I’ve been thinking this morning about my comfort zone and how I sometimes prefer not to move out of it. I reason with myself that I like the way things are and how changes often create chaos.
A few months ago, I was volunteering at an outreach in a neighborhood of very poor families. It always surprises me that many of these families have several pets. There isn’t enough money to feed the children, but they have four cats and two dogs. I like to carry a couple of cans of cat food and dog biscuits in my car for when I visit this area. Yep, I’m an animal lover!
On this particular day, a family I had bought groceries for in the past had a new puppy. A young puppy. This was their third dog. As I played with this sweet little pup, I realized he was not well. I won’t go into all the signs, but all of sudden the thought occurred to me that this pup was not going to make it if someone didn’t get her to the vet.
I spoke to the family, and they seemed unconcerned. That’s when it happened. Without thinking, I told them this puppy needed a new home, and asked if I could take it right then and find it one. At the time, I had an eighteen year old cat, a four year old cat, two gerbils, and a lovebird, all living in my house. As our family also travels quite a bit, I knew this pup was not going to be able live with us, but I knew it wasn’t going to stay there. The family seemed indifferent, not really caring one way or the other what happened to the dog. A friend dumped her kids toys out of a crate and we put the puppy in, slid it into my car, and away I drove.
This Little Dog Is Going to Die
I volunteer for the Humane Society, and I immediately called them to see what I should do. I left a message and waited to hear. I took the puppy to my house. Over the next 24 hours, it became clear to me that this little girl was going to die if I didn’t get her some help. Finally, the Humane Society called me back and said they would see us. They determined that the dog had either Parvo or hookworm.
If it was Parvo, she probably would not make it. They couldn’t take her, as Parvo was highly contagious, AND if the dog had “done” anything in my yard and had Parvo, I need to notify my neighbors not to walk their dog anywhere near my yard. OH MY WORD. What have I done? They tested her for Parvo and gave her medicine for hookworm, just in case.
Avoiding Bad to Worse
This situation could have gone from bad to worse, but, thankfully, it didn’t. “Hope,” the pup’s new name, did not have Parvo. Within 12 hours, she was a typical crazy puppy, chewing, barking, playing, and stealing the hearts of everyone in my family. But she still needed a home.
I took her back to the vet a few days later for a checkup, and they told me someone who volunteered at the Humane Society wanted to adopt her. Leaving her there, I cried, my kids cried, but we knew a family who stayed put would make a better home for her.
That day, I stepped out of my comfort zone. The vet said Hope would have died if she had stayed where I found her. It was a crazy week, but it was worth it, and I have pictures to prove it! You don’t have to go out and rescue puppies to make a difference.
I heard from a pretty reliable source that you are better to go directly local than through a national organization. Give locally so you can see the results. Don’t take food. They need to be consistent with what they feed the animals, so they stick to one brand. Even five or ten dollars goes a long way. Be blessed!
Kelly Stilwell is a blogger who is passionate about volunteering. Visit her at www.kellystilwell.com where she writes about parenting, education, traveling, cooking, serving others, and life in the fast lane.