I’m Not Like You, I Have a Life!

Not long ago, someone said to me in response to time spent on a dog’s training, “I’m not like you, I have a life.” At first I found it very insulting that my work as a rescue should be so looked down upon as somehow wasting my time here on earth. But then I thought about it, and realized how wrong it was….

Perhaps I did not take my vacation time to travel to far off places, but I did stay home and watch the antics of my dogs as they experienced the pure joy of a shredded tuggy toy.

rescued-dog-shows-gratitude-to-rescuerAnd its true, its been many years since my youth when I used to stay up all night, dancing. Now when I stay up all night, it is to watch over a very sick dog who may, at any time, need me when it’s his time to cross over.

I do not have the latest fashion of clothing in my closet. Rather my clothing is a uniform designed by dirty paws. And I wear that uniform proudly.

I’ve traded trips to the mall for trips to feed stores and pet stores. …pretty French nail jobs for calloused fingers…. my favorite TV shows for hours spent networking on Facebook.

My tears happen not when watching a soap opera or “Lifetime” movie, but when I go to the shelter and see the devastation of humanity in the form of broken bodies and spirits behind cold chain link.

My laughter happens not in comedy clubs, but after working a dog feverishly all day and night, and have him saved in the final moments of his life.

My reward for hard work is not getting the coveted “corner office” but when I see a small spark in what were the dead eyes of a bait dog…. a tail wag from a small little dog that never felt a kind hand… a touch of the nose by a feral dog that has learned to trust me enough to initiate contact on his terms.

I have experienced more joy, more pain, more pride, a stronger sense of what is important in this life than most people could ever know. And ya know what? You’re right. You aren’t like me. You may “have a life,” but I have lived!

One Reply to “I’m Not Like You, I Have a Life!”

  1. Ellen, thank you for sharing your passion. Please know you are not alone. There are others who have felt that same anguish in hopes we have wisely invested our lives. “I have a life…” can also be seen as the shallow commitment that it is. We are part of a small but growing group who finds great value in these rejected and broken bodies and spirits. My ardent wish is that our society can some day learn we can save every one of those 8-10 million beautiful lives that get snuffed out every single year due to our society’s indifference.

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