Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Take Time for a Do Over

 Laura posted this last year and only read it if you don't mind some tears, have tissues handy and own a dog.  I use the latter not because I think that people who don't have dogs won't get it, but because though I read it last year and it made me feel undeniably sad, I don't think it brought me to tears.  As an animal lover, I hate any and all animal injustice and believe me, I see plenty of injustices every day.  I said that because I read Laura's repost of  it tonight and cried like an idiot because now I have a dog to associate this with.  Like putting a face with a name.  I look at my Rhys and know that was his situation and would have been his situation in the end had we or someone else not fallen in love with him.  His last family gave him up because a baby was on the way.  So Rhys was the first baby but in his case, being a canine made him a throw away to these people.  And despite the fact that their ignorance was my gain, it still makes me angry when I think of the situation through the eyes of my dog.

And I see dozens of stories like his and worse every week.  Too many unwanted animals and not enough homes; not enough people to take a chance on a do-over dog but instead go to pet shops and breeders so they can start fresh with a puppy.  It isn't that I have anything against reputable breeders (and many of them are not reputable so do your homework if you are going to go this route) and the people who chose to use them, but most people do not see what I see.  They don't see the little Yorkie whose owner had landlord issues, trembling in the back of a kennel because he is terrified of all the barking and so confused as to what happened to life as he knew it.  They don't see the Chow and the Border Collie who have grown up together but due to the current economy, their owner had to give them up and due to the economy, the shelter will probably have to separate them in order to get each one adopted out.  They don't see the eager, hopeful year old pup who rushes to the front of her kennel for every person, desperate for affection and attention, or the three year old mixed breed, who passed his assessment with flying colors but two weeks later, the stress of shelter life causes him to snap and he is led from his kennel, no longer adoptable.  

These are the sad stories of shelter life.  Yes, there are happy stories too, like the purebred who went to his new home this week and as I watched him greet his new family, I teared up; both because he had been saved and also because so many others are not.

I say these things because I want people to understand my passion and for every one abandoned dog, there are five cats with the same story.  No kitten should ever have to begin and end their life in a shelter, yet it happens every day to dozens.  There will never be enough people to adopt them all, especially when so many refuse to spay and neuter.  But for every one person willing to take a chance on a shelter animal, it is one less sad story shelters everywhere have to endure.  We are all there for the love of the animals and with faith and hope that our educating the public will make a difference even to one animal.

 These faces are the reality of too many animals and too many shelter employees and volunteers.  We fight for them every day and for every person who takes a chance on an animal who desperately needs that chance, we add one more person or family to those more than willing to educate others to the joy their do over pet has brought to them.  

In many cases, we have to wonder who really rescued who.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Another Trip Around the Sun

Yesterday was my 45th birthday and it was a fantabulous day.  Unlike some, I do not need presents or a big party to make it a great birthday.  In fact, for me, yesterday was about as good as it gets.

I only last week learned that we have something called Shenandoah National Forest pretty much in our backyard.  An hour and twenty minutes from home, it is a one hundred mile drive one way through some of the most beautiful country I have ever seen on the East coast.  Breathtaking views, deer a-plenty and bear sightings as well, it was just awesome.  It was just me, The Brit, the kids and my dog, but it was a damn near perfect day.  The humidity here at home has been rough the last week but in the mountains, the temps dropped to the mid-seventies, so it was windows down, fresh mountain air blowing through the hair and breathing in the smells of nature.  

We drove the whole Skyline Drive, which is 100 miles and that took us to about 4:00.  Well, we had lunch and the boys and I hiked six tenths of a mile down to a waterfall (and then all uphill on the way back but I did it and felt great for the experience).  So at 4:00, we elected that instead of grabbing the highway home, we would just turn around and drive the Skyline Drive back.  As twilight descended, even more wildlife ventured out, and our ride back was full of deer sighting; does and fawns and even some young bucks with velvet still covering their antlers, as well as an additional black bear sighting.

