08/01/2012

On Volunteering.

My New Year's Resolution for last year, 2011, was to start volunteering at a dog and cat shelter. I kept that resolution, even though later than I intended, and today I want to tell you about my experience.

I'd always wanted to volunteer. When I was in college, I started blogging for an animal rights organization, trying to find homes for homeless dogs. And of course I always signed PETA's protest letters to improve conditions of animals around the world. But something was always missing: that hands-on approach, the possibility to actually DO something myself, not just write blog posts or sign letters encouraging others to do something.

I first started volunteering about two months ago, in a cat and dog shelter outside Milan. With the dogs, I started out after first taking a class (in our shelter, everyone has to take a course to learn different dog behavior and how to act around dogs) and seeing an experienced volunteer worker take a dog for a walk.

The following weekend, I went back to the shelter with one of the girls that I met in the class and we took a couple of dogs for a walk. Our volunteering activity consists in little more than taking the dogs for walks: the shelter workers feed, train and clean them, and all they need from us volunteers is activity, diversity and just long walks. And I never thought a simple walk could do this much for me, as well as for the animals.

The cat shelter is a different story. David came with me to the class, which took about half an hour. There are quite few volunteers at the cat shelter, because the work consists in cleaning litter boxes, sweeping floors and washing food and water bowls. But there's also the task of cuddling with the cats (yes, that's a real task) which I love.

If you're thinking about volunteering, I have to say: go for it. Find a cause that's close to your heart, be it animals, children, the elderly, the environment, the homeless, whatever you like, and commit to it. Before volunteering, I often felt depressed because of all the animal cruelty in the world. Now, I still feel devastated when I see how truly atrocious some humans are, but at least I know I'm trying to do my part for the animals. It's still nowhere near enough, but at least I'm trying.

And, well, I don't know if you watched that episode of Friends where Phoebe tried to prove Joey wrong by doing "selfless deeds", but I actually think Joey was right: all the good things we do, in the end we do them for ourselves as well as for the cause. When the alarm goes off at 8 on Sunday mornings, I never wish I could stay in bed. And when I leave the shelter, I always feel elated. Volunteering is the most powerful antidepressant ever.




Pinned Image


Pinned Image


pictures from Pinterest


15 comments:

  1. You go girl! Grymt jobbat, blir så inspirerad!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Sofie: tack, vad glad jag blir!

    ReplyDelete
  3. oh thanks :) ♥
    omg theese puppies are so sweet ♥
    i love animals :) , really ♥

    bisous xxx

    ReplyDelete
  4. Love that you're such an animal rights & cruelty free activist, every-time I read your blog it inspires me to try and be a bit better on my habits like eating meat/using more cruelty free products.
    xx


    The Urban Umbrella
    xoxo

    ReplyDelete
  5. Io non potrei mai fare volontariato con gli animali. Li adoro, ma sono troppo sensibile e rischierei di star male solo pensando che sono stati abbandonati e non hanno una famiglia...

    ReplyDelete
  6. Ja visst är det underbart! Finns nog inget liknande i världen :)

    ReplyDelete
  7. Urban Umbrella: thank you so much! This is the entire purpose of Coffee and Heels and I'm so happy I'm inspiring someone. If you change your habits just a little, it means a lot!!

    Mia: lo so lo pensavo anch'io. Peró non é che stanno lí a soffrire e piangere tutto il tempo. Il nostro canile é bello, in mezzo alla natura, i cani escono almeno due volte al giorno, hanno una dieta specifica, e vivono anche momenti di felicitá. Certo, non é come avere una famiglia, ma tanti vengono anche adottati!

    ReplyDelete
  8. ricordo benissimo quella puntata e concordo con te, ma se far del bene agli altri fa stare bene anche te... l'importante è che ci sia "anche"! sai che ci pensavo proprio primadi natale di informarmi dal mio veterinario... non avendo animali "impegnosi" (5 criceti) volevo fare qualcosa anche io...

    ReplyDelete
  9. Labibu: brava! Che bella cosa. Vedrai che ti troverai bene!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Davvero una bellissima iniziativa!

    http://thestyleattitude.blogspot.com/

    ReplyDelete
  11. Awwwww so sweet! You and those pics both. :)

    ReplyDelete
  12. Brava!
    Io mi occupo di una piccola colonia felina del mio quartiere, oltre a prendermi cura di altri gatti e di un cane che vivono a casa con me.
    Il sacrificio c'è, richiedono tanto impegno, ma l'amore che ti danno è una ricompensa ben più grande rispetto alla fatica.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Biancaneve: che bello, brava! Sono d'accordo per quanto riguarda la fatica e l'amore!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Questa cosa ti rende onore!! Io nel mio piccolo mi occupo di un gruppo di gatti che ho deciso di accogliere nel mio giardino, più qualche altro gatto che staziona nel negozio dove lavoro ed inoltre una cavia peruviana....mmmh, casa mia diventerà uno zoo!

    ReplyDelete
  15. Volunteering is something I've been thinking about doing for a while. It's something i'm definitely considering for the future. Great post!

    My new cruelty free blog: http://the-modernvegetarian.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete

Speak your mind.