Thursday, June 18, 2015

Walking Into My Fear

My mind wanders all over the place when I think about volunteering at an animal shelter.  From ~ what could be more fun that spending a couple of hours a week playing with cats 

and dogs

and bears?

Well, maybe not bears.

Then it goes over to the dark side. Like what if I show up one Tuesday morning and my favorite cat, Pearl, isn't there. Nowhere in site. And it is not because she got adopted...  

That's the part that is scaring me the most. The loss, the tears, the frustration that a perfectly good animal dies. I leave one day with a snuggle and a wave to a sweet little fur-ball and when I come back the next time - gone. Never to be seen again.

A wise friend (who does a lot of animal welfare work and animal shelter volunteering) told me, "Yes, it's horrible to know they don't all survive. But think about this - you gave that cat/dog a few hours of happiness and fun and love that they wouldn't have otherwise had." My friend, Yukari, has held many a shelter cat/dog as they draw their last breath because she wants them to feel the loving embrace of a human's arms as they leave this plane. She is much braver than I...  These words ease the painful thoughts a little but I know there will be buckets and barrels of tears shed as I go thru this journey.

I read an article recently that some Veterinarians and shelter workers suffer from depression - some so severe they commit suicide. It was something I had never considered. As a pet owner I know how hard it is to "put a pet down" but I never thought about it from the other side. These are people who devote their lives to animals. Even if they don't know the animal - it is never easy to see an animal die. When they do know the animal it is even harder. They become attached to their patients/shelter animals, too. I can tell you that our beloved Veterinarians hugged us and cried with us when we said goodbye to our little guys. I hope they know how comforting that was and how much solace it gave us.

So I'm taking this step - this step into fear and the unknown - to honor the caretakers as well. I could never do what they do day in and day out. I admire and respect them so much. If they can do this every day I can give a couple of hours a week to give an animal joy.

I am walking into my fear.  I'm opening that door, stepping over the threshold, taking a deep breath, holding my friend's hand and changing my life forever. Without challenge there is no growth, no reward and no enriching life experience.  Here we go...

How lucky I am to know I will be coming home to these two monkeys - rescue dogs themselves - and knowing they aren't going anywhere any time soon. Granted they are both 7 years old (they were 6 when we adopted them) but with all the love, training, healthy food and exercise they get - they'll be here for a long, long time. Despite their concern...

You are coming back, right?

Please come home. Preferably without another dog. Like Koko.

(*explanation* Kizzie came first and was -  still is - a little jealous of Koko. 
They aren't exactly best buddies, 
but we know they would miss one another if the other was gone. 
Kizzie just has to be sure her Alpha Dog crown doesn't slip too much.)

It's nice to be loved. Y Even better to be double loved. YY

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