Sunday, November 20, 2011

Answering the Critics

When I first started the Master's of Public Administration program at Eastern Washington University I wasn't exactly sure what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. I was still loving everything about KREM and thought this would just be a nice backup plan. My first few papers for the program I wrote about DUI laws and drunk driving policies. I've been a supporter of MADD all my life ((see the other blog)). But my professors kept telling me to find something I was passionate about and write about that for my two years there. Then Spokane County Commissioner Todd Mielke came to one of my classes to talk about switching over to regional animal control ((something that still hasn't happened in Spokane County)). I decided to write a case study based on his plan and from there on out I knew I wanted to go into animal welfare policy.

The critics tell me I should be more worried about homeless people than homeless pets. Or, that I should help  people in need instead of animals in need. I'm not sure why it is we can only love one or the other, people or animals, but I've been told that's the case. What I think a lot of people don't get is that animals help people. Even though we abuse them, neglect them, lock them up, and kill them, animals still love the company of humans. I can't say my heart is that big. I can't continue to love people through the horribleness they inflict ((believe me I wish I could)) but animals can.

When I was volunteering at the Tri-City Union Gospel Mission as a  clothes sorter I really felt like I was making a difference. I loved the women who came every Monday morning to go through old clothes in order to help the homeless make a better life for themselves. At the Mission, it is very common for those who come in as homeless to end up getting a job there. This was the case with the man in charge of the men's clothing. About three months into my volunteering, we found out he had been stealing the clothes for himself and selling them for drug money. He was fired and told to leave the Mission. My heart broke.

Also while living in Kennewick I volunteered as a greeter in the ER on Saturday nights into Sunday mornings. I can't tell you how many times I was yelled at over the wait, tried to calmly explain to drunk idiots who had gotten into bar fights why they couldn't see their friend in the back, or even watched as grieving family members came in to find out their loved one didn't make it out of the car wreck alive. Again. Heartbreaking.

There are amazing people out there who have the heart for this kind of work, I am not one of them. I have a heart for those who are grateful and give their love back and so far I've only found that in those locked behind doors at animal shelters. My goal is to make people's lives better indirectly by helping them discover their very own Missaroo and Mister too. I would not be the person I am today without the help and unconditional love of the Missaroo and it is that love that I want to spread to others. And I don't think that's a bad way to spend the rest of my life or something that should be frown upon either.

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