October 17, 2014

Love, Adopt, Donate, Volunteer, Share, Give a Chance, To Be Free

You and I, two animals living in the same beautiful world. 

Hearts, ours, beating against our chests as we go about the day. 

Sleep, dream, we wake to stretch our bodies, begin the day under the same minty blue sky.

Puppy eyes, mine, have beyond them a feeling, loving, wanting soul.

You won’t see this, in me, a dog, nor what I long to confess if I could speak, unless you listen, really listen. 

It is there, the silent connection that allows me to love you and you to love me, unconditionally.  

Identical sights of nature  we share: tall trees, gushing waterfalls, rain drops, broken sticks, wildlife, and mud puddles, because it’s a world made for us, all creatures under the sun who want the chance to experience this lovely thing called life.

It’s Tuesday afternoon, and I pull up in front of my local area humane society. As I reach for the dog snacks and rope toy on my passenger seat, I feel as though I’m about to visit loved ones in prison. “Lucky for the dogs,” I think to myself as I enter the tan building of the animal shelter, “I get to take a few of the dogs out and let them run free for a time.”

Straightaway, I notice that all the dogs, of every breed and size, whether sitting, laying or standing, are quiet.They look at me through the cages. Some have eyes speckled with gold, and some have dark brown eyes and even blue eyes. And the moment I speak in the high-pitched tone any animal lover would understand, their ears perk up and they begin jumping at their cages with loud, happy, barks. They know I have come to walk them. The rattling of the chain I carry is a dead giveaway.

Unfortunately, I can only walk four of them. And there are nearly 50! I have just an hour this day, which allows each dog fifteen minutes. The remaining dogs, sadly, will have to wait for another dog-walker. And since there’s not a constant flow of volunteer dog-walkers some dogs may be spending another day in their cage without a walk.

This is no fault of the workers, of course. They’re hard at work with laundry, cleaning, shots, fundraising, adoptions, dog and cat bathing, phone calls, feeding, etc. And funds certainly don’t allow for paid dog-walkers, so they are certainly not to blame.

When my hour is done, I walk past Gypsy, Beauty, and Felix, a few dogs I won’t be able to walk. Beauty, a handsome lab mix, stands strong against the cage with her tail waging quickly, as if I’m going to walk her next; Gypsy, an American-staff mix, tilts her head ever so sweetly as if her pose might sway me to walk her next; and Felix, a hound mix gives a soul-deep bark as if explaining why he must surely be taken next for a walk. I feel horrible. I have to leave. I apologize to them, but of course they don't understand. They get further excited.

I tear up as I pass them; it’s never easy to walk away. I return to my car, hoping that other volunteers will come. Mostly, I hope that when I return, most of the dogs have found a good, loving home, and will be like their wolf ancestors and free to run as far and wide as they were meant to do.

No matter what area our hearts may lead us to volunteer, whether it’s dog walking, helping with the poor, firefighting, etc, I believe that someone, or something, needs our help. There should be no one on earth, except those who are physically or mentally unable, who does not volunteer for something.


  1. Beautifully written--and the picture is the perfect illustration for this post.