I recently came through what I would consider to be the darkest period of my life. Things had been rough around here for a while, but, really came to a breaking point in early January when I learned my father had lung cancer. This seemed to be the icing on a cake made of sadness and difficulty. My husband had been unemployed for a little over two years and we were broke, we had an elderly dog whose life we needed to make a decision about and a young friend visiting who was also sick. This all threw me into an abyss of hopelessness and despair. Things I typically enjoyed became meaningless and I simply could not see past this haze of disappointment, fear and disillusionment. When you add earthquakes in Japan, political grandstanding here in the US and other stories of tragedy through out the world, it seemed pointless to even try to feel better.
If you are still with me, and wondering how I emerged from this painful fog….just as a few things converged to cause it; a few converged to start un-doing it. First, my father had a successful surgery to remove his tumor (more about him later), the weather began to change…and it seemed that winter was not going to last forever (despite her best efforts) and I “met” Patrick.
Who is Patrick, you ask? Patrick is a young pit bull who was thrown away…literally. Hurled down a trash chute 19 stories, he was found emaciated and alive, despite someone’s best efforts to kill him. I have many thoughts on that part, but like my dad’s story, I am saving it for later. The part that helped perk me up (and bring me back to life, so to speak) is that he lived and people are working hard to ensure that he recovers…physically and emotionally.
This dog’s story has stoked so many emotions in me. Anger…that there are people who would do this to an animal….Fear….that it is more common than I would have dreamed (more on that later, too)….Compassion….for him and the suffering he endured….Respect….for those willing to try to help the poor guy….and, most of all, Love. For so many reasons and in so many ways. So….love? How exactly did this horribly sad, almost unthinkable story cause me to feel such love? It’s hard to explain, but, I will try. In having my eyes opened to the atrocities inflicted on animals every day, I was appalled, disgusted and ashamed of the human race. But, there is a flip side to all of that. There has been an outpouring of love and support for this dog and the (too)many, many others like him. There are support pages all over Facebook, he’s been on the news around the country and on millions of internet homepages. It seems that Patrick, the disposable dog, ignited something in the hearts of animal lovers everywhere. And, it turns out that alot of us are disgusted, appalled and ashamed and NOT GONNA TAKE IT anymore. But, for most of us, it seems that rather than act out in anger, we have united in love.
I have always thought that love was an action word and here is how that love has begun to manifest itself for me, personally. First, my own animals have benefited from Patrick’s plight. It has caused me to see, just that much more, how much they depend on me and my husband to ensure their happiness and well-being. So, more treats, more walks and more love, overall. I always thought I was a good pet “mom”, but, now, I see my role in a whole new light. Beyond that, I have begun to feel that there is a greater contribution I can make, in my own small way. I have donated items to 2 local shelters, as well as sending some goodies to a rescue that focuses on saving mama dogs and their puppies. I have a deep philosophy about animals…but, more on that later, too. Suffice it to say for now, that I believe we humans have alot to learn about love and compassion from them.
Oh, and one more, very important thing has happened to brighten the skies ahead…my husband has found employment 🙂