If there is a man more dedicated to animals in the Greater New Bedford Area than Emanuel Maciel, I'd like to meet him. I don't believe such a person exists.

Manny Maciel, New Bedford's Animal Control Officer, is our very own Dr. Dolittle.

Before Dr. Dolittle goes the way of Pepe Le Pew and Aunt Jemima, you may want to introduce the kids to him. Dr. John Dolittle was the subject of a series of children's books originating in the 1920s. They told the story of a physician who treats only animals and can speak their individual languages. He bonds with them. Rex Harrison offered a fabulous performance as our hero in the 1967 film Dr. Dolittle.

The Eddie Murphy remake in 1998? Eh, not so much.

Manny Maciel, like Dr. Dolittle, has found a way to communicate with animals. He is not only an advocate for them, but he connects with them. His dedication and commitment to our voiceless four-legged friends are beyond amazing. It is certainly beyond the call of duty.

Maciel has used his own time and money to assist animals in need all over the globe. He has gone to the scene of natural disasters to aid animals. He raised donations and used vacation time to travel to Ukraine to help dogs impacted by the Chernobyl nuclear crisis.

It came as no surprise then to hear how Maciel sprung into action when a devastating fire on County Street Sunday claimed the lives of 34 cats. Maciel led the rescue and resuscitation of 24 other cats that had become stranded in the two-story house. He said it was the “largest amount of pets treated and transported from a structure fire.”

Manny Maciel is a kind and loving human being. His kindness and love extend beyond the human race to the animal kingdom. He truly is a friend to animals. He is New Bedford's own Dr. Dolittle.

Nice job, Manny.

Barry Richard is the host of The Barry Richard Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from noon to 3 p.m. Contact him at barry@wbsm.com and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

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