Fall and Winter come with a slew of holidays, celebrations, and philanthropy movements. During the month of November two different but similar charities come into play; Movember and No-Shave November. Movember is actually a year-round movement, but is often spotlighted during this month. It began in 2003 by two Australian men, Travis Garone and Luke Slattery, to raise awareness about men’s health (finding a cure for cancer (mainly prostate cancer), depression and anxiety, mental health) specifically tied to growing a mustache. You can click here to find out more the Movember Foundation.
Aside from my supreme enjoyment of working with older adults, one of my other passions is dogs. Shelter pups, specifically. I have had furry family members all my life with a few rare years without a wiggly companion.
There are all sorts of emotions and reasons for this. I am rather fond of dogs, but those in the shelter tug at my heart strings. It is not mere sympathy. You will hear me say this again and again on this blog, but I identify with “other,” the outcasts, the folks on the fringes, the underdogs. It stems from growing up with an invisible disability and all the emotion and physical misunderstandings that come with it. And I’m a sucker for a happy makeover story and mutual love.
I have wanted to work with the a shelter or rescue group for years, but I just didn’t have the heart to see them hurt, abused, or be put down. When I walk into a shelter, I want to take them ALL home with me! It’s anguish. So I’ve donate supplies and money and various organizations. Now, I really want to step up do more.
In fact, just today the library hosted the Pets on Parade at one of our branches. It is on our local community television station. A police officer and animal control officer showcase about ten adoptable animals whom are staying at the facilities. This was a first time partnership with the library. We reached out to them because September is Library Card Sign Up Month and this year’s mascot/theme was Snoopy. Perfect tie in! When you come to the shelter and present your library card you can adopt a new family member at a discounted price! Of course, I begged to attend this event, even though I did not plan it nor was it held at my own library branch.
But what do you know?! Out of all the animals there, the one I was holding was adopted out before animal control left the premises! I could not let the animal control leave without holding one of the pooches. So I asked and the lady nearest to me handed me a small docile brown mutt named Hersey. I petted and cooed at him. Very mellow boy with amber eyes, about 18″ long. I cradled the little fellow and walked around the library with him. A few staff members and patrons came by to pet him. Finally, I went upstairs to return him to animal control when a lady, her daughter and her grand-daughter came in. She wanted to see the dogs. I walked over and turned the pup toward her. “This is Hersey. He’s good for kisses.” She told us her pug passed away not too long ago and she was looking for another. The younger women were fawning over Hersey who was taking the whole thing in stride. She was looking for a small girl dog that was quiet and mellow. She was really digging Hersey, but then caught that it was a boy dog and became a bit bummed. So I told her in all honesty, “Personally, I prefer males. At least I know when they are going to the bathroom. I like the beta-boys.” She’s had girl dogs for the last 25-30 years and has a cat . . . and she just wasn’t sure about going the boy-route. The daughter kept saying “Oh come on mom, this is your dog.” The lady vacillated while continuing to pet Hersey who began to wag his tail. “Well. . . he is kinda pretty.”–“Yes, he is!” I agreed and dumped the dogs into her arms. He nuzzled up into her neck. Another library staff member who was watching the proceedings beckoned for animal care to come over and assist with questions about Hersey’s history. At which point I walked away to tend to another dog. A few minutes later, my co-worker comes up to me crying and hugs me. “She’s going to adopt Hersey!” –I was thrilled!!! I just ‘sold’ a dog! I casually flipped my hair back and joked “I should be in sales.” We laughed.
Then I thought about it on the drive back to my library branch. I was bursting to tell everyone. . . but I think I am on to something. There are other ways I can assist with helping the local animals. In the up-coming weeks I’m going to go back down and see what other ways I could help. This is huge for me. Those faces and slobbery kisses bring me so much joy.
It you are looking for a lifelong companion go to www.petfinder.com. You could save a life of a an animal in need. Or if you want to help out your local animal shelter or rescue there are a million things you could do and they are always in need of volunteers. I’m going to finally put my money where my mouth is and assist in a more direct way. Whose with me?