It was beautiful and breathtaking and we are doing it again in two weeks and are also planning a tour in the fall when the leaves are brilliant colors.

Don't give me cities.  My preference is always nature.   Beautiful and peaceful it makes me wonder how anyone can doubt the existence of God (and that is not a call for snarky remarks.  I don't bash anyone else's beliefs, so leave mine the hell alone) when I am watching a sky change colors after a storm or just listening to the sound of waves crashing onto the sand.  It's like the story of the watchmaker.  If you find a beautiful pocket watch on a log in the middle of the woods, you cannot prove that someone made it.  You cannot see the watchmaker, yet you know he exists.  For me, the same is true of creation.  It didn't just "happen".  Someone took the time to design it and in all its glory, it is infinitely glorious.

I'll show you pics when I get then downloaded.  Maybe even tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The Plan

I have come to the conclusion that I need a plan to not weight 300 plus pounds again.  Though I have not gone up any clothing sizes (yet) things are a bit snug.  The reason?  Working full time and not having the time to go to the gym.  I am walking many nights but compared to the kinds of workouts I was doing before, walking is not cutting it.  The gym at night is rough due to having to feed people and animals and grocery shopping and church.  There is always something in the way.

I had a long chat tonight with an old friend from the old church and she told me she had been hitting the Y at 5:00 am Monday through Friday.  I can do this.  Last summer, I was getting up at 5:00 to run before work, so surely I can get up to hit the Y by 5:00 or 5:30.  Then I can shower there and head to work.  It will require a little more planning but totally doable and probably the very best solution.  The Brit will be getting The Lawyer up for school come August and I can call to walk up The Genius.  He gets himself out the door anyway.  These days I head up to bed by 10:30 anyway and the fact remains that I know working out in the manner my body used to work out, is going to increase my energy anyway.

It has been a difficult adjustment to go back to work full time but I cannot use it as an excuse to gain weight.  I must simply rearrange my life a little to make things work for me.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Why I Love Them

Life at a shelter is often difficult for the employees as well.  Twice in two weeks, one of the kittens I have been loving on has died.  When the first little fur ball passed away, I felt as if my heart was being ripped from my chest.  T, one of my favorite co-workers, told me that was why she kept her distance from the animals.  I pondered this long and hard and came to the realization that no matter how hard it can be to lose them, to not love them is simply not an option.

How can I not shower them with a little love and a little cuddle when for whatever reason their mamas have vanished and they have placed into a cage surrounded by dozens of other crying kitties?  How  can I not in some small way bring some small comfort to one of God's little furry creations?  No, not getting close is simply not an option for me.

No matter how hard it can be, I am so thankful to be working there.  I love being able to help animals (who I regard in higher standard than most people) in any way.  I find it satisfying and so worthwhile.  Not always easy but nothing worthwhile ever is.

I found this on Facebook a week or two ago and I wanted to share as I love it.  I think it is true of most animals but especially of dogs:

Dogs Ten Commandments
1. My life is likely to last 10 to 15 years - any separation from you will be very painful.

2. Give me time to understand what you want of me.

3. Place your trust in me - it is crucial for my well being.

4. Don't be angry with me for long and don't lock me up as punishment...You have your work, your friends, your entertainment...

5. Talk to me. Even if I don't understand your words, I understand your voice when you're speaking to me.

6. Be aware that however you treat me, I'll NEVER forget it.

7. Before you hit me, remember that I have teeth that could easily crush the bones in your hands but I choose NOT to bite YOU.

8. Before you scold me for being lazy or uncooperative, ask yourself if something might be bothering me. Perhaps I'm not getting the right food, I've been out in the sun too long or my heart may be getting old and weak.

9. Take care of me when I get old. You too will grow old.

10. Go with me on difficult journeys. Never say, "I can't bear to watch it" or "Let it happen in my absence." Everything is easier for ME if you are there. Remember that I love you.