As I sat on the train to NYC with my nephew, I started to reflect on the 31 days, 31 ways to Get Busy Livin’ series that I had undertaken just a few days prior. Besides the thought of “what the hell did I get myself into”, I started writing down possible topics for the month of posts.
Sure, I could blog for ages about traveling to exotic destinations, traveling for free, epic road trips and other great adventures (which I probably will), but the one recurring theme that really resonated with me was the fact of contributing to or giving back to something greater than just us. Making a difference.
I have written about charity walks and volunteering your time, both of which are very noble endeavors and I encourage everyone to participate as much as they can in any related activity, as their actions truly are making a difference in the world. Another tangent of that same discussions hits a chord very close to my heart.
Living in Southern California for pretty much my entire life, I was always surrounded with high-end shopping malls, big box stores and luxury everywhere. Mixed in amongst all of the high end shoe stores and chocolatier shops were designer puppy stores where they hawked puppies from all corners of the country for prices ranging from $800 and up. Most “purebred” puppies would sell for upwards of $2500. The smaller, the most expensive.
A dog is the only thing on this earth that loves you more than he loves himself. -Josh Billings
Yet no more than 10 miles away in any direction was a minimum of 3-4 pet shelters or rescue organizations that were overflowing with animals. Some were so packed that if a dog was in their facility for more than a few weeks, they were euthanized. Who would want a 5 year old mutt when you lived in Southern California where money grows on trees and dogs were made to fit in purses.
The problem is that this doesn’t exist just in Southern California, it is across the country. So many dogs, cats and other animals are being abandoned or picked up by animal control and placed in these humane society shelters, most to wait out their final days. Why? Because they grew up to be to big? Because they misbehaved?
There are so many wonderful people who donate their time and energy to saving animals from euthanizing by bring them into foster care, cleaning them up and doing their best to adopt them out to loving homes.
It was just a few years ago when I was looking to adopt a new best friend. After months of searching on Craigslist, Petfinder, and other adoption websites, I came across Theo. Theo was a wonderful, shaggy little Yorkshire Terrier/Wire Haired Terrier mix. He was turned into the shelter by animal control that picked him up on the side of the road. The day before he was sent to be put down, he was saved by a rescue organization who cleaned him up, microchipped him and got all of his shots current.
It was about a month after they fostered him, that I found and adopted Theo. Because Theo was an adopted name only a few weeks old, I renamed him Rusty.
What spoke to me the most was the ability to give a dog like Rusty a second chance at a good life. A life of not running the streets. A life of not having to search for his next meal. A life with a warm bed and the occasional road trip. A second chance at what he deserved.
And he has rewarded me with a great friendship, unmatched loyalty and adoring love.
My story is not unique. There are hundreds and thousands of stories out there, just like mine.
So I ask you, if you are looking for somewhere to donate your time, or even looking to adopt a dog, please look into rescue organizations in your area. Give a dog a second chance.
Day 27. Way 27. Give a dog a 2nd chance. Adopt a new best friend.