Saturday, December 13, 2008

Four Hours, Some Cleaning Supplies, And Many Happy Recipients

I wasn't to thrilled when my alarm went off at 6:15 am this Saturday morning. I wanted nothing more than to sleep in but my commitment to making a difference got me moving contrary to my body telling me "No". Today I was headed to a new volunteer project at a place called Pet Pal Rescue ( It's a no kill shelter that houses mostly dogs and cats but also other small animals.

We started the day helping the regular staff there do what they do everyday which is clean the kennels for all the puppies. Each pup has an inside kennel with a doggy door leading to an outside kennel. And once a day they are lucky enough to get let out into the play area outside of their kennel. It wasn't easy work. Every inch of their small concrete living quarter had to be scrubbed down. Half way through disinfecting the rows of kennels with my hands feeling somewhat raw from all the bleach and cleaner used in the bucket I asked myself why I had willingly signed up for this job. But that thought only lasted a split second as I thought about how much of a need there was to make these precious little dogs life that much better. They deserved a clean and healthy environment to call home just like you and I have when we walk through our front door.

The payoff was at the end though when all the hard work was finished. With so many dogs and cats needing a home I wanted to load them all up in the car and take them home. Of course that can't happen but I was able to spend another hour or so with them to make their day. After playing with the cats I chose to visit the dogs on the "sick" side and take them out one on one in the play area. The sick side is completely separate from the "healthy" side and is obviously where the puppies who have a medical problem stay until they are better. These dogs don't get any attention from potential adoptees due to their condition so I felt the need to try and make their day a little better.

I spent about 15 minutes each with 3 different dogs. Two of the pups that I took out were full of energy and so happy to have someone to run around with. And they all shared one thing in common and that was a hunger for love and affection. The first pup I took out would make anybody melt. He ran out all excited to the play area and went straight for my lap when I sat down. He curled up in a ball and wanted nothing more than to just be held and loved. And so there we sat for the full 15 minutes and all we did was comfort each other. And it's in a moment like this where silence is golden. I didn't know his story and he didn't know mine but what I did know is that this little guy was in total heaven for a small portion of his day. And I'm sure that times like this are few and far between for him in his life. And to be able to do something that has this kind of an impact on another living being is truly a blessing.

And that my fellow human beings is how important it is to take a small amount of time out of your day to make the world around you a better place. A little bit can go a long way. We are all born with the innate desire to love others and experience happiness by doing so. Sometimes we get a little and give a lot and are disappointed. But sometimes we give a little and get back more than we can ever ask for in life. Please do something positive after reading this. You and somebody else will be happier for it :)

Monday, December 1, 2008

The 2009 Challenge for You and Me

Once again I'd love to share a great idea of mine with all of you out there. I hope you're not rolling your eyes already wondering what I've come up with this time :) I'd also actually love to get some feedback and involvement from all two and a half humans that read my blog. Alright straight to the point...

I'm challenging you to join me in setting 3 goals that you want to accomplish in 2009. They can be whatever you want with only one condition that has to apply to each goal. Each goal's intended purpose needs to have an end result that positively impacts either yourself or somebody else or both. Your goals can be whatever you want them to be. They may be big or small. They may also be pertaining to your personal or professional life or they may pertain to yourself, your family, your friends, or any combination of the three. As long as the intended outcome is a positive impact on you or somebody else that is all that is required.

Here's my three goals for the year 2009:

1) Volunteer at least 100 hours in my local community
2) Get involved in a small group or class at my church
3) Take an active role in providing solutions to challenges that my national government faces by submitting at least one idea (entry) a month to my new president, Barack Obama, through his website -

There you have it. Now it's your turn to think of what you want to accomplish for next year. Feel free to share your goals by making a comment on this article or if you don't feel comfortable doing that then I'll let you off the hook this one time :) Just make sure you're working towards something positive next year and hopefully it'll make you and those around you better off.

And remember one thing - APATHY is your own worst ENEMY when it comes to making a difference.