I don’t know how their hearts can be so big. I don’t know how their stomachs can handle what they see. I don’t know why they aren’t incarcerated for beating the bejezzus out of animal abusers. I do know that St. Francis smiles on them every day, whether or not some days they can feel his gratitude.
To the animal control officers, the shelter workers, the rescue workers, and the regular Joes on the street who see any animal suffering, discarded, abused, in pain, lonely, abandoned, ignored and step up with love for the sweet souls who didn’t ask for interactions with some willfully ignorant, just plain ignorant, downright criminally cruel, or apathetic human… you people have hearts of gold and the souls of saints.
When I see you interact with an animal who is at the very least frightened, or at worst on death’s doorstep, I weep. I see you tenderly administer comfort, gently aleve fear, grieve for the lost, and tirelessly call everyone you know to find assistance. I watch as you somehow manage to be at least civil, if not actually courteous to the humans who leave elderly, arthritic dogs chained up outside in freezing temperatures, beat a dog to near death for some infraction that was the human’s fault to begin with, and worse. I don’t have your fortitude. I don’t have your self-control. I don’t have your guts of titanium alloy.
As the holidays approach and animals are abandoned right and left because of inconvenience, or whatever reasons I couldn’t even fathom, as puppies are bought right and left because the realities of caring for living beings hasn’t occurred to someone, as backyard breeders and puppy mills glut the market and thus the shelters to fill their pockets, I weep.
But I know there are humans out there who go to the shelter to find the saddest dog on the block to love, who adore their dogs and give them the best care they possibly can, who have educated themselves about dogs and celebrate dogness, who look for solutions so that they can continue to share their lives with their dogs, and whose circumstances really do warrant surrendering a beloved pet and do so responsibly through rescues and animal shelters. And then there are the rescuers…