Most people in animal rescue would admit to muttering the phrase "I hate people!" at least a hundred (or thousand) times in their career. Whether it's the starving dog being turned in after living its life on the end of a chain or the cat being surrendered to the shelter for not using the litter box (He just needed an antibiotic!), we've seen what cruelty can do to animals. But what I find more insidious and disturbing is the apathy owners show animals they once claimed to adore.
As I started planning our Valentine's Day promotions, it occurred to me that I get to say "Wow, I love people!" a lot more often than most other people as well. Then I started to remember some of the amazing people I've met over the years.
There's the woman who worked with us for over 6 months to catch every darn feral cat in her neighborhood (22!) so there wouldn't be more kittens dying next season. Or the volunteer who buys cat treats for our cats every time they go on sale so our kitties never go without. The dog kennel owner who provides low-cost grooming services to low-income members of the public. Or the veterinary technician who rescues orphaned kittens at her own cost and places them in homes.
A woman found herself with 2 stray dogs when they wandered into her yard in the middle of Lake LA. She worked with us over the next few months and they both found loving homes. She volunteers with us now too! There's the dog kennel owner and veterinary technician who rescues senior animals from the shelter when she knows they are hospice cases and lets them die in her home surrounded by love. Or the retired, elderly woman who feeds feral cat colonies on her own dime every single day of the year.
What about the pair of volunteers who invest their money in local animal rescues who they know have a LOT of needs and not a lot of money? Or the 12-year-old girl who adopts her first cat ever and spends half an hour asking every question she can think of to make sure she's getting it right. And her grandma who let her adopt the cat in the first place! The adopters who bring by their friends to adopt from us and to donate to us. Or one of my best friends, who on top of running a business and raising anywhere from 3-6 kids at any time, chose to foster a dog on top of the other two she already has.
Who are they if they aren't shining examples of people at their best? Of people doing their best with what they have when they have it? The people that I share my life with, and the new people I meet each week, impress me with their generosity and kindness. Yes, there are nasty, apathetic, idiotic people out there. We've all met them.
But today, I'll choose to focus on those that look at a huge problem and see what small part they can do and then actually do it. If you have someone in your life like that, send them some Valentine's Day love. Let them know someone notices their kindness and is grateful they make the world a better place.
Happy Valentine's Day!,
Christina Kilby, President