Monday, August 07, 2006

One Person CAN Make A Difference

You have heard people say, "What can only one person do?" Well, I am about to tell you.

Let me preface this with "I am not tooting my horn, that of my daughter's or anyone else for that matter. Just want to be clear on that one."

This post is really about what one person can achieve if she sets her heart to it. (Notice I didn't say mind?) My daughter loves animals, all animals, even the little ones with tiny, creepy, crawly legs. Since infancy, she has been fascinated with bugs and has taught me to appreciate them in a way I never would or could have before. In her mind, they are just another part of the animal kingdom, just a really tiny alcove tucked somewhere between the big cats and the birds.

Many times she has shed genuine tears over the death of a bug. She understands the distinction between the "good bugs" and the "bad bugs." This lesson was necessary. We do live in the south, where lots of bad bugs absolutely must, well, die at the mercy of a big shoe or Mr. Terminix himself.

You can see how a child who so fervently loves insects would just dote over the cute, cuddly animals like cats and dogs. You can also understand how tender hearted a child like this could be.

One day I was applying my Maybelline to hide or enhance something or other and my daughter walked in sheepishly, her face in her hands, sobbing.

She said, "I wish Maggie wasn't so cranky so that I could help all of the homeless animals." And then she wailed.

Our cat has post-traumatic stress disorder from a dog attack. And she is just an old lady, "no other animal is going to live under this roof" kind of cat. So, adoption of a dog or any other animal is just out of the question while Maggie graces this green earth.

I explained to my daughter that we can help animals without bringing all of them home. And, even if we didn't have Maggie, we could not adopt absolutely every homeless cat, dog, or other cute creature in the world. So, at that moment, in our bathroom, between the mascara and the lipstick, we made a pact- To go to a local shelter, find out what we could do, and do it. Together.

That is exactly what we did.

After researching and finding a local "no kill" dog shelter, we went for a visit and spoke to the manager. She was very excited that my little girl wanted to really do something for these needy animals. In addition to dog toys, food, treats, and harnesses, she told us that they always need old towels, blankets or other soft items for the dogs to sleep on. We purchased some of the items, and yes, I splurged a little. How often does your child go shopping and ask for nothing for herself?

Over the weekend we took her little red wagon and went door to door asking for donations. I let her do the talking and I just added some facts here and there. You would be amazed at what she was able to collect! People just opened their hearts. Of course, a little freckle-faced girl had some influence, I'm sure. One lady asked us to come back later so that she "could really collect some things that would help, not just grab a few items." She wound up giving us several old towels (that smelled freshly laundered) and some old men's t-shirts. We had a wagon load when we got home, and we only visited a few houses.

The manager of the shelter was thrilled at what my daughter had collected. But, the happiest one of all was a golden retriever named "Jake." Jake had arrived at the shelter after being beaten by his owner. He is now very healthy, with a wagging tail, a shiny coat, and a new ball. My daughter was able to toss it over the cage to him. Her smile was even bigger than his.

On our way home, I told her to always remember that one person can make a difference in this world. You just have to be willing to try.

I know that Jake and the other precious pups will remember too.


Tammy said...

That is awesome. You definately have a sweet little girl and it also shows that you are raising her right!

I think that is a wonderful lesson for all of us to person can make a difference!

Thank you for sharing this!

Laurel Wreath said...

Neat neat!!!

Brenda said...

What a sweet little girl, and what a great example you are for her and for all of us. We do need to remember that one person can make a difference, and then remember to act on it.

Anonymous said...

This is such a SWEET story! About three years ago, my daughter was babysitting a friend's daughter (it was her summer job that year). They decided to have a lemonade stand to raise money for our local animal shelter.

They raised over $20 in one short afternoon, with the mailman giving them a $20 bill. We bought some dog food and took everything to the shelter.

It was very heartwarming, to say the least! You are person CAN make a difference! If only everyone had that attitude! 1+1+1+1...

BTW, I got my third dog as a result of donating those items. I saw my Molly there and had to take her home! And the giving goes on...