answer.  So we kept the old one and got a refund of our purchase price that covered the “triple pelvic osteometry” of one hip.  And so, Murray became a rescue.

When my wife became pregnant, Murray knew a couple of weeks before we did.  He was always shadowing her, always between she and I.  He used to sleep on the floor on my side of the bed, but moved to hers.  When our son was born, he was ever vigilant. I recall the day Daniel first stood up: he crawled over to the dog, grabbed his fur and pulled himself up.  The dog didn’t move, but the look on his face was, “Guys, save me…”.

We adopted Artemis as a friend for Murray.  Artemis was a bit confused and looked to Murray to decide who was acceptable to allow in to the house.  The galumphing golden retriever always allowed anyone, but Artemis needed confirmation.  

EES Murray

When Murray passed, Artemis was much more curmudgeoning as to whom he would allow in, which  is nobody.  We also have adopted at six guinea pigs. Currently, we keep them from Pepper, but they are a part of our lives as well.  It is really cool to watch them eat a stalk of parsley.  It reminds me of the movie “the lady and the tramp” where the same piece is devoured by both animals.

We have had our share of grief, as these beloved family members pass. We have a wall of remembrance where their remains are kept and we often think of them whilst we gain genuine joy from our current friends.