We've got a new set up in one of the small office spaces in the wellness area with the addition of a couch, chair, and, most importantly, some privacy. This afternoon the tiny room with the big furniture should have felt crowded with 2 adults, a large golden retriever, and a beagle filling it up. Yet it didn't, as they had condensed themselves into a huddle on the couch, trying to take up the least amount of space possible, not only physically, but also by being very conscientious and respectful of our work flow and routine.
As I entered the room, tear streaked faces asked for help. The couple had lost everything, and "could you please, please ma'am, find our pets a good home". As we discussed their future, the dogs kept looking at their owners for reassurance, and finding it, having no idea that their lives were about to change.
Together, we worked out a plan. The huddle relaxed, and then expanded to fill up the room. Shoulders lowered, smiles emerged out of gratitude, and tears continued to flow, but this time from relief. We gathered food, new dog beds, treats, toys, and phone numbers to send home with the foursome, and a plan for the dogs to come in next week to give us some time to find foster homes. The beds were sent home today so the pooches could get used to them and have something familiar to take to their new homes.
Today's events fit in with the new direction Angels of Assisi is taking- keeping animals out of the local pounds and providing workable solutions for the families in our community. This particular story does not have a freedom ride leaving the pound social media photo blitz, and it will not have a saved from the kill list at the last minute shout out, for the simple reason that these ten year old dogs will not end up at the pound. What this story does have is a family at peace with a difficult situation, a plan in place for the care of their animals, and something learned so that those behind them may have similar outcomes. And, perhaps best of all, it has a smiling beagle, and there ain't nothin' better than that.
Empathy is not simply a matter of trying to imagine what others are going through,
but having the will to muster enough courage to do something about it.
In a way, empathy is predicated upon hope.
- Cornel West