Yesterday I attended a volunteer training class for homeless pets. My expectation was simple, thinking I’d hear the organization’s mission statement along with the necessary rules to follow for safety in handling animals, courtesy to the public, and anything relating to working as a team. For me, personally, it turned out to be an illuminating realization that this endeavor is much more than standing at a desk accepting abandoned, unwanted, and abused animals. After listening to the lecturers, I learned we take in animals other than dogs, cats, and the occasional rabbit. Many people will hand in ferrets, rodents of various types, pet pigs, snakes, (yes, snakes), chickens, …the list goes on. Of course, a few of these are referred to the respective expert group. The fact that not-so-traditional pets will be relinquished to a caring shelter is not what gave me my “illuminating realization”. There’s a plethora given up voluntarily or involuntarily, and this endeavor of taking in the animals must include non-judgmental and emotional strength on my part as a volunteer, more strength than originally thought. That is my illuminating realization.
Until he extends his circle of compassion to include all living things, man will not himself find peace. Albert Schweitzer