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The Animals Need Us So Very Much

I admit, I'm struggling, and have been for quite some time now. Sometimes I close my eyes at night and as I'm thinking about my day and the blessings in my life, like my own precious dogs, my mind drifts to less than joyful faces...eyes looking out at me through cages, or from street corners, or tall grass. I can hear them saying, "Are you going to be the one to save me and love me?"
My hear hurts as I witness more and more pet surrenders and abandonments. It hurts so much that it is hard to refocus at times. I want to do something, I NEED to, and I want to fix all of it for every single unloved, unwanted, abused animal out there. Now I'm sitting on the edge of the bed, after crawling in feeling exhausted from a full day. I cannot sleep. I get up, I walk around. I check on my dogs. I sit in the dark in the silence as they sleep, sometimes falling asleep with tears in my eyes, in the recliner.
Once upon a time, the United States was a nation on its way to taking care of all of its people and animals, and even helping the rest of the world. We were an example of charity, generosity and progress. Look at us now, just LOOK. Yet we can still do it. It is not too late, we can fix this if we make a genuine effort. Earlier this evening I was watching an old clip of Richard M. Nixon in 1972 making a promise to this country to put massive resources toward the cure for cancer. I recall many times during my life when a President inspired us, pulled us together, catapulted us forward with hope. We would be strong, we would take care of each other, and we could then change the world, too. Oh, where has that gone? It all trickles down. When there is loss of hope, loss of jobs, loss of respect for our fellow human beings, then there is apathy, confusion, anger.....and people begin to surrender their beloved pets because they either can't get themselves together to be a good pet parent, or they can't afford to feed and shelter a pet any longer. So the innocent, loving, loyal pet suffers. Cars line up at shelters to surrender their confused, suffering family member....the lines can sometimes be 10 to 50 cars deep. It is real.
One day not long ago, a human walked into a pet store or breeder; sometimes they had a child in tow, sometimes they were alone & looking for companionship. How exciting, to find a furry little bundle looking into their eyes, an animal so innocent and trusting, hoping for a long life filled with love, good food, toys and a warm bed. This little animal would offer nothing but loyalty, companionship, kisses galore and a barrel of fun at every turn, even the messy turns. They go home together. The years pass, all is well, but then the dark clouds begin to roll in. Maybe there is a divorce, a loss of a job, depression, inflation/recession, the birth of a baby...and the pet finds him or herself tied to a pole in the backyard, sleeping in mud, hungry, thirsty, scared and confused, or maybe even injured by an unhappy owner turned abuser. Maybe a neighbor sees this and calls animal control. Or perhaps a predator sees opportunity....who knows? But my point here is, why does this even happen? What is wrong with mankind (I question the 'kind' on the end of that word)? Has our respect for animals become so lost and broken that we cannot see that the animals are a blessing to us? What if someone birthed or adopted a human baby and at the age of 8 decided they weren't worth the trouble anymore and stopped feeding or sheltering them? Yes, this happens, but I will tell you it happens about 100 times more often to a pet than it does a child. The innocent of this world bear brunt of life's frustrations because they are weak and helpless, and it is the saddest thing that my heart has known in this life. The weak become the ones who suffer the consequences of situations that man has created.
What is there to do? That is the biggest question. I believe I understand most other issues; I even have the life after death thing worked out. But the cruelty to our precious animals, I am at a loss. I give to charities, but how much is enough? True charity happens when every single human being gets their heads and hearts together on the same page and as a worldwide team, we work to fix what is broken once and for all. I bet you don't believe it could actually happen in 24 hours right? But if every single person joined hands and did something now, we could get it handled in a heartbeat. There are enough of us with enough resources and land that we could save all of the animals in need. It takes so little to do so much when everyone participates! Its like that old tale of stone soup. A town is starving, and a man meanders into the town and suggests that everyone go home and bring whatever they have left. He fills up a giant pot with water and throws in a magic stone to make 'stone soup'. Everyone tosses in their veggies, their morsels, and more, creating a delicious soup that feeds the whole town a healthy, hearty meal. What an amazing idea. A no-brainer.
Please, friends, loved ones, anyone reading this. Do something. Anything. Volunteer. Donate blankets and beds. Give if you can to whatever animal rescue you wish. Even if it is only $5. Imagine if 100 people give $5? What can that do? So much. It is food, a bed, needed medicine for a sick animal. Better yet, if you're looking for a pet, don't go to a breeder, PLEASE. Go to a shelter or a rescue. Take the dog (or cat) who looks like the last rose of summer, the one that no one seems to want because they have only 3 legs, or one eye, or keeps getting passed over. You could change their life....and yes, animals do have feelings.
Be the hero, be the change.

Ask yourself what you can do. And then don't just think about it, do it. If you truly want to sleep well at night, give of yourself and make a difference. Tip the scales in favor of love---lasting love from a pet who would give their life for you in loyalty and gratitude. Let's just do this finally! I know we can!

Much Love,
Reverend Paula

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