The other day, I was chatting with a client…
when I brought up that I volunteer at Little Rock Animal Village (the city-run animal shelter). She asked me a question that I get a lot:
“Does it make you sad?”
I’d like to answer that question here.
No, the vast majority of the time, shelter work does not make me sad. It’s relaxing for me and very rewarding to see animals get adopted into good homes.
In fact, I’ve compiled a list of experiences that have made me much sadder than petting cats at the shelter:
1. The state of Arkansas sending my tax refund to the wrong address
2.The price of Starbucks coffee
3. The mall during the month of December
5. Pop stars that are younger than me
6. Millionaires who are younger than me and have less education
7. Facebook during election season
8. The declining spelling skills of our nation’s youth
I think the reason more people don’t volunteer at shelters is the fear that it will be depressing. For this, I partly blame the ASPCA, who is responsible for running those black and white TV ads that would have Cruella De Vil reaching for a tissue box.
The ASPCA has done a lot of good things, but that ad is not one of them. Watch it a few times and you’ll be convinced that animal shelters are full of pitiful, sick, injured animals whimpering at the backs of their dirty cages.
I’ve been working with the cats at the city shelter for a year and a half, and I can attest that it is not a depressing place to volunteer. The employees work hard to keep the floors and cages clean, and they all love animals. Ask them who their favorite cat or dog is and they’ll be quick to point out the ones they’ve become attached to. The building is well-lit and there is a lot of fenced-in grassy area outside for volunteers to walk the dogs.
So here’s a list of things I love about volunteering at the shelter
1. Watching kittens play together (they think they are so ferocious!)
2.Walter, a cat who would put a paw on each of my shoulders and nuzzle me under my chin
3. A solid white cat who perched on top of my head
4. Chaplin, the cat with a mustache
5. Tiger, who purred like a race car
6. Watching a shy cat slowly come out of its shell and learn to trust
7. The cat who had 6 toes
8. The cat who had “smoke” fur (white at the base, black at the tips).
9. Holding a purring cat in my lap
10. Cats going to good homes
And if that list doesn’t convince you, watch this video I took of a shelter cat attacking a jingle ball!