As we celebrate the third annual issue of The Valley Reporter Goes to the Dogs, we’re grateful, of course, for the unconditional love our canine companions shower us with.

We’re profoundly grateful to live in a community where dogs are not just tolerated, they’re encouraged, accepted and celebrated. Dogs can be found in offices and workplaces from one end of The Valley to the other and at the farmers’ market and on the roads and rec trails and at our local swim holes.

As a result of our community being one that welcomes and celebrates dogs with such enthusiasm, when a dog goes missing, the response from the community is immediate. Dog wardens and animal control officers, concerned neighbors and volunteers start looking. Social media is abuzz.

Remember Mist, the harlequin Great Dane who jumped out a window over the Fourth of July spooked by fireworks and gunfire? Mist had arrived in The Valley from Florida the day before she fled from noise. The response was immediate. Spottings were called in and posted online during her five-day absence. The fact that she was missing was announced several times at the farmers’ market.

(She was found and visited our offices with her two Great Dane siblings later that month. It was an epic visit.)

Beyond community members who care about their own and each other’s dogs, we’re grateful to have two full-service veterinary practices in The Valley with experienced and dedicated professionals taking care of our four-legged companions.

We’re lucky to have PAWSitive Pantry based in The Valley and dedicated to making sure no families have to surrender their pets due the inability to feed them. PAWSitive Pantry turns 10 this year and continues its work to raise funds and food for pets in Vermont.

We’re overwhelmed with respect and gratitude for the people who manage the dog rescue For the Love of Dogs Vermont. They are true heroes and heroines for how hard they work to bring dogs needing homes to Central Vermont and how dedicated their volunteers and those who foster are. They’re doing yeoman’s work and we appreciate it.

And to all of you who shared pics and stories of your dogs, thanks for opening your hearts. You can tell a lot about someone by how they treat their own and other’s dogs.