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- Posted on May 16th 2011 4:00PM by Lonny Knapp
AP Photo, Mark Humphrey
You might say her music is for the dogs.
Her latest disc, 'Hard Bargain,' features the track 'Big Black Dog.' On the surface, it's the most lighthearted cut on the album; it lopes along with the slobbering sincerity of a golden lab, but according to Harris the song deals with a serious subject.
"Even though it's a personal song about my dog Bella, and what an extraordinary creature she is, it's also an opportunity to talk about homeless dogs and, with any luck, galvanize people into taking action," she tells Spinner.
It's not just hot air. Harris is so sincere about the cause that she opens her home to stray and rescued dogs.
"I have a little dog rescue in my back yard," she says.
That "little" rescue is called Bonaparte's Retreat. Founded in 2004, and named after one of Harris' special canine companions, the retreat rescues dogs from high-kill shelters and finds them homes with foster families. It's a second chance for dogs slated for euthaniziation.
Through cooperation with community, the initiative has saved a number of dogs from an untimely death, but in America, where million of animals are euthanized each year, Harris realizes her efforts do little to solve the underlying problem.
"It's heartbreaking work, because you are aware at all time of the ones you can't save. But that can't stop you from saving the ones you can," she says. "It's a small drop in the bucket, but if we save one dog, it's something."
Like Bob Barker, the former host of the long-running television game show 'The Price is Right,' Harris never misses an opportunity to remind people to spay and neuter their pets.
But as long as people continue to drop off unwanted pets at the pound with the nonchalance reserved for returning an ill-fitting pair of jeans to a department store, perfectly healthy animals will be put to death. Harris feels the only way to stem the problem is through education and she's happy to beat the drum.
"People aren't evil, it's just that they are uneducated. It's really a tragedy that perfectly healthy animals are put down to make room for an endless supply of stray and unwanted pets. That's the soap box that I am on and it's something I am very passionate about."