November 14, 2013

#ThankfulThursdays: Bless The Beasts And The Children

Last week, I said we'd be serving a meal at our local shelter. And we still will be doing that--only we'll do it this week. I just looked at my calendar wrong. When I discovered that, I mentioned to The Daughters that I was off a week and wondered what we could do for #ThankfulThursdays this week.

Daughter 1 quickly piped up and suggested we go to volunteer orientation at the SPCA.  She'd been once before and loved it. Daughter 2 squealed with delight at the thought of getting to play with the kittens all day long. I was less enthused. I love animals. I do. I just love my own animals. And I've got a very soft heart, and I had visions of Brian leaving me and the thirty dogs I brought home with me on the side of a dirt road.

Nonetheless, I signed us up to be trained on Saturday, and we headed out. After training, Daughter 2 had to go to softball practice, but Daughter 1 and I returned to the shelter that afternoon.

What you have to understand about Daughter 1 is this: She's a socially anxious child. Being around people, new situations, different situations, changes in routine--these all make her very anxious. This anxiety results in angry outburst, disrespectful tones and passive aggressive behaviors. But, when she's around animals ... She's a different girl. She knows that when she loves on an animal, that love will be returned. There's security for her in that. During the time we spent at the shelter, the anxiety that is almost ever-present within my child? It was licked off of her face by a very excited doggy.

We decided to each take a dog out to exercise. When I ended up locked in the cage with the leash around my ankle, I decided to just help Daughter 1 with her doggie. We exercised him, we played with him, we loved on him, and he loved on us right back.

As we walked through the very loud kennels selecting which dogs we'd socialize, I'd read their profiles. I was saddened by how many of them read "owner surrender." I know that there are circumstances under which owners can no longer care for animals. But I'm also realistic and know that a lot of times the animals are sad castaways when they are no longer fun or cute or just get in the way. You can't claim to value life if you don't value all life.

So, for #ThankfulThursdays, think about the way you can help the voiceless animals in your society. You don't necessarily have to volunteer your time--but I can tell you this much: You will be changed.

Most shelters run off of grants and donations, receiving very little if any government funding. You could donate money.

Most shelters always have a wants or a needs list. This can include anything from food, paper towels, litter, snacks, plastic Hellmart sacks, sheets ... If you ask them, they'll tell you what they need most.

What can you do on this #ThankfulThursdays to help the voiceless beasts of the world?


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