Monday, December 12, 2011

The Heart of Helping

We received a contribution with a note inside. We wanted to share the message with you. We felt it is not only to RVAS, but to every individual, group and/or organization that rescues animals.

Dear Raccoon Valley,

Words of gratitude can not be expressed enough for taking the kittens that the dog saved. We have never met, nor had I ever heard of your organization until the other day when I read the kitten story on the internet. I'm sure, like many others, it touched my heart with both grief and relief. Incredibly saddened for the cruelty of our society, and the loss of life, and relief that two were found and saved, and didn't die equally horrific deaths. That is where my letter should end.

I was sickened that our society are not a species advanced enough to refrain from this form of cruelty  and horrified that our laws are not tough enough for those who do. That our own state laws are so vague that even if the person/persons who did it were caught, the punishment would never fit the crime. When is the punishment going to fit the crime?

My day was full of activities with work, to taking my kids to their after school activities, and by the time I got off of work, got home, got everyone fed, it was time to drop my girls off at dance class and take our boy to Karate. Hours later I would return home with crew in hand and help them with their homework and by then it would be time to go bed. In short, my day was full. As mortified as I was when I initially read it, my day was so full that I never thought twice about the horrific story I read a few hours earlier. I was simply too busy!

I lied awake that evening, with images flashing through my mind of the horror these tiny helpless creatures must have felt. Hoping and praying that the wee ones that didn't make it felt no pain or suffering. Then turning to anger to our society as a the person/persons who would perform such an act of cruelty, to the lawmakers who waste our time and money on trivial non-life threatening subjects rather than worthy causes that would prevent animal cruelty. To disgust of how can any organization turn this woman or the kittens, both pleading for help...away???!

So there I bed....exhausted, and the story kept going through my head over and over again. I sat up in bed, and went downstairs and this is what poured out of my soul.

"I read the story this morning. I was moved by it. I was angered by it. I was disgusted by it. Then I went about my day and returned home thankful that someone else took care of it.

And I did nothing.

I didn't contribute. I didn't say thank you. I didn't voice my disgust or anger to anyone. I didn't share the story. I didn't comment on a single news article. I didn't post it on any social network. I didn't tweet or text it. I didn't even cry.

I did nothing. I went about my day as if it never happened. Perhaps it was too awful of a thought to carry around all day. Perhaps I was counting on others to handle it. Perhaps, I was just too busy to give it a second thought.

So I'm writing this letter to apologize. I'm sorry that I'm not a person that can handle the horrific details of animal rescue and be a noble rescuer of the innocent. But I'm grateful to those of you who do!

I'm sorry that I have become so desensitized by the bad news of our society, that while this story bothered me a great took me until the end of the day for it to really sink in, the magnitude of the cruelty by members of our society. I'm so grateful that the dog's owner didn't follow in my footsteps on that tragic day, but instead stopped, listened and stepped forward to help these precious lives immediately.

I'm sorry that I profess to be an animal lover, and yet have done little for the animals or those who try to help them, except to be a responsible pet owner myself. But that ends now!

I can start by sending you this. A small contribution to say thank you. And a promise, that I will never look the other way again. That I will find a way each month to help an animal in need, somewhere, somehow, large or small, so that in the future, when I profess my love for animals...I'm living up to my word.

You have set an example of what an animal lover should be. To love, to care for, to save, even when it's the hardest. Even when it's not convenient. Even when we don't want to. No excuses, just action. I feel very blessed to have come across the kitten story. As my heart was touched deeply by tragedy and triumph of the story, my soul was reached by those of you who never gave up and whom I've never met. It's by your example I wish to follow...not only to help animals...but to support those who, like myself, want to make the world a better place.

And for that, I am grateful!"

Newfounded Humbled Supporter


  1. We appreciated this letter so much and wanted to share it with all who rescue or have rescued an animal companion. Please know there is one person who has a deeper appreciation of what we do...and wasn't afraid to share his/her heart too!

    And for that WE are grateful!

  2. I understand the letter. Too often we look away and don't want to get involved. The dog did what so many of us should do without a second thought but just don't. I said it before and I will say again we should take a lesson from the dog who got involved.