Crusaders, activists, change agents; whatever you wish to call them, take up a cause and fight. Some people protest for justice or others race for cure. These groups can be noisy or organized; the individual may be loud or quiet. While the methods vary, the goal remains the same. Each person is a crusader, they all have a cause that call to them. As for me, there are two . . . This is one of them.
Many folks are affected by the plight of children world-wide. Their hearts clutches at the sight of a child in need. Their first instinct might be to rush in save the innocent. Children stir these feelings base on the idea they are helpless and cannot fend for themselves, alone in this cruel world. There is actually scientific evidence for this and its role in the survival of the species. Children also symbolize home and the future. Maybe the child a person saves will in turn grow up to save many more or go on to bigger and greater things. It is a sweet thought.
These people are all part of The Cult of the Child and the Victorians practically invented the idea. Instead of adhering to the ideology of previous centuries where children were considered small-sized adults, the treatment of children changed. Childhood became synonymous with innocence that needed to be protected and encouraged. This was partially spurred by the technological and economical advances of first world countries in medicines, food, and government assistance. Consequently, children were generally treated with more kindness and a soft hand, not seen en masse in previous eras. From the Victorians to the present, the image of a sweet baby has melted hearts. “Everything” became all about the child; including, for the first time, their happiness and enjoyment, instead of just their well-being and making sure they survive into their adolescent years. Childhood and the mini-milestones associated with it became Big Business. Public daycares, nurseries, special clothing, fun programs, more resources and specialists turned a pretty penny into profit for the owners.
Naturally, there are two sides to every debate. The pendulum must swing both ways. –First, let me say, I am not a member of the Cult of the Child. I never have been, even when I was a child myself. I’m a quiet crusader for the More Seasoned Sect. My heart goes out to them.
Here’s why. Old age is a second childhood. A harsher childhood. Understandably as we age, reality hardens our outlook and roughens our edges. If an adult is in a bad way, it was via poor choices made earlier in life. Many modern adults are of the attitude a contemporary must earn their respect, but yet demand it immediately for themselves upon introduction to someone new. It is a “prove it to me” or “you must earn it” philosophy. Some see the aged and infirmed as a nuisance or obligation, even a waste of resources for people who “clearly haven’t and won’t contributed to the greater good. They are done.” So people snub their noses at these mature adults residing in nursing homes and hospitals.
It is a harsh reality for many older folks. I fear people who make such comments are only looking on the surface of things and not the broader scope. These old and infirmed already made their contributions; some have paid with their hearts, limbs, lives, and sanity. Often they are parents who might have sacrificed themselves financially or otherwise to the Cult of the Child. They might have fought for our country or done many great things during the more able bodied years. Even if they did not contribute to the wider world, they have survived and endured. They are still here. I think that’s more than enough reason to be treated with respect.
Moreover, and this is purely selfish, of me; older people are full of stories! Even if their memories are shot, they have lived to tell the tales. Each story is an amazing tale worthy of any bestselling saga; war, torrid romances, tragedy, triumph, and bountiful twists along the way. Often sharing these memories are a great delight for people in nursing homes. I should know as I volunteered during high school and would just sit by their feet and listen with rapt attention and delight. Older people love being heard. It’s a form of validation to be noticed and respected. Via their own stories they are contributing to the future; what to do, what not to do; a lesson in every venerable breath.
Some people claim seniors are ornery, curmudgeons, and basically ol’ battle-axes. Can you really blame them? Attitude, life, and circumstances have made them so. Yes, some older person may be difficult to love, but then they are the ones who probably need it the most as they were often not the recipients to it earlier in life. Personally, I am treating them as I would want to be treated at that age. I do not want to be forgotten and I know what it is like be lonely and feel tossed aside. So my heart goes out to the old and infirmed. Over my own lifetime I have volunteered with various organizations and associations for seniors and will continue to do so. It’s important to me. These are my people.
As it was customary in the 19th century, women of leisure or Ladies, by manners dictated, would show their sympathies to those less fortunate than themselves. Unfortunately, much of Victorian charity was for appearance. While there are those individuals who made assisting the poor their life’s works, they are scarce. Victorian England still remained entrenched in the Class System. It was unseemly for a Lady to mingle with those of the lower classes. However, in the name Virtue, and despite the lackadaisical attitude toward religion and spirituality, helping the downtrodden was socially acceptable.