This afternoon I went to my regular Thursday afternoon volunteer gig. I am a volunteer cat photographer for the Huntsville Animal Shelter. Thursdays are my cat day, and I welcome the idea of being the crazy cat lady who talks to them…tells them to that I can get a better picture if they are NOT in their litter box, that no one wants to see you sitting in your litter box. I love taking their pictures and seeing all of their personalities, from pet me, pet me, meow, to hiss I am afraid and frightened to be in here and even what happened to me, why am I here. I have been a cat person all my life, I get their attitudes and love each of them for who they are, I see the bigger picture, that God created them just like us; we are all different.
Today, as I took a photo of an older guy, that the shelter has named Ben, I thought, boy you look rough. He is at least 10 and he does look rough. When I opened the kennel door, stuck my hand in, his head immediately went to rub on my hand, he wanted my attention, he wanted to rub on me, he wanted me to love him. It made me think about his journey, how did he get here, what has he seen in his 10 years of life, did someone love him, did he get separated from his family. If I had never opened the door, and stuck my hand in, I would just think boy you look rough. I would not have known they he was seeking love, or that he had love to give, that he might clean up and look really nice. He might just need the love of a family, a good meal, and a bath.
Then I got to thinking, I sometimes look rough, and I have had rough days. And just by looking at me you have no idea of my journey. You do not know what brought me here, or how my life has led me to be here at this moment. We each have our own journey, our own path we have taken. And this lead me to think about out in public, the man living under the bridge or just someone we pass in the store, we have NO clue about their journey in life, where they have been or what they have done. Maybe your smile, that hello, or how are you, could be as welcome as me sticking my hand into Ben’s kennel and offering him a hand to rub on. Go the extra mile, smile, say hello or just make meaningful eye contact. Be open to the journey in life of others.
And if you feel the need to check out Ben or his other friends young and old, check out the Huntsville Animal Shelter located at 4950 Triana Blvd. SW 35805. You can call them at (256) 883-3783.