I’ve been volunteering at a shelter for about 12 years. I typically go once a week. I walk dogs, I sit with the shy and scared ones, I offer Reiki to anxious cats and dogs, I help with new volunteer orientations, I teach kittens how to play and snuggle. For the most part, the things I do there aren’t super difficult and I’m not required to spend a certain amount of time there each week. I’m able to spend as much or as little time as I wish, and that is quite convenient for my schedule.
I admire those that regularly step up to transport animals to get them closer to their forever homes. Many of our volunteers spend a good deal of their free time making calls and trying to help other rescues and individuals who might need more help. There is always something to be done when you’re involved with rescue.
A few days ago, I read a post that someone nearby had shared. They reported having seen a dog in the street as they were leaving for work. They were able to get a photo and a description of the dog, but weren’t able to stop and get the dog to safety.
If made me wonder what I would be capable of doing if I was in a similar situation. Would I be so concerned about arriving late to work that I would keep driving and just keep my fingers crossed that someone else would take care of the dog? Would I do all that I could to make sure that dog was safe?
Interestingly enough, this morning I had the opportunity to see what I’d do.
As I was heading out of my subdivision, about two streets over, at 6:05 am, in the dark, in the rain, I saw a white dog roaming the street. I did a double-take, turned my car around, rolled down my window and said “hello” to the dog. She wagged her tail and I saw that she had a collar on. I looked up and down the street thinking that someone may have just let her out for a quick pee, but all the houses were dark. So, I jumped out of the car. By this time she had crossed the street. She came right up to me very sweetly, and as I was taking a look at her tag, a friendly cat sauntered up. Evidently my dog friend, whose name I learned to be Chloe, was not a fan of the kitty and proceeded to chase him to the side yard, across the street, under a car, until the cat made his way, fearfully, about 12 feet up into a tree.
Great, now my doggy-saving mission had a new twist.
I called the number on Chloe’s tag but no one answered. Just then I realized that I had seen this dog before, and she lived just a block away. I got her into the car and to her house where her owner was waiting at the door as we arrived and was grateful for the delivery. I drove back over to the tree, hoping that the cat had found his way down. No such luck. This cat was panicking. I really didn’t know how I was going to help him, so I started talking to him. I was visualizing how he would get himself down. I really felt that he wanted to trust me and was “listening” to me. I got close to the tree, patted my hand on the trunk, and tried to show him how to go. He started one way, then the other, then began to go head first, when he suddenly lost his grip, slipped, and grabbed on for dear life. At this point he was still about 8 feet up, but he realized that the scary part was over. He was able to get himself into a position to get just a little lower and he jumped safely to the ground. He gave me a quick hiss and went on his way.
Today I answered a “call". In the grand scheme of things, this one was quite easy. The dog had a home, the cat didn’t have to spend the day in the tree. I’m sure there will be a next time. Will I be brave enough to answer?