Tag Archives: volunteering

Loves and Hates, But No List

A few people have asked me if I’m planning to do a 10 things I love/ 10 things I hate post. As I begin writing this post, I have no idea. It seems daunting to me to narrow in on 10 of each. And so many bloggers described some of my own loves and hates so beautifully.

How do I decide if I want to use foods or actions or sensory moments? And how many of each–in what proportion? For each one I write I’d be forgetting 10 (or 100) others that I might love more. Or hate more.

Then there is the notion of starting with loves and endings with hates. I don’t want to leave you with the negative. So I think I’d start with what I hate just so that I can end with what I love. But if I do that, readers might get saddened or burned out too quickly and not read far enough to get to the loves!

Probably the biggest thing holding me back is that it’s so tempting to go with the “small” or “local.” The pet peeves. The comfort foods. But what about world peace? An end to all war, to poverty, to famine?

Ay Yi Yi! Oy! Holy crap!

So I’ll just sprinkle a few out here that come to my mind at this instant.

I hate that a lady dumped her kitty at the no-kill shelter I volunteer at because she was moving in with her son. For months, the stressed out cat won’t leave the door of the cat room. We’ve set up her bed, food, and water on a stand next to the door so she can live there. When other cats jump up on the stand, she hisses until they jump back down. Last week hubby and I discovered the poor kitty is THIRTEEN YEARS OLD. She still thinks her “Mom” is coming back for her, but her dear mother hasn’t even checked on her. Abby’s story isn’t that unusual, but for Abby it’s her whole life that’s at stake. And her life is miserable. If my oldest cat wasn’t in stage 4 kidney failure (with diabetes and a bad heart) I would persuade hubby that she’s our next rescue, but it’s not possible right now. And so Abby waits. At the door. For her missing mother.

See what I mean? You want to read 10 of those? Heartbreaking.

I love that I get to work at the shelter, cleaning, scooping, feeding, reading to, and loving cats in need. I love their sweet open hearts. And I love how my heart has swelled to a larger size so that it encompasses as many cats as necessary.  The heart is an organ of infinite size in a finite body.

Randomly, I also love the old pop song that is known in the U.S. as “Sukiyaki” and sung by Japanese singer Kyu Sakamoto. There is no music more beautiful than this song.

After I listen to the song 9 or 10 times, hubby shrieks (yes, shrieks) at me to turn it off.  I never get tired of it. There are other versions, such as by A Taste of Honey, but Sakamoto’s is my favorite. He’s got a gorgeous crooner voice.

I also love pan fried zucchini, fresh raspberries, the smell of a rain-soaked landscape. But those aren’t as important as my family, my cats, my books, and my memories.

How do you approach the loves and hates list? Feel free to post a link to your love/hate post in the comments!

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Filed under Blogging, Cats and Other Animals, Inspiration, Memoir, Writing

Getting Hubby Out of the Home Office

Hubby and I were “orientated” to volunteer at our local no-kill animal shelter. We particularly want to help socialize cats. That is something we both know how to do. We have four elderly cats. They all love humans. One day I will have to write character sketches of these, um, characters who live in our house. Now that they are all old at the same time, they are a ton of work. So I truly can’t handle any more cats right now, but that doesn’t mean I don’t want to help some more!

The orientation was led by the director, a personable and caring lady who seems like such a great caretaker of the animals. After the talk, we went on a tour of the facility. It used to be a daycare, so there are various features: a cage around the front door so nobody can get out onto the busy street, rooms for sick animals who are recovering, a social room for cats, and kennels for dogs. Out back, the playground has been divided into large pens and runs. The dogs have some exercise equipment out back. It’s all very nice and clean. They plan to put up some shade for the dogs in the yard before summer.

The animals live at the shelter until they are adopted. Those who cannot be adopted have a home for life, but the shelter is not a sanctuary. Their goal is to adopt out as many animals as possible. They want to find the best homes for their animals, too. Cats must go to people who agree to keep them indoors entirely, and they cannot be declawed. Arizona is not a safe place outside for cats: coyotes, owls, hawks, and a myriad of other dangers.

What I learned is that Maricopa County (where Phoenix is located) has a high kill rate at the pound. And that by far the majority of dogs there are pit bulls/pittie mixes and chihuahua mixes. So very sad. By the way, there were two pit bull type dogs I met last night that were simply the sweetest dogs ever. If you’re in the Phoenix area, check them out.

Because of my bum foot I can’t handle large dogs or dogs in a group setting like this, but I did learn that they allow volunteers to take dogs for outings. The dog you take out for a walk or to the park or wherever wears a little “Adopt Me” vest so that strangers see that this dog needs a home.  I will give that a try with one of the small dogs and see how it goes.

This shelter has a good relationship with PetSmart which houses some of their animals for them. PetSmart, with the help of shelter volunteers, also showcases the animals every weekend at their stores. And PetSmart donates goods to the shelter, which the shelter then sells as a fundraiser. You can purchase low price collars, kennels, and the like there.

Mainly, hubby and I want to play with and cuddle the cats and kittens in the cat room. Last time I told you about meeting the Mayor. He was king of the cat room last night. His name is Henry, and he has a dignified, but outgoing personality. There were fluffy gray kittens and many other cats. One mama cat was isolated in a cage with her kittens so that they could feed in peace.

My photos stink because when I tried snapping pix, even surreptitiously, other new volunteers gave me the stink eye. So I will wait and take pix later of the kitties in the cat room!

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Above are the photos of some hopeful animals. Let’s face it, they all want to go home with YOU.

(Tagging this post “research and prep for writing” because there have got to be some stories behind the bars . . .).

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Filed under Arizona, Cats and Other Animals, Essay, Inspiration, Nonfiction, Research and prep for writing, Writing