So here's the thing. Christmas is coming (whaaaaat? You didn't know? :) It's so easy to get wrapped up (hehehe) in what we want, what they want, what's left to do, when are we doing it all, that we momentarily can forget the less fortunate. But when bell-ringing Santas are in your face at every shop entry you're reminded. When your church announces its food and gift collection, you're reminded (bought those over the weekend--I'm hoping some kids will be happy with my picks!). But sometimes you want to do more. Hospitals are inundated with toy donations. Shelters and alternative residences regularly receive gifts of clothing and food. "Where can I make a different sort of difference?" was the question running through my brain. And then an email came from my cousin with the heading "This is where they will be spending Christmas. Can you help?"
Many of you may know that this is my canine love Charlie:
I don't know how he came to be at the "shelter," but they had determined, due to his matted hair, that he should be put down. Can you imagine saying to your kid "Your hair is full of tangles! We'll have to get rid of you!" Luckily, someone saw that face and took him with them, to give him a place to stay until he found a forever home. And that forever home is ours. My heart can't bear the thought of what they wanted to do this little guy because he needed a wash and dry.
My cousin Honey volunteers for a local animal rescue called 'Focus on Homeless Animals.' When I saw her email I knew where my money was going. Here's the amazing part: I gave her a check on Thanksgiving. The next day my mother got a call that they were using the money to go get a dog out of a kill shelter. And today I got an email that said dog (whose name is Annie, by the way) is close to getting adopted. The quickness of this made my heart feel tight and squiggly, that I had saved a life with just a little bit of money.
So I encourage you this holiday season to remember the four-leggeds who won't have a lap to curl up in. Who won't be pulling the garland off your tree (which, though annoying, is amusing and funny). Who won't wake you up on Christmas morning with sloppy kisses. And who might not get the chance to be forever grateful for the life that was restored to its dark future.
Donating to an animal rescue is a great use of funds--they will even accept unopened bags and cans of cat and dog food, if that's what you'd rather do instead. Every little bit helps. If you're in the Philadelphia/Bucks County area, FOHA is always in need of donations--and you can be sure 100% of it will be put to immediate good use. The money goes directly towards boarding fees to get the animal out of the kill shelter, spay/neuter costs, vaccinations, and other medical costs (some of the animals are really sick--treatable, but sick). Or, you can scout out rescues in your area and help them out. Maybe, instead of paying a breeder a gazillion dollars for a puppy this Christmas, you could save the life of one who is waiting for you to come along and love it?
I know if he could Charlie would say "Rhank rhou!" And then he'd go back to stealing my meringue cookies when my back is turned.
***UPDATE: Annie was adopted! That's less than a week from kill shelter, to rescue, to a home. That's some bang for your buck! Here's her picture: