Recently I wrote about the kind of passion that gives life meaning, which got me thinking about the origins of my own life’s passions. Pardon the navel-gazing, but I thought I would try in this post to trace the history of one of my passions, animals.
I have always loved animals. Like most kids, we had dogs and cats growing up. Growing up on a farm, we also had horses, cattle, pigs and the occasional duck. Although the livestock were primarily that and not pets, we did have show calves. I also remember helping my parents nurse orphaned pigs and calves under heat lights.
I acquired my first dog of my own, Leo, a red chow, in my early twenties. Not having a child yet, I’m sure I used him somewhat as a child substitute. When he was a puppy, I took him to puppy kindergarten, where he earned a certificate only because the instructor hoped not to see us anymore, I’m sure, and I worried about his vet visits, deworming and housetraining.
I would say Leo was the catalyst for my becoming involved with volunteering and eventually becoming a board member with the local humane society, PAWS. When I joined the organization, community strays were kept in a crude, common run. Due to the hard work of a few of the group’s members, the community has now had a state-of-the-art shelter for the past fifteen years. Although my involvement decreased after adopting my child, I still try to occasionally volunteer for them at fundraising events and portable adoption days.
Likewise, my involvement with PAWS eventually led me to joining another group, KCAP, which basically serves to provide legal and other advocacy on animal welfare issues. Currently we are supporting legislation and keeping a spreadsheet on animal cruelty cases in the state, which btw was once again ranked last in the nation by ALDF, the Animal Legal Defense fund, for animal cruelty laws.
I do hope that my work with animals will at least have a positive effect on my son, who loves his dog and other animals as well.
Well, I don’t know that this trip down memory lane has been particularly illuminating, but it was fun to reminisce. Thanks for listening!