We often see a dog or cat like Patrick (the little Pit-type dog throw down the garbage chute), and think...it's overwhelming. I am one person. What can I do? It's a drop of water in the bucket of misery, suffering, cruelty, ignorance amd indifference. It's over-whelming. The numbers are staggering! We think: My heart will break seeing that dog or cat or horse or whatever. The internet is swiming with pictures and video of such staggering propensity that your mind can't absorb it.
We think: I cannot impact on any of this.
I too, thought that way over two years ago. I'm a middle-aged, vision impaired person. I'm not rich, and trust me, rehab and rescue takes money! I can give up a movie and a meal every month to donate to my local shelter. It'll feed a animal for a day or two. It helps. Every penny helps.
Through a weird confluence of events, I heard more about my local shelter (The Humane Socieity of Greater Akron). A famly member wanted to volunteer, working with cats, and dragged me along. I realy did not want to; i just didn't think my heart could handle it. Besides, I know they need money.
I learned that by volunteering that I can make a difference. Spending time walking and socializing a dog was far more rewarding that I thought. Even though I'd been around dogs (training, showing) for years, these dogs, the other volunteers and the staff were all my teachers.
And when "my" first dog, a Pit-type named Pruitt found his forever home, I was crying tears of joy.
Giving lap-time to a cat helped that cat find its home too. Sometimes my time with an animal was short, a few days, others it was months. But when I found out that dog or cat had gotten a home, I knew that the time I'd spent was part of a greater whole world of helping. Doing the laundry freed the staff to concentrate on their jobs of caring for the animals. Cleaning cages or kennels isn't the most glamourous job, but it helps! I've worked fund-raising events, walked 10 mile races to raise money and used my artistic talents to raise money for my shelter. Volunteering even helped my career in a weird, random way!
Now i give tours and try to educate the public about our shelter and since we take any breed, about PIbbles, as much as I can. I'm learning to do Off Site Adoption Events and Educational Programs for kids (and adults), hoping to help them understand about animals, care, compassion and safety too!
When one of your favorites get their forever home, YOU have made a difference. YOU can help by giving of your time. YOU have made a difference to one animal, maybe helped one person.
We are aware of Patrick because of people making a difference in his life. Helping a local organization in your hometown can help another Patrick recover, can educate the public, change laws, raise money.
If you read this, know that you can and are making a difference!