Everyone has things that bring out their tender heart. For me it is senior animals in shelters. I wish I could bring them all home. It breaks my heart to see them there.
I have a dog that was eight and a cat that was ten when they were turned into the shelter. Their stories are like so many others who should being enjoying their golden years, instead are uprooted from the only home they have known and sent to a shelter environment. Our dog only spent a few weeks in the shelter, unfortunately our cat spent over half a year before we adopted her.
Senior pets are often slow to be adopted because folks are generally attracted to those young cute kittens and puppies. Most senior pets have some basic skills and likely a couple bad habits as well. What is unique about the senior pet is that they are very anxious to please and forever grateful when rescue them. They will forever be thankful to you for picking them. This gratitude makes them much easier to train and teach them the rules of your home.
Now that I have more time of my own I find myself stopping at the local shelter volunteering and spending time with the animals there. I know I can’t take them home, but I can make their time at the shelter a little less lonely. Sooner or later a senior lover like me will find them and take them to their forever home.
I just learned that November is adopt a senior pet month….how cool is that.
My family participates in the Bountiful Baskets food co-op. As a co-op, the food sites are run by local volunteers. The system would not work without all the members helping out some. They suggest you volunteer every 4-6 visits. From a volunteer point of view it is pretty short term about two to three hours on a Saturday. No real hard work. A pretty ideal volunteer set up if you don’t want commitment.
Yesterday I had thought it was about time and had decided that today I would volunteer. This morning I woke up and wanted nothing to do with it giving up my free time. It wasn’t like I had signed up and I was not leaving them in a lurch by not showing up. There was always next week. My mood was foul and my body was cold. My excuses were plentiful and my motivation was pretty scarce.
In spite of this I still found myself at the food site at volunteer time, ready to work. I was part of the assembly line that makes the baskets up. I sorted potatoes and tomatoes. I split banana bunches up in to same quantities. So I found I not cold, but actually hot. I made conversation with my fellow volunteers and greeted folks who came to pick up their baskets. My mood never became stellar, but soon I was smiling and life wasn’t so bad. A couple hours later I was wiping out baskets with a damp cold rag to put them away for next time. Finally we were sweeping the floor so we left our site in better shape than we had found it.
It was over I had volunteered. I had fulfilled my obligation that only I knew about. I had made a difference. Not like the life and death kind of difference, but in how easy or hard the job would have been if I had not been there to help. Like the floor at our site I was in better shape than I had been when I started.