I have volunteered for any number of worthy causes for years; it is just in my DNA. During the years I lived in Toronto it was focused on AIDS-related issues; fund-raising for various groups, volunteer labour for the Aids Committee of Toronto, etc. The connection is obvious; friends and acquaintances were suffering and dieing while politicians tried to figure out what to do. Religious fundamentalists called it a message from gawd and some demanded quarantine; pressuring politicians (not a breed known for courage) to do nothing, or at least nothing good, loving or supportive.
Fifteen years later I moved to central Ohio and my energies were focused on a new relationship, new house and a new career. When the first two fell apart I put most of my energy into the career. That lead, in time, to another relationship and a new house. In addition, I started volunteering my photographic skills to a local ‘no kill’ cat rescue and my time and energy to a non-profit that subsidizes the cost of spay/ neuter house pets for people on public assistance. When I was growing up there were usually pets around;sometimes cats, some dogs, one rabbit etc.
Fortunately for me the career fell apart in 2008; although the adjustment was (is) painful it has allowed me to re-focus. Money is still tight, but I do have time, energy and skills. Over the past three years I’ve been building up my pet photography business and donating what I can to various local animal rescues while going back to College.
I first got involved with Columbus Cocker Rescue taking pictures of some of their fosters at the twice-monthly “Mingle With The Mutts” held at the local county dog pound. In September last year they announced that they were going to be getting about 18 rescues from two different places; one in Georgia, the other in north-west Ohio. And not just ‘owner surrender’ family pets; these pups were rescued from horrific conditions. The group needed funds for transportation, medical treatment, boarding etc. Money I don’t have; photography skills and time I do. So I volunteered to take new photos of the pups once they were ready to be adopted. This is not to brag; so many other people did (and do) so much more.
Today I watched the following video, published by (and about) CCR. And I got to thinking of why animal rescue, more than Spay/Neuter programs, working with Feral Cats or other aspects of Animal Welfare, appeal to me. Sure some of it is based on the same reason why various non-profits show pictures of children with facial (or other) deformities, cancer or protruding bellies to raise money. I have a heart.
And some of it is a matter of decency; humans have domesticated various species of animals to make our life easier or make our life more enjoyable. We are, collectively, responsible for those species; see this post for my reasoning.
But a major reason, I believe, is that as this video shows, animal rescue groups and adopters love and accept every animal as the special, worthy, marvelous creature that they (and we) all are. And while I have been blessed with such love and acceptance, I know far too many people who have not. It is my hope that by the time I leave this mortal coil a majority of people will grow up knowing that same love and acceptance.