I try to use this blog as a way to help others who are trying to follow their dreams. I hope to provide some sort of roadmap (even if it’s only a sketch) so you can go out and pursue the career, endeavors, and life you want! I try to document what I’m doing and what’s working (and what’s not) in my business and writing.
But a big part of living this life of a freelancer/entrepreneur for me is being available to spend time on the things I love…but that don’t make me any money. A big part of this life is all about being available to appease my true heart and spirit for charity and service work…and, as you probably know by now, it’s all about the animals!
This weekend, something special happened. But before I get to that, I have to back up to where it began.
Back in January, my friend and fellow animal rescuer, Sarah Grooters, made it her goal to raise enough money to buy beds for every kennel at the South L.A. Animal Shelter. That’s 144 beds. And they aren’t just any beds. They are elevated, aluminum-framed, vinyl shelter-approved beds. You see, the reason most shelters don’t provide fabric beds, blankets, or even towels to their animals is because those items are difficult to manage. The beds get peed on (and worse), the dogs can tear them up and ingest them, and the shelter would need a whole team dedicated just to washing these items and maintaining them. Sarah worked with shelter staff and volunteers to choose a bed that would work.
And she set her goal.
Kim sits on the board of Lu Parker Project with Sarah. LPP, along with Shifting Gears Cycling Four Paws, Colors in Bloom, and Bark, of course, took up the challenge. We decided to use Valentine’s Day as a launching pad and created the Have a Heart, Donate a Bed Campaign. Thanks to Beth Brown’s procurement of donated flowers, we were able to give people a free bouquet and card for their $65 donation to the campaign. And more importantly, we were able to buy one bed for the shelter in their name.
Sarah didn’t have any idea this would work as well as it did. She thought it would take months to reach her goal.
Well, it didn’t take months. By February 14, we had raised over $14,000–enough to upgrade to the aluminum-framed, large size beds for every kennel.
This weekend, we got to assemble and place them in the shelter…but that’s not the really good part.
The really good part just came a second ago. Two of the tireless, amazingly committed, young shelter volunteers–Yesenia and Jamie–just let me know that some of the dogs have been sleeping on the beds ALL DAY. And some of them are even SNORING.
This makes my heart sing. Some of them can finally rest…after days, weeks, or months (or maybe their whole lives) of not being able to. It’s an incredible gift to have been able to give–a gift of relief and of comfort. It’s a tremendous thought to ponder that maybe these dogs will be able to relax, at least for a little while. That maybe they will be able to take a break from their constant barking, pacing, and gnawing at the bars in anxiety. That maybe–just maybe–they can climb up off the cold, wet floor and fall into a sleep so deep their bodies and minds might steal not only a moment to refresh and rebuild themselves, but also to dream. Maybe they’ll be able to run through fields and play fetch with little kids, and hog the bed in some really rich person’s house.
I know this isn’t the end all to total shelter overhaul. But it’s a step. And we’re going to keep at it until we DO overhaul it.
And I feel so happy and grateful that I have the time to give to this.
You don’t have to quit your job to be able to help the animals–believe me, they’ll gratefully use even just an hour of your spare time–but it’s a great, important perk to this lifestyle.
They say when you go into business for yourself, you work as much as or more than you do when you work for someone else. I have found that to be totally true. Now that I’m in business for myself, I spend a lot of time in the fast lane, busting my butt to do all the work I can get. But I also have found that I am more willing to give up my billable hours and slide into the other lane (I can’t call it the “slow lane,” cuz anyone who does animal rescue KNOWS that’s not true, so I’ll call it my “heart lane”) to serve my animal friends, even though it comes at a higher financial price.
So when you set out on your path–your glorious, unseen but need-to-be-traveled path–remember to pave it wide so you can take your heart along.
To see more photos of the bed project, click here.