Volunteering at the dog shelter has been occupying way too much time as of late. I’ve been scratched and nipped, I have felt uncomfortable, sad, angered, frustrated… but I also have felt love, hope, joy, excitement, and happiness. Cleaning up dog excrement may be far from glamorous… but it is completely honest. Opening gates and leashing dogs you don’t know or trust can be nerve wracking the first times you do it, but if no one walks the dogs, what chance to they have of not going mad, or finding homes? Heck, even most of America’s most hardened, incarcerated, criminals get an hour of yard time a day, and most of the dogs at the shelter did nothing wrong, they just happened to get lost, misunderstood, old, under-trained, or circumstances changed in their owner’s lives that forced them to give them up…
When I volunteered yesterday, I was delighted to have received a thank you note and picture of two elderly dogs that found a new home a few weeks back… I was also elated to have a terrified dog want to spend time with me (in her kennel) wagging her tail the whole time… I was overjoyed to see video of a dog that was too scared to come out of her kennel walking around and moving freely in the yard after one of the key volunteers carried her there.
It really is a tragedy that so many shitty people are in the public spotlight, humans who are the furthest thing from positive role models in my opinion. Most of the time doing “good” work is thankless. At the shelter, 95% of the time we never hear from the people that we help or see pictures of the happy dogs in their new homes. [Though maybe I’ll start implementing a new idea I just came up with… creating fantasies of receiving letters and pictures directly from dogs who I feel like I may have helped improve their lives while at the shelter or by finding them a new home.]
We all matter. Everyone. All creatures are part of the greater WE. I grew up being told that WE are all God’s creatures, and that we should treat others the way WE would like to be treated. WE should treat others the way WE would want others to treat OUR mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, children, friends, or pets. Have I failed at this at times? Unquestionably yes, but we/I are/am flawed, and today and tomorrow are new opportunities for all of us to become better.
Regardless of whether or not WE receive thank you notes, WE can all choose to make a positive difference, to matter, WE can choose to help, to improve the lives of people in and out of our communities, or animals, whether it is when WE are being paid to do jobs, when WE are volunteering, or even when WE are just walking down the street.
It really does cost nothing to be kind and decent, but it really is worth so much. Thank YOU for every selfless, positive, and amazing thing you have done in the past, that you do today, and that you choose to do tomorrow.
– Quiche Out