For the past few years, I had been telling friends that I wanted to find a cause to devote my spare time, energy and applicable talents. Until 2010, that target had eluded me. But for the past year, I have had the biggest sense of fulfillment working with Baypath Humane Society in Hopkinton.
I’ve done the dirtiest of jobs there, including washing the dog and cat dishes and litter boxes almost every Sunday morning, and I’ve done the jobs that some would consider the most fun, such as writing the memos that make prospective adoptees fall in love with the dogs.
I’ve spent countless hours cuddling, walking, grooming, petting, and playing with the amazing animals that have graced us with their presence. I’ve gotten over my breed snobbery and have learned to embrace the unique qualities that lie within each and every animal that comes to our door.
I’ve fostered four cats in total and wound up adopting one. And that one has shown me that patience leads to emotional prosperity as I have gotten more joy from my Penny, who has diabetes, than I could have ever imagined. She is a sweet girl who has shown such fight in the face of terrible odds. She continues to amaze me with her perseverance and determination to be strong and healthy. I feel lucky to have had the privilege of adopting her this year.
I’ve had the chance to help raise much needed funds for the shelter through our annual yard sale, walk and alumni reunion, 5K, corporate events, and other efforts. Knowing that Aly, a handsome boy that arrived earlier in the year, was able to get two new hips thanks to all the money we raised over the year was an incredibly gratifying feeling. Times that by the thousands of animals that received medical care as well as spaying and neutering and you can see where fundraising becomes critical to our little nonprofit.
I’ve been able to use my writing skills to get publicity for the shelter’s mission, events and individual animals. Working in conjunction with our local papers, we’ve been able to reach out to the community at large and engage them in our no-kill rescue mission.
I’ve made lifetime friends. It’s unbelievable how many wonderful people put their hearts out in that tiny building on 5 Rafferty Road in Hopkinton. I’ve had the tremendous honor to meet many of them. We all work in concert to ensure that animals who have never known love or trust come to see us a safe haven and a solid transition to their forever homes. Recently, when we were looking for Fritzy, the lost Labrador who was later found, I paired up with a volunteer I had never met before and by the time we were done searching we had built a great rapport. The truth is everyone there has an unbreakable common bond – the welfare of dogs and cats everywhere.
Finally, I’ve had the enormous satisfaction of knowing that I’ve soothed many a frightened dog, bathed a beautiful dog back to his proud stature, nurtured a trio of wily kittens, and huddled with too-sick adult cats. All of these have been experiences that have widened my world and brought immense meaning to my life.
So now that I’ve found a place for passion, here’s to 2011 and all of the shelter moments it has in store for me.