It’s been said that you don’t have to meet a person or even talk to them to know their heart. I feel that I know yours. When volunteering at the Nova Scotia SPCA Dartmouth shelter last week, I saw the beautiful card and thoughtful letter you wrote to the staff there, along with a donation for the animals in their care. I don’t know your last name and can’t say thank you personally, so I decided to write this letter hoping you or your parents will see it.
Your letter said that you had just turned 11. You are so bright and articulate for someone your age. Your words carried much wisdom. Perhaps one day you will use your talents to write a book for kids about homeless animals.
The shelter staff really appreciates your words of support: “You guys mean so much to me and lots of other people. There may be Superman and Spiderman but, in my heart, the super heroes are the ones who help animals. Keep doing what you guys do, keep smiling and loving animals.” I know that staff will continue to work hard to live up to your vote of confidence. And I agree with you 100 per cent. Their work is definitely not easy. But to them, their work isn’t just a job — it’s a calling.
Every day, shelter employees witness the sadness of animal neglect and cruelty. But their passion is stronger than their heartache. They draw upon their patience and love for animals in order to restore broken bodies and spirits. Resilience becomes a huge part of their own character, as they marvel in the resilience of the sick, injured and abandoned animals they care for. Their hearts are lifted by the tireless dedication of countless volunteers that work alongside them to make a life-changing difference in the lives of homeless animals.
For all the pain, there’s a great deal of joy when they see animals learn to trust, open up and begin to bloom. And though it’s hard to say goodbye to an animal you’ve looked after and become attached to emotionally, when the perfect ‘forever’ home is found, it makes it all worthwhile. It’s a reminder of why they do what they do and their hearts are full again.
Your letter said that you have three adopted pets — one dog and two cats — and “that they mean the world to me. They help me through my anxiety.” It’s great to hear that your pets are an important part of your family. And it’s wonderful to know that they’re helping you with your anxiety. I hope that other kids and adults with anxiety read this letter and learn that having a pet can be a huge support to them. How do pets help? They’re always ready and willing to cuddle, and caressing a pet is very calming. When things seem overwhelming, pets take your mind off your worries while you focus on meeting their needs.
When you’re anxious, it can be scary to be alone. A pet means you’ll always have a buddy with you, someone to talk to. Pets are also good listeners and will never try to fix you. They give you unconditional love and accept you for who you are. You can feel free to be anxious around your pet because they will never judge you. They simply sit there and love you, and sometimes, that’s all you need.
So Molly, thank you for touching my heart with your kind-giving spirit. You are proof that every person, no matter how big or small, can make a difference in the lives of homeless animals.
Judy Layne lives in Hackett’s Cove with her husband and their two adopted pets. A lifelong animal lover, Judy is a volunteer with the NS SPCA.