What My Shelter Means to Me: Lakeland Animal Shelter

February 13, 2012  

StubbyDog Essay Contest Runner Up


By Amy Amann

My animal shelter means so many different things to me. Most things you would expect but also quite a few that you might not.

• My animal shelter has made me proud to be a volunteer.
• It has brought passion into my soul.
• It has given me a platform from which I can make a difference in my community.
• It means I have Emma, the most adorable rescue dog in the world, who brings me great joy and happiness.
• It means I have Chopper. My buddy. My Mama’s Boy. The absolute best guy to cuddle up with.
• It has meant tears of sadness, and it has meant great joy.
• It has meant heartbreaking loss, and it has also meant happy tails of love meant to be.
• It has meant great anger and frustration at mankind.
• It has forever changed my characterization of a “stray” dog.
• It has also meant enormous admiration for the gentle souls who walk through the door seeking to rescue their next family member from their homeless status in this world. The ones who don’t come in searching for a perfect little puppy or a specific breed of dog. The ones who walk through the kennels searching the eyes for a simple connection.
• Yes, my animal shelter means so many different things to me.
• But right now, at this very moment, it means Petunia.

(photo below)

Petunia is my project dog. She is a 4-year-old pit bull mix. She is mostly white with some black spots, one of which is placed directly on her right eye. She also has the cutest pink accents on her face as well as on her oddly pointed ears. She is a bundle of energy. She is smart. She is loyal. She is an affectionate love bug who thinks she’s a lap dog.

The project is to make her more adoptable, to work on her training and obedience, and to help her find her forever family. That’s the official scope of the project.

The unofficial scope of the project is to help her keep her sanity during this difficult phase of her life. To keep an eye on her health and make sure she doesn’t get too skinny due to the stress. To be her person and to love her until she has a family of her own. She might be homeless, but she will never be person-less under my watch.

This is the when your animal shelter can mean a lot of things that you didn’t expect.

• What you didn’t expect is to fall in love with your project dog.
• What you didn’t expect is that the sight of your face will make her squirm and wiggle with great excitement because today is one of the days you came.
• What you didn’t expect is that guilt will sit in your heart if you go more than a few days without spending time with her.
• What you didn’t expect is that finding her a shelter friend she can have play-dates with will bring such a huge smile to your face.
• What you didn’t expect is to cuddle up with your own dogs at home and suddenly be brought to tears at the vision of her laying on the concrete floor, staring out the fenced gate wondering why you didn’t come visit her today.
• What you didn’t expect is that you will sneak her an extra blanket on a cold night because you’re worried for her comfort and warmth.
• What you didn’t expect is that you will pray to God to find her a family that will love her forever.
• What you didn’t expect is that when your prayers are finally answered and you watch her new family load her up in the car and drive off while she watches your face fade away that you will cry tears of such bittersweet emotions.

Courage, happiness, sadness, joy, worry, love, persistence.

Yes, my animal shelter means so many different things to me, both expected and unexpected.

But right now, at this very moment, it means Petunia.

Lakeland Animal Shelter/Lakeland Animal Welfare Society is located in Elkhorn, Wis.

« « Minnie Pearl and Ruby Lu | A Valentine’s Day Wish » »

Comments

One Response to “What My Shelter Means to Me: Lakeland Animal Shelter”
  1. SarahSauls says:

    Well this had me on the verge of tears. So incredibly sweet!