  3. Linda.R.Blakely@gmail.comDecember 12, 2011

    Interesting perspectives on this letter.

    I took it as a compliment to all rescuers...not just RVAS. That she recognized and was grateful for the work that they do, the selflessness and realized that while she was going about her day wishing someone would do something...someone else DID do something.

    That's how I took it. Either was a beautiful letter.

  4. Wow! What a powerful letter. I too, used to be a person who looked the other way. Not because I didn't care, but because I knew the magnitude of the need was so great that anything I did would be just a small drop in the bucket. But I've learned that even a small drop can make a difference. And if many of us make small drops in the bucket, together we can work to make our society one in which every living creature will be respected for what they are. I'm not every family to have a menagerie in their home. But all creatures deserve to live a life with respect for their being. Those feedlot cattle? They'd like some shade and really, it's not that great to stand in mud up to their elbows. That guinea pig you aren't so fond of, it's not okay to let it go without water when your child forgets to take care of it. We can all do something to help make a difference. Please join us!!

  5. that is such an awesome letter! in some ways i wish i could have just gone on with my day after hearing this story but unfortunately it has consumed my thoughts! but then i have also seen and been encouraged by the good storie shared too! thank you for sharing! XOXO Mandy Keep up he wonderful work!!!

  6. That letter is incredibly inspiring. How often do our good intentions go astray just because we're tired and just don't feel like taking the dogs out for a walk? I know I'm guilty. I'm going to copy that letter and keep it handy just to remind myself that whenever I profess my love for animals ...I live up to my word and turn my words into actions! As my father used to say, "Don't tell me, show me." Good advice back then ...still is.

  7. To the Author of this letter:

    I rarely share my thoughts publicly. Thank you for this beautiful letter.

    Your courage to share your thoughts to the world has inspired me to leave my comfort zone and to share a few of my thoughts.

    I admire and respect those who work as rescuers for the animals. I cringe at the media when I read the horrible things people do and often don't finish the article because I don't want to know the outcome. Now I realize that perhaps I missed a way I could have helped.

    I openly admit I don't have the heart to see animals trapped behind cages so therefore, don't volunteer at our local shelter.

    And I have never had the courage to contact the police or tell anyone my concerns about a dog that lives down the street from me chained most of the time.

    I realized from your letter that I'm just one of many in our society, who has made choices like these leaving animals victims in the hands of careless and thoughtless people while those who DO care work so hard to save them.

    I never would have thought of myself as a selfish person, until now. I think the story of these kittens has many lessons if we choose to listen.

    A selfless act on the dog to save these kittens.
    The kittens instinct to survive even in the worst case scenario.
    The woman who rescued and cared for them and her perseverance to find a safe place for them.
    And the rescuers that quietly cared for them, claiming it's all in a day's work, never expecting anything in return.

    My lesson is to make better choices in the future. I AM an animal lover...and I intend on breaking my comfort zone a little bit more, and finding a way to help more often...and to share with others how they can help.

    And to the rescuers of Raccoon Valley. No thank you is big enough for the work you do. I read many of your "rescue" stories from your website. BeBe was my favorite because you helped the owner keep their dog. I know of no other shelter or rescue who would reach out like your organization does.

    I'm a true supporter of yours and will make sure I vocalize that in the future!

  8. Anonymous:

    Thank you for the beautiful comment and for your support!

    I do want to let you know that there are numerous small group or even individually run state licensed rescues and shelters that would have and have done similar for dogs like BeBe!

    These are the folks that the media doesn't know about, or who's stories aren't told. In many cases, it's because they are busy caring for the animals, and have no marketing department.

    As far as your comfort zone, stepping out is always good. But you really don't have to go to far to help. If you enjoy writing, and want to tell the story, perhaps volunteering that skill to help a small organization post descriptions of their animals, for example, on pet portals, or write success stories, or "special needs" stories? Lead a monthly newsletter for them, even if it is just one page.

    There are so many ways people can help...and until we know what it is you enjoy doing, we can't match you up!

    Again, thank you...I hope you find a way your niche into the animal welfare world. Whenever you will be cherished!