Giving back

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So many people prayed for me last summer, my small parts of volunteering is just one humble way I can give back.

This baby has my heart.  Hook, line, and sinker.  And since yesterday I haven’t been able to stop thinking about him/her.  (I don’t know its gender but that’s no matter.)  What matters is what volunteering is teaching me, what it’s helping me do.  I’m seeing some things at this shelter that I don’t like, and in fact, that scare me quite deeply.  But what can I do about it?  Can I give them any of my money to change anything?  I have $115 in my checking account.  So that would be a no.

I am one person I don’t have an army behind me. I am not part of a board that is financing anything to run this place, so when I leave here – I have to check my feelings at the door.  I come for the time I’m able to spend with the cats, I give them fresh water, and pet and love all the cats that interact with me.  In fact, for the first time yesterday I actually got some scratches from one of them.  S/he wasn’t being aggressive – it’s just that how the cats are being homed now is LESS THAN DESIRABLE and these cats need to be spread out.  They need to be able to run and roam.  In an ideal situation – sure.  But what in life is really ideal?

Before last summer, if I was fretting about something – I was kind of chained to my thoughts.  I felt like I was a slave to them.  And if I had begun volunteering then (which, I probably wouldn’t have) I would have been OBSESSING about Gingy (that’s what I’m going to name her).  Obsessing about her getting picked on by the aggressive cats (she’s much smaller obviously).  Stressing and making myself sick about what’s going on at this shelter that’s NOT cool.  That’s NOT OK.  But today? I don’t get to do that.  I get to plan my schedule and time so, focusing on the things I can change (12-step program lingo) and not on the things I cannot.

I loved Gingy when I was there yesterday.  I held her, I hugged her, I told her that it was OK.  I reminded her (and myself) that these cats aren’t on the streets. They are safe and they are getting fed.  That’s where my job ends.  I come in – I do what I can do help the staff, I interact with the cats who want love, attention, pets, etc. and then I have to check the rest when I leave. I can’t leave my heart at the gate.  I have so many other things I’m juggling that this is only one part of my life that I’m learning to merge.  This is making me grow, I can tell.  It’s hard.  Which is making me grow too.  I hadn’t been to the shelter for a while because I have been so sick – so it was good to be back.  But there are 2 ways this can play out for  me and I need to make sure this is well-played…

I need to have moderation in my life.  Not too much of one thing or the other, and my wish is that the volunteering at the shelter will enhance my life – and in turn, I can enhance the lives of the cats I interact with.  I cannot spend every day there.  I cannot make myself sick worrying if their water is clean, if the cats are better (there is another cat Casey who is probably the eldest cat. She’s been there since they opened and she’s probably 11 I’d guess. She and some of the other cats are sick.  Now, I have MY STRONG FEELINGS on why this is happening….but again.  This takes us back to…what can I change?  What do I have control over?)

Only myself.  Only my reaction.  Only the time I can schedule to get there – to give the abundance of love I have within me to these shelter cats.

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3 thoughts on “Giving back

    • Thank you! I drove by the shelter tonight and my heart strings pulled….but I knew I had other responsibilities tonight and in the next few days that need my attention. MAYBE Friday….we’ll see.

  1. It’s always hard! And you also have to remember that ultimately it’s *not* your responsibility to make sure those cats are fed, watered, and cared for. You can only give what you can.

    I don’t know what the shelter set-up is where you volunteer, but even at a (what I consider) good shelter where I volunteer, I sometimes disagree on the way things are done, and sometimes there is a cat that we all want to save and ultimately can’t.

    If there are other volunteers you can connect with, even just through email, it always helps. Sometimes there can be strength in numbers, as long as you’re diplomatic about how you discuss things with shelter management 🙂

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