You may have noticed a recurring link in my blog, one that leads to one or another page of an animal rescue organization. This is not by accident; Almost Home Foundation is a pet recue group I’ve been volunteering with since its early days several years ago. It is a 501c3 nonprofit organization, and one that includes no paid personnel. Zip. Nada. Every person who works for the benefit of the animals that AHF seeks to find homes for, does so on an entirely voluntary basis. That might not sound like much of a big deal, but it truly is.
There are people within the organization who toil ceaselessly, day and night, every single day, for the betterment of animals’ lives. They do so in addition to jobs, family life, and personal obligations. They do so, also, with open and loving hearts. Each year, the organization has grown by leaps and bounds, both in the number of animals rescued, and the number of people who give selflessly for these animals. Being part of such a group is truly an honor. Having the opportunity to meet so many wonderful, positive people is truly awe-inspiring. Helping to make the lives of animals better, even if just a bit, is fulfilling to the soul.
I cannot make a claim that most people involved with animals do, that I was obsessed with animals from early in my life. I cannot recount tales of critters I’d found and brought home, of countless pets I adored throughout my childhood years. My brother and I had goldfish – once. We named them Ozzie and Harriet, and had to wave bye-bye to them as they swirled downward toward the ocean our mother said they wanted to go back to, via the toilet; and she knew this because they were floating at the top of the fishbowl as a signal. We had one dog while growing up – Freckles – a beagle/terrier mix as anyone’s best guess, one who also wasn’t particularly well-trained either in the housebreaking or behavior departments. But I loved her. She was not allowed in bedrooms, and was petrified of storms; I would go sit with her on stormy nights, holding her trembling body close, wishing she were happy instead. I still remember the phone call from my dad, while I was away at school, that she had passed. My dad was beside himself over the loss of his beloved “buddy”.
Other than that, there was a brief foray into the aquarium world, a small tank in my room, with pretty fish like angelfish and multicolored ones. They were constantly dying, faster than I could replace them. It depressed me. I am much more successful with a tank like the one above – virtual. I know I had an appreciation for Mother Nature and God’s creatures – and I think it came from my father, who, had he been living a different life, would have surrounded himself with animals and open nature. But life with my mother, and in the big city, didn’t allow for that. And I know I had a real compassion for living things. The one way my brother could really torment me was when he’d intentionally step on, and kill, innocent ants on the sidewalk. So I guess I had a latent tendency toward a Love of animals.
When I got married, my husband thought we should get a cat. I’d really never had experience with felines. My grandmother had a calico; my parents’ friend had a couple of Siamese, all of which were cranky kitties that my mother always warned me to steer clear of. We got a cat, Ali. She taught me just how unbelievably amazing and wonderful a cat can be. That began my love affair with cats. Truth be told, I am a cat person. I love all animals, and certainly love dogs – but there’s just something unique about a cat that draws me. Heart and soul. Over the years we’ve had a couple of dogs, several cats.
As for Almost Home, and the volunteer work, I just stumbled into it. It took no time before my kids and I were filling up our house with foster-kitties, attending adoption events to find them homes, caring for special-needs cats. My love for animals came out of the closet, I guess. So I might differ a bit from the average animal-rescuer-caretaker-volunteer person, but yet I’m the same. As I write this, I have a foster kitty sitting on my lap – more specifically, across one of my arms. I have learned to type with partial faculties, because the needs of these animals are just sometimes much more than my own. And that’s okay. The fulfillment, the sense of satisfaction – heck, the pure receipt of appreciative affection from the animals rescued and cared for – are more than enough.
So throughout my blog, you may find links to animals in need of a home by Almost Home Foundation. It is certainly not the only animal rescue group around here, but it is a great one, and full of wonderful, perfect pets just waiting for someone to adopt them. If you live in the area, AHF has adoption events every single Saturday at local Petsmart stores. The website is Almost Home Foundation. If you aren’t nearby – there are still many groups (and animals) available, you can find out more at Petfinder.com. And with so many pets in need of homes, there certainly is no reason to go purchase one out of a store.
I hope you consider a rescued pet for adoption, or offering to volunteer with a rescue or shelter. You will make a difference in the life of animals, and they will reward you in ways you never could have imagined!