Ask people why they volunteer or get involved with us, and you’ll probably get a variety of answers. Sometimes it’s to end the suffering of animals, and other times you’ll hear people talk about sustaining the quality of the individual’s life when we can save his or her pet.
For me, it’s just realizing that we add tremendous value in both directions. And you know how often we know something and it can still surprise us when we hear it validated in some way?
Well that’s what happened to me when a woman came up to me and told me this story. Her mom has Alzheimers, and she was concerned that the nursing home her mom was in might not be treating her as well as she should. So the woman hid a small tape recorder in her mom’s apartment. At the same time she was thinking about taking her mom’s dog away, since with the escalation of the disease her mom was often forgetting to take the dog out and there were many accidents happening within the apartment.
However when the woman picked up the tape recorder and listened in she discovered two things. First, the nursing home was treating her mother wonderfully but more importantly, she said she discovered her mother’s entire existence revolved around her dog. Every sentence she was talking to the dog about something; what was on TV or the weather or about what she was going to have for lunch that day. Her mother lived for her dog.
And this is what we see all the time when we get desperate calls from people asking if we can deduct money from their Social Security checks; they’ll do anything to try to care for a beloved pet who is ill or dying. I think we’re pretty lucky since we get to truly enhance and extend the quality of life for people by helping their pets, and we get to stop the suffering by getting injured or ill animals to the vet.
Every day we hear how an animal has added joy or quality to someone’s life. Tomorrow will be another story…