A brave woman, a little dog and a great lesson

There’s a reason why I watch HGTV and the Food Network.  I don’t like bad news.  But I watched the news after the Oklahoma tornado this week and wow, was that ever difficult.  Through tears I watched as a mother retold of not knowing if her two young children were dead or alive in a day care center after the devastating tornado tore through her town.  It was heart wrenching and left me emotionally drained as I sat all comfy cozy in my still standing house with all of my animals safe around me and my neighbors still in tact too.  I felt guilty and sick to my stomach all at the same time.  Even after learning of the happy ending of the mom and her children, I was angry.

Angry at myself because I’d spent most of that same day complaining about nothing.  Obviously any grievance that I have about anything in my life is just nonsense and I vowed not to allow myself to slip down that slope of negativity ever again.

Why is it so easy to let the positives get clouded by the negatives?  And I like to claim I’m a half-full kinda gal.  I’ve made a concerted effort to surround myself with like-minded people, forgo relationships with those that are prone to negativity and look for the silver lining as much as possible.  And while working with homeless animals provides ample opportunity to see both the very worst and the best and it’s up to me to decide which to wallow around in.

As if someone knew that I hadn’t learned enough, it was another Oklahoma story that drove it the rest of the way home.  If you didn’t see the video from CBS News of the elderly woman, Barbara Garcia, who while being interviewed found her dog underneath the rubble of what I assume was the remains of her home, you should.    During the actual interview, Ms. Garcia did not express the slightest concern about the loss of her home and in fact, in what I found to be a slightly humorous moment, she referred to what had happened as “life in the big city”. 

Continuously during the interview she turned away from the camera obviously searching for something as she recounted her experience. She talked about sitting with her little dog on her lap as the tornado hit and then afterwards found herself alone.  Seconds later you can hear someone say “dog” and the camera moves to a pile of debris near her feet where sure enough there is her beloved little dog’s nose peeking out.   Soon he would be free and back with his owner who somehow managed to utter words of thanks and confessed that she had two prayers….that she would be okay and that her dog would be too.  I sobbed enthusiastically.

How understandable it would have been for her to focus on all that was lost and be blind to what remained.  I know I would have been frantic to find my pet(s) as I’m sure most of us would be but I’m certain I would have been overwhelmed by the loss of seemingly everything else.  And no one would be critical of this natural reaction.  But this Oklahoma woman maintained a relatively calm perspective that surely would  have alluded me entirely if I were faced with the same. 

I so need to work on maintaining perspective.

Just like I’ll need as the summer comes and with it the certain gift of hundreds of unwanted animals.  June’s always our highest intake month of the year with over 450 animals last year.  And July is not much better.  However, the positive side of that picture is that in 2008 the June intake was over 600.  The 450 may sound awful but its better than it was!

The shelter is already being inundated with kittens… receiving litters daily now and my guest rooms and bathroom are full of tiny little furry guests.  101_8894

And the puppies are coming too!  Next will be the start of summer rush to get rid of pets before vacations begin.  Yep, this actually happens with frequency and predictability.  Assuredly the day before a long weekend or holiday brings on the mass surrendering of animals.  Coincidence?  I don’t think so.

How easy it would be to sink into anger and bitterness at those that allow their animals to run loose and unaltered.  Who would fault me for being frustrated by the callousness of those that will dispose of their pets rather than arrange for boarding or home care?

But in the effort to maintain perspective and a more positive attitude, we should be glad that these babies weren’t dumped along the side of a dirt road and left to fend for themselves.  Fortunately they’re not dying slow painful deaths or being picked off one by one by hawks or coyotes. 

We should be thankful that someone thought enough to call us about the 9 puppies 101_8859that I have the pleasure of fostering when they were found motherless.  I’m actually thrilled that they didn’t try to give them away in front of Wal-Mart to strangers who had no intention of getting a puppy as they went for milk and Cheerios.  The same strangers, who would very likely be looking for a way to get rid of this same puppy soon enough when the reality of their impulse acquisition set in.

It would be easy to be jaded by people who hit an animal with their car and just keep on driving as if nothing had happened.  And absolutely they do piss me off royally.  Sorry but they do.  But I’d rather focus on those that do get involved in a positive way, like the Vienna Policeman who recently stopped traffic on Grand Central when a dog was hit by a motorist and the other drivers who stopped their cars and helped get the dog to safety. Kudos to you all!

Getting involved isn’t inconveninet…it’s an opportunity.  There is no way that those who involved themselves in helping that dog didn’t walk away feeling better about themselves for doing so. 

Who knows how long it will take for me to backslide again into the world of “I can’t” and complaining about nonsense when I have so much positive around me if I just remain open to it.  But I sure am going to try to remember Barbara Garcia as she  stood in the middle of what had been her home and her neighborhood, where nothing but rubble could be seen for miles and yet she seemed blind to the devastation.  In all the despair that she could have chosen to envelope herself in, all I saw was her love and concern for that dear little dog that would soon come wiggling out from under the wreckage and back into her arms. 

I sure hope I don’t have to be hit by a tornado to be equally appreciative.

This ones for you Barbara Garcia!



Categories: Feel Good

4 replies

  1. What a great post, as usual! Thank you!

  2. always love your stories. My bathroom is full of kittens as well and Foster dog 58 left last Saturday. Almost one week without a foster dog, sigh. Not because their isn’t any who need me, just that I felt selfish or burn out or something and said give me one week.

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