I met some amazing volunteers from Philadelphia ACCT at an adoption event a few weekends ago. I was volunteering at the LCPO table, and they were happy to see two of their former Pen Palls out of the shelter and in foster homes. After a few moments of chatting, we were hitting it off about positive training, force free methods, reactive dogs, and pack walks. I give the volunteers from ACCT a ton of credit. I can do my occasional “fostering” thing in the comfort of my own home and get some feel-good vibes, but they are the ones doing the real work. It’s rare for me to walk into the dog adoption area and not leave crying. It’s the epitome of human negligence and abuse. To know that these dogs have done nothing but aim to please, it is painful to see them given up on. Typically they lay in sad condition, hoping that you will be the one to change their life. Sometimes they are so broken, their eyes simply ask you to be gentle because they have been hurt in the past. Others are optimistic, youthful and unfazed, jumping and crying for you to love them. But among the trembling dogs cowered in the corner, or the ones too depressed to stand, or the sick and emaciated souls who could never deserve their fate; they are surrounded by some of the most amazing people in this world. Shelter volunteers are special. They are selfless. They do not cause the problem of overpopulation and abuse. Yet they work tirelessly to provide a few moments of joy to these dogs who may have never felt the affectionate touch of a human, or had the pleasure of snuggling in lap.
My point, I suppose, is that I met these wonderful volunteers who do such much for the abandoned dogs in Philadelphia. And they have continued to give of themselves in order to help me and Leroy. Not only did they introduce me their landlord, who may be able to provide Pit Bull friendly living for me in the upcoming year; but they took the time to use their wonderful dog Ollie to help Leroy build some confidence and work on training. We’ve had two great pack walks so far, and I am thankful to them for their friendship and support. Most of all, I am grateful that there are people in this world who are stronger than me. People who can go into a shelter like ACCT, and keep going back. Because they love the dogs that this world has failed. They work for them, they advocate, they preach, they give. And when they love a dog that is failed by humanity, they go back to save the next one.
Rochelle and Aaran, thank you. Thank you for every time your heart was broken, but you went back anyway. Thank you for walking that one last dog before heading home. Thank you for caring and hoping for the best. Thank you for helping that family find the perfect dog. Thank you for all the love you have to give. Thank you for your passion. Thank you for always giving more. Thank you for advocating.
I am sorry for your loss. ❤ He lives on through you, and in every dog you save.