Apr 7, 2010

Oh, Errant Blogger

My goodness, not the same spending most of my days at the shelter. The tears still come, especially when I think of Pepper, and days go by as I wonder who is taking out whom to the shelter park. The pictures of the kennels and the runs are in my head, not all the time, mind you, but I don’t even know the dogs who occupy those kennels. I’m not in the thick of things. But yes, I truly need this away time. Those pesky tears just out themselves without warning.

I know that they are being well cared for. The volunteers, bless them one and all, keep in touch and send photos, and our GADAB shelter ops director, bless her, keeps things running as smoothly as possible. I miss my co-workers, I miss a lot. The little joys. The big joys. The camaraderie. I miss talking and laughing and commiserating with those who understand how life in a shelter is. No one else knows the bittersweet of the day-to-day complexities, and it’s not just taking out dogs, or spending time with those who can never leave their cage, or filling kongs.

  It’s endlessly looking for kongs to fill, or the sudden need for a clean blanket so the puppies won’t step in their own poop, the rush to prepare a kennel for an incoming dog, up and down the concrete stairs countless times a day to get something special that you just thought of that would be perfect for a sweet old dog, or to find a sheet to cover one-half of the front of a kennel so a fearful dog can have some visual protection from any passer-by.

What is it? Why do we do it? Where does the compassion come from? Some say that compassion comes from our own hurt. Part of that is true for many of us, and having found a way to address that which cannot be expressed, except in this particular way, in this particular place, is what it is.

So vital that we find joy in what we do. And we do. Plenty of sorrow and anger, no doubt about that, but to keep sight of any light at the end of the tunnel is a must. To think that there will be more resources, there will be more volunteers, there will be more kongs, and more people to stuff them might sound a bit bright and cheery and unrealistic, but if you don’t put it out there, then what? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. Ideas for enrichment, simple things, no-brainers - keep on coming, but how to implement them? Keep your eyes on those prizes. We are. Sustainability and strategic planning have become part of my vocabulary. We’ve got some good people, but it’s gonna take some time.

We will have the time that we need to care for the endless animals coming into the shelter. We will encounter many loving animal guardians, and moving along towards an end goal, there will be education. It’s only education that will stop the cycle. And you. You and I know that it comes down to all of us.

None of this will be a dream if you practice compassion. Times are tough for all, and this is not a plea, but an optimistic wake-up call. We still need your help. Give a little, or if you have a lot, give more. For those of you who already wear that hat, hats off to all of you.     

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