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Your lifestyle, your quirk
I often write about being active in the community, giving your time, or doing positive things. But how often do we get the chance to do them?
Depending on your schedule, you may not have lots of time to volunteer or giver your time; I am probably one of the worst offenders. Since I’ve been in college, I haven’t had a lot of extra days to give to any organization at all. But just this past Saturday, I made it a point to give my time to a cause I believe in — helping animals — and I can’t begin to describe how amazing the experience was.
I had never volunteered in an animal shelter before, but I am definitely an animal lover, and I was excited to help with the local adoption event. We’d be trying to find good homes for animals that had been abandoned and were living in the shelter. I showed up at the shelter at 9 a.m. and was ready to go, but first, the cats’ cages needed to be cleaned. To be honest, I was a bit nervous about doing it, but I dove right in anyways. It wasn’t the fact that the cages were dirty that scared me; it’s that I wanted to do a good job without being told every tiny detail, which included using the right cleaner, finding the clean litter, disposing of things properly, and so on.
It wasn’t bad, and soon somebody came to tell me we were leaving for the adoption event. I followed the other volunteers to PetCo and went to grab a dog being unloaded so I could handle him. The morning start off fairly chilly, but that didn’t have an effect on any of the volunteers; everyone was happy to be there, helping animals find a new home.
Animal shelter volunteers are some of the kindest, funniest, and most accepting people you’ll ever meet. They all have big hearts and big brains, too, because it takes a smart person to train an animal that isn’t used to being loved and cared for.
The adoption rate for the day totaled almost 20 pets, which I considered a success. But one particular adoption stood out to me more than some of the others because of the dog’s story. His name is Isley, and he is a pit bull mix.
But he’s already got a mark against him: he’s a pit! People are scared of these dogs and think they’re aggressive; even I was a little wary of Isley. But let me tell you, he proved me wrong. He is a very, very strong dog, but he let me walk him on his leash and “sat” down perfectly for me! He had only learned to do those things that very morning, which was very impressive.
Isley was on the list to be euthanized because he was an “unwanted.” He had been in the shelter, then fostered, and then brought back to the shelter. The poor guy had been abused at one time, chained up, and was even missing his right eye. So you can see why we were so desperate to give him a good hohome.
Well, a couple walked up to the store and immediately fell in love with him. They already had a pit bull at home, so they were accustomed to the breed’s traits and knew how to care for him. We talked to the couple for a while and finally, they made a decision. If Isley did all right with their little girl, he could come home.
As the woman sat her child down, I was honestly very nervous. I knew Isley’s history (he has killed one cat) and was terrified that he wouldn’t do well, and would be sent back to the shelter and miss him chance to get a home. But you know what he did? He walked right up to that little girl and licked her face. He nuzzled her with his head, and the couple was sold! They were excited, and so was the little girl, saying, “I love my new puppy! Isley’s coming home with me!”
Of course, being the sob story that I am, I teared up, and so did some of the other senior volunteers. We were so happy to see Isley get a new home because he’d come so far and proved how great anyone can be despite their backgrounds and histories.
If you ever get a chance to adopt a shelter dog or volunteer in a shelter yourself, I encourage you to do so. It is truly a life-changing experience, and I promise you will be touched in the deepest corners of your heart. You will be saving and changing lives.