I had a running post for you today (err, there’s one half-finished that I planned on rushing through this morning) but recent exciting news says put it on the shelf for a rainy day and talk about something maybe a little less “on topic” but even more important to me than running.
For a while now I’ve been looking for a good volunteer organization to join. Don’t get me wrong I’m not saying there are “bad” organizations, but there are some that are a little rough around the edges, a small passion project desperate for traction, offering services so in demand they can’t keep up with the manpower, and so forth that could really benefit from an extra pair of hands moreso than others who get floods of help.
I began my search with the local animal shelters. If you didn’t know, I am a HUGE softie for four-legged furballs. Sad puppy eyes, those damn ASPCA commercials, and stories of pets overcoming great odds to stay by their human’s side (the dog lost on vacation that traveled across the country to get home, the dog laying on its owner’s grave, etc) melt my cold, emotionless heart in an instant. It’s like when my “feelings part” was being built they overflowed it with animal stuff and forgot to leave room for human stuff.
We have two rescue dogs at home – Frankie and Chico, who make casual appearances on the blog here and there – and I’ve always been an advocate for adopting. Not every person or every person’s current situation is a good fit for a pet, but when that situation does come up I beg and plead they’ll consider a discarded pet from a shelter instead of a shop or breeder. There are so many out there on “death row” desperate for loving homes! Most of which unfortunately found themselves there because of their owner’s circumstances (health, finances, relocation, finding out they’re “not a dog person”) and not any fault of their own. And it breaks my heart.
After I graduated from college I moved back in with my parents, who had a dog at the time. Brian was still away at grad school for another semester and I wanted someone to take care of and be my buddy. I was working regular hours (no more night + weekend waitressing) and had oodles of spare time, along with people around me willing to help out. So I searched petfinder.com until I landed on a scrawny little terrier mix that had been at a nearby shelter for a while. I guess a scraggly adult dog amongst litters of fuzzy puppies and discarded purebreds just didn’t stand much of a chance.
So I went and got him.
Chico’s first day home in Corntown, chillin with my mom’s dog Jamie
Eventually Brian and I moved to Cleveland, and Chico learned to hang out without his buddies from “Grandma’s” house. Which obviously meant whenever we were around, so was he…
When we moved to California a few months later (May), Chico made the trip via Delta Pet First cargo carriers, a service offered in a pressurized cargo plane (not below passengers with suitcases) where they’re walked and fed/watered during their layover. I’m not sure how much of that actually happened, and I stressed all damn day over it, but thankfully he made it to us on the opposite coast in one piece, just a little shaken and bitter.
* If you need to transport a pet and can’t drive them or fly them in a bag, I’d suggest looking into this and other similar pet-specific services.
A few months after that (August) I went back to Ohio for an unplanned trip to support and grieve the loss of my best friend’s mother. While I was home my parents found a stray dog running around their property, without a collar and covered in matted fur, feces, and bugs.
the picture I sent to B including “isn’t he cute” to which he replied “yes…” and not “…but we can’t keep him” so I took that as “why don’t you bring him home with you?”
We cleaned him up and put out bulletins with the police, vet, and local shelter to see if someone had lost their pet, but I secretly hoped no one would claim him. He obviously wasn’t being taken care of, and I thought he’d really like it in California.
When no one claimed him a day before my scheduled departure, my mom called her vet to get him in for neutering, shots, and a check up. He got clearance to fly, and the next day I put his still-slightly-drugged shaved ass into a bag and flew the friendly skies with him staring at me from under the seat in front of me the entire time.
And we all lived happily ever after.
We can’t adopt any more dogs (fresh out of space in this 900 sq ft apartment) and we’ve always wanted big dogs (but couldn’t, because, apartment life) so when I found German Shepherd Rescue Orange County and saw the help they needed, I jumped on it. On top of regular caretakers and playmates, they were seeking a volunteer with writing and marketing experience to help support the organization behind the scenes. I set out looking for some new walking buddies and a use for my rusty old ball-throwin’ arm, and happened upon a very appreciative and deserving group that can use my professional skill set as well.
That, my friends, is what they call a win-win. Or kismet. Serendipity. Something.
I thought about holding off on writing this until I actually got my hands dirty and spent some time with the group, but couldn’t contain my excitement. If you’re in SoCal and are considering a dog, I urge you to check out GSROC.org, or any of the other local shelters listed here. And if you’re not around here, do a quick google search of “animal shelters/rescues” in your area. So many deserving animals looking for the right home to love!
Ok I’m all out of sap. Back to running and swear words tomorrow.