I'd like to take a few minutes to elaborate on my participation in Animal Advocacy Day yesterday. My journey to the point of participating in that kind of event has really been quite an emotional one - and included lots of self discovery along the way as well!
I started volunteering with the Mohawk Hudson River Humane Society almost a year ago. It's a strange turn of events for me, because a few years ago I was terrified of nearly all things living, and REALLY uncomfortable around animals, even sweet ones. I still have an irrational fear of bugs. I don't think I will ever have an affection for them, yuck.
Over time, more and more of my friends started to get pets - I never grew up with any, less the occasional goldfish. Most of the pets were dogs - where my fear really manifested. Cats just creeped me out. I was forced more and more often to interact with these animals, who seem to take an odd attraction to me.
In 2007, I left a relationship that had been quite toxic for some time. We'd lived together for a year and a half, and had a kitten for roughly the last 2 months, which he insisted upon keeping. I moved out and into my very first all-mine apartment. 6 weeks later I brought Dinah to my home and we've been BFFs ever since. There have been 2 times in the past 4 years where I thought Dinah had run away and I quickly devolved into a panicky, blubbering mess. Both times she'd magically escaped to the basement and hid out, despite my shaking the treat bag, brat.
Yesterday when they showed Buster's story I was crying. Actually, I'm crying right now just writing about it. I didn't live in the capital district n 1997 (uh, I was still in high school in CNY haha, and terrified of animals). So I'd never really experienced what was the instigating factor in bringing NYS Animal Abuse laws to life. It is very difficult, at least for me, to watch a news cast on, or even read a written story about, animal abuse. I wasn't the only one crying, we were in a hall filled with animal lovers.
When I got home, I spent the rest of the day showering my Dinah, with love and treats. She passed out on my lap for a little while and then "attacked" my arm when I woke her up with belly rubs. After some sweet mommy/kitty time, I took Toby for a walk (roomie's dog, if you're just joining the story here). I gave the Tobernator lots of lovins and snuck him a few extra treats before Q got home too :)
Q and I found out after she had Toby groomed a few days ago that the groomer and vet techs think he may've been mistreated in the past. He gets really scared of the most random things. He does occasionally cower if you move your hand too fast. We didn't have to teach him not to go upstairs without permission, and he's still reluctant to do it if we don't go with him, and he is TERRIFIED of garbage bags. Toby is a terrier, he has a ton of energy, he's not that well behaved on a leash, and sometimes can be a royal pain in the ass. However, how could anyone INTENTIONALLY hurt that cute little face???? I was so sad to learn that he'd probably had some rough experiences before he landed with us.
Volunteering at the Humane Society, and participating in events like yesterday's really fill my heart with joy - and sadness. It's quite upsetting to see all these wonderful, sweet, kind, loving animals at the shelter that have been mistreated when they just want to be loved and give it in return. I suppose most animals are not capable of the range of emotions that humans are. It's science. But my cat knows who I am, she snuggles me, not Q, or my mom, or my sister. Even when the snuggling doesn't result in a treat. Animals know and understand loyalty in a way that most people are not ever capable. So don't tell me they don't know how to "love." It's an extremely rare occasion that an animal will really disappoint you. Pooping on the carpet is frustrating, but not exactly disappointing.
With that said - if you have a 4-legged pal, take some time and show that bugger a little extra loving today. :)