I jumped on Facebook for my usual three minute cruise. I liked one of my best friend’s newborn photos and was feeling grateful that I was privately informed of her child entering the world before it was announced on social media. Then, I stumbled upon an article about people taking selfies with a baby shark who died on the beach because, from what the writer shared, folks were so focused on their snapshot; they ignored his pleas to get it back into the ocean. It’s home. Whether it was true or not, I cried; as I often do when I click on any depiction of cruelty, sadness or despair; man or beast. And, the barrage of comments: “people suck”, “I hate people”, “I wish I was there, I would kill them” caused me to do what I often do after 180 seconds, close Facebook.
Yes, there are people who are mean, downright awful to other living creatures; but adding hatred on top of hideous acts does not make them any better. Let’s for a second, imagine a different course of action when anger and rage overcome us upon seeing examples of people doing sucky things.
Maybe, send a thank you note to the person who you know walks dogs at the local shelter, religously. Because, if she or he gives up on the world; we are all in trouble. Or, donate. If every person donated $1, just one, instead of typing hateful banter and egging each other on; think of how many downtrodden beings could be saved. Perhaps, even volunteer. The process to volunteer can sometimes be a bit lengthy and time-consuming but once it is done, it is DONE. And, I would much rather know that the people by my side when I am wrangling a dog out of a kennel are as committed to safety and have signed off on the same rules I did.
I hear folks say it would be too hard to see sad faces behind the bars and I have had to excuse myself into the ladies’ room more than a couple times to dry my eyes. But, truthfully, if I EVER walk out of the shelter not having tears roll down my cheeks, I am DONE. Because, it means I have stopped caring and I am no good for the dogs I volunteer with if I am bitter, calloused and believe that people suck. The last trek I made down to Animal Care and Control; I caught up with my expecting friend on the phone, or the gadget in my ceiling that prevents me from getting pulled over. When I shared with her my overwhelming feelings of fear about the skin I had removed the day prior for cancer testing ; she asked if I would consider giving up volunteering in any of my hodgepodge ways, and I said no. I absolutely adore taking Gavin to schools so children can learn kindness that I hope helps them navigate life, inspire others and stays with them throughout adulthood; and I love giving a percentage of my income to local non-profit organizations, rather than a bank.
The spot turned out to be melanoma; and I had a 2″ x 4″ section removed from my right shoulder blade. A few days after my procedure, I realized Gavin was out of his 30 lb. bag of dog food. So, we walked across the street to the pet store where I inquired about delivery service. They said no, so I thanked them and planned to grab the smallest bag I could carry up three flights of stairs with one arm and my cutie little Pit Bull by my side. The young gentleman looked at his watch and told me he was off work soon, and asked if I lived close-by. Twenty minutes later, he carried the food into my condo and refused the little bit of cash I had on hand. People don’t suck.
I can count at least 20 people who rescued, assessed, fed, vetted, transported, fostered, trained, played, shared and cared for Gavin before he and I ever met eyes. People who skip brunch; donate dog food, toys and bedding instead of buying clothes or a newer car for themselves; open their homes, and make peace with the loss of a favorite rug or skip replacing a couch because another foster will surely eat the other end and leave the comfort of those homes and their own pets to love, save and help animals not just make it through the system, but thrive and find a happy home to call their own. Thank those people, share their story, comment on their posts because they are truly awesome! And, guess what? They do not suck.