Saturday, January 05, 2013
2013: The Year of Adoption
HAPPY NEW YEAR. This is the time of year-- when anything seems possible---because we are starting at the beginning, as if we have never "commenced" before. We "commit" to commencing--to move forward with all that we are, and may become. To embrace all the possibility. On Facebook, I've been encouraging friends and family to refer to 2013 as "The Year of Adoption"--originally, I was referring to all the homeless and very healthy, well-behaved dogs, puppies, cats, and kittens who--without at least a Foster Home, will, for no reason other than the tremendous lack of ROOM TO HOUSE THEM in the various city and county "shelters" in this country-- be euthanized. I was trying to provoke interest in Fostering (When you Foster, all food and medical expenses are paid for by the Rescue Organization who must "pull" a dog or cat from a city's Animal Care and Control, in order for someone to Foster.You then retain the animal in your home/care until a "Permanent Adoption Home" is found, and that Adoption, takes place.) Here in Alpharetta, "Angels Among Us" is an amazing resource filled with loving, caring volunteers). So, what happens to the animal, once they are dumped at the Animal Control? (most "Shelters" are "high-kill", which renders the term "Shelter"--the literal definition is a place of love and caring, an oxymoron) Well, after having been abandoned by the family they loved, they now must endure a noisy, over-crowded, erroneously named "shelter", where the over-worked, and often very tearful staff, must do what they've been hired to do: kill dogs, puppies, cats, and kittens who've been the unfortunate victims of owners who simply could not care for them. Over 97% of all dogs, puppies, cats, and kittens are perfectly healthy, and have a great temperament, and are very family-friendly, and are ADOPTABLE...but they get killed, anyway.... A lot of you will say Oh, I could not Foster; I'd get too attached, and then have to give her/him up... Well, if you become that attached, then you may wish to go ahead and ADOPT...but for heaven's sake, by NOT fostering, you are condemning these animals, to death. And I recently discovered how terrible that death, is. We think of euthanization as being performed by injecting poison into the animal, and the poor, abandoned animal (WHY are animals dumped? Foreclosures--where the persons fleeing their former home, felt they could not take their companion animal along; lack of financial resources; no time, etc., are the excuses often offered as reasons why the animal is dumped) dies quickly, painlessly, without understanding what is happening. But that's NOT the way it is, in Animal Control facilities.... After an "evaluation", to "rate" the animal in adoptability, (most are "Green", which means able to be adopted into any loving home; some may have "restrictions" placed on them: home with no cats, etc...) 2-3 day "holding period" (hardly enough time for any animal to be viewed, much less adopted), the animal is approached by the officer and since there is a leash, the animal brightens, believing she/he is going for walk, and begins wagging, excited, alert, happy... those wags quickly end, when the animals see they are stopping at the other end of the facility, at "the room". It's not fully understood WHY/HOW the animals KNOW (perhaps they smell death, or sense the still-lingering-in-the-air-fear of the already-dead?), but in every single case, they DO... they stop, whimper, try to pull away. Even the most gentle of animals now becomes fearful, anxious, and....must be restrained, by two or more individuals, who must now attempt to get the needle in, for sedation or calming of the animal, and this means, in many cases, tubes popping out, and severe urination and defecation, as the animal realizes she/he is about to die.... But I got to thinking: what if the title I'd chosen,"The Year of Adoption" extended to the way we view EVERYTHING, not just these poor, lost souls known as homeless animals? What if we could "Adopt" a new way of SEEING... Seeing that Life--all forms of Life---deserves our attention: that young child who never gets any attention, because there's a "new" baby in the family, and it's obvious a kind word or big smile when they greet you, could work wonders to raise their self-esteem. Or the lonely, older neighbor who never seems to go anywhere, or have any family or friends, visit. Perhaps a tray of cookies or a knock on their door, inviting them to tea at your house, could make the difference between isolation, and connection. What about the Veteran, who returns from the devastation of Iraq and Afghanistan, to find a depressed job-market, and lowered confidence in his abilities to "make it"? Could offering your time at a Veteran's Center or VA Hospital make a difference? What if instead of "demonizing" others' beliefs, we truly embraced inclusion? This last one, is particularly challenging for me...."tolerant, and inclusive" as I like to believe I am, I am lacking in the fullness of what this means. I am fiercely studying Judaism, and its' tender history of triumph and near-destruction, and triumph again, and again.... The Jews never tried to "convert" anyone, but instead prayed silently, with great intentions of Peace and Love for everyone, and offered their prayers to an Almighty who they believed would never forsake them...and even when it seemed that Almighty had, they still committed---commenced-- to praying. They....began again. Like them, so may we. So, shall we, commence to beginning again. Start, and make this your own "Year of Adoption", whether that means adopting a lost, furry soul (I have two "rescues", and they are amazing, sweet, lovable dogs), or committing time at a Children's event, or donating to an Animal Shelter, or Rescue, or donating to a Children's Shelter, or helping a Veteran and/or her/his family in processing medical forms, or job applications, or....simply opening yourself up to "adopting" this new way, of SEEING, it's up to YOU. Below, a few contacts to help you make a commitment: "Angels Among Us", located throughout the USA. http://angelsrescue.org/ In North Georgia: Big Canoe Animal Rescue (we adopted our female GSD, from them, in 2009) http://www.adoptapet.com/adoption_rescue/76007.html From one of Georgia's largest counties, and the fastest-growing, most diverse county: Gwinnett County, their Children's Shelter's current "Wish List" of much-needed itms... http://www.gwinnettchildrenshelter.org/current-needs/ For Veterans, especially those returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, who need assistance in getting hired, and in simply coping,check out: http://coalitionforveterans.org/volunteer/ Again, Happy New Year to All. Peace, kids. >Peace, kids.