Facebook testimonies of some of our volunteers. Some who have not so long ago joined our ranks and others who have been with us for longer. Regardless, I’m near tears. Gleeful, happy tears! For no other reason than that each of them is expressing sentiment that I know will bind them to the cause of homeless animals forever! They’ve caught the bug or moreover, in opening themselves up to the possibility of pain and joy in working with homeless animals in and about our shelter, they have learned the secret to happiness. The secret of finding purpose in doing something that matters. And importantly, that the joy far outweighs the pain!
I’m overjoyed for us and our animals as the addition of people who have allowed themselves to try, will never forget the feeling of the unconditional love of these animals that someone didn’t want, that someone dumped out of inconvenience, or that someone just didn’t love. Whether in our shelter or another or wherever their lives may take them, they have discovered that part of their heart and soul is meant to do this work that is bound by the love of those that were once considered undeserving of such compassion. The animals will be blessed by their efforts in countless ways over all the years to come.
I can’t help myself but feel elated for those that have discovered the gift! As I know their lives have been changed as much as those animal lives they will touch! They won’t be the same. They will grow in tolerance of the ridiculous as it no longer matters so much when each day you are doing something that truly matters. They’ll ignore daily annoyances that before would have eaten away at them because each day, they will save that fretful energy for something much more deserving. Something like walking a dog that is trapped in a cage most of their day. Or playing ball with a dog that just craves such action. Or cuddling a cat that reaches for them between the bars of their cage. They won’t waste their energy on such meaningless, useless trivialities. It’s not worthy of them.
But our animals are. All animals are! And I know they have realize it through their excitement to help these animals. Through the excitement over the wagging tail of the scared dog that arrived just a few days earlier. The same dog that just days ago was cowering in their kennel or walking anxiously with that same tail plastered underneath them in panic. Through the pride they’ll feel as they see their “favorite” making progress, learning new things that will make them even more adoptable. They’ll enjoy the sense of relief as the cat once hiding in its litter box, one day greets them with the outreached paw and a fearless purr. And they’ll cry as that same dog or cat finds their forever home and heads out the door in the arms of their new family.
As I write these words, I know all of this simply because I was once them. Scared, anxious and unsure that I could do what this world might ask of me. Uncertain if I had the capacity to be so brave or so tolerant of what certainly must be sadness and despair in the world of unwanted, homeless animals. I’ve been each of them and I still am in many ways. The only difference is that I’ve now had the benefit of years of knowing the truth. That it takes no bravery to love these animals. Only an open heart.
Congratulations to all of you that opened yours and have found or will find that your heart will not be broken but will instead overflow with unconditional love.