I’ll just ignore them as they wander through my neighborhood. Hopefully they’ll just keep on passing through and won’t linger in my yard. As I catch them out of the corner of my eye when I drive, I think it’s too late for me to stop. And what are the chances they will let me catch them anyway? They seem to know where they are heading. Someone else will stop and help them. And I have so many other things to do. I have to be somewhere at some time and stopping to help them will make me late. And last but certainly not least, what am I going to do with them if I can catch them?
Sound familiar? Sure it does. Even I have had those thoughts upon seeing the stray dog crossing my path. It’s happened more times than I can recall and surely there were times when I just kept going about my business. I was too busy. Too preoccupied with my life. I don’t know, something kept me from stopping to help when I should have. Because I always knew I should have! Always!
Those days are past of course. Helping animals…both before and after they arrive at our shelter is now as much a part of my life as any job, family, friends, etc. But there’s nothing special about me. I’m not trained or have any special skill or have any special tools that make catching stray animals any easier for me than you. Well, unless I have a Sam’s rotisserie chicken in my SUV. That’s the ticket for catching even the wariest of strays.
I’m writing this blog just minutes after reading the post from the woman whose day today was certainly disrupted by having two Labradors wander into her world. Just weeks before Christmas, I imagine that helping lost dogs wasn’t on her schedule. In her plans. And likely inconvenient during this busy time of year. And yet she took them in, kept them safe, shared with the Facebook world their presence and a two hours later they were reunited with their family! I’m absolutely positive that no one is happier than she is, with the exception of the dogs and their owners, to have had this inconvenience today. As she now knows the incredible satisfaction of helping animals find their way back home is. It is without a doubt the best feeling in the rescue world there is. Followed closely by finding great adopters for animals…but reuniting a pet with their loving and appreciative owner is fantastic! And far overshadows any inconvenience they might bring with them.
And yet I can’t tell you how often people call me to tell me about a stray animal they’ve seen and do so expecting me to come to the rescue. As if I have some special talent that they themselves do not. If it’s a talent, it’s the talent of caring and not being deterred by a shy, evasive, dirty, stinky, “I don’t want to be caught right now” dog. It’s just about caring enough to try.
And caring enough to allow yourself to be inconvenienced.
Maybe I do have something special. The motivation of the memory of a day over 13 years ago when I stopped for a stray dog on my way to work. A dog that changed my life. A dog that enhanced every day he was a part of after. A dog named Tag. And when I think what might have been had I not stopped, just the mere thought of it, hurts my heart.
So barring a life threatening emergency of some desperate need for someone in my life, I will always hit the pause button of my life to help another animal. Nothing in my life is so important I don’t have time to help. How about yours?