6 July 2019

by Tom Swift

You hesitated when asked. You are grateful to people who volunteer at animal control centers. But you do not like to visit them yourself. At shelters of any kind. And you heard less than good things about this one. You had driven by before and even that, just driving by, aroused unpleasant thoughts of what might be happening inside. You do not like to see dogs who do not have homes. You expect uncleanliness. You expect sad and lonely animals. You expect to be depressed. To walk away depressed. But you know you should go. This spontaneous opportunity — you would not have decided this but now that it is here you know the planned coffee with friends … that will go on without you. A few blocks from the pound you see a volunteer walking one of the dogs with the same colors as your dog — brown and white — but bigger with sleeker fur. There is some pit bull in there, must be. The volunteer’s body language is that of a person carrying out a chore. On the other end of the lead he the dog explores the world the way dogs do — all in an all there. You have agreed to go with a kind soul who fosters cats. The place is cleaner than you expected. After holding some kittens, giving out a little love, talking to a volunteer, and a couple who will go home with at least one more cat, they just can’t decide which one(s), you agree to go into the dog area, where you see the boy who had been on the walk on your way there. A few minutes later he will walk out the front door again — for the last time — this time with a woman who looks like the female human version of him, who is taking him home. She leaves to cheers from others who are in line. You will also meet a Mastiff who initially struggles to leave his cage but eventually does. Then sits with a woman who wants him. There is something not right with this big boy. Stress? Is it neurological? Two different volunteers use that word. The woman is on the phone. The Mastiff looks out a window. Turning around in an adoption room he bangs his head on a wall. You don’t wait to see how it turns out. Good things are happening. You have more love to give and you should be like these creatures and caretakers and not hold it back.