Thursday, 21 March 2013

You know I need you now

I and the world.
What will I have for breakfast?
What do I want to do today?
What am I in the mood for?
What do I like?

I. I. I.
It's always about me, about how I am doing in my little life.
In an attempt not to become entirely self-obsessed or go stir-crazy, I enrolled for free online courses on Coursera and decided to volunteer at the SPCA or WetNose.

WetNose is an animal shelter where the animals can remain until someone adopts them, meaning that they are not put down after a certain amount of days. The centre is situated between Pretoria and Bronkhorstspruit, but the 15 minute driving estimate that their website gives is very optimistic. It's about 25km from my house to WetNose, and add onto that the R12 toll gate fee. So this is not the ideal volunteer job for a broke person.

Initially I was a bit confused as to what I should be doing, but then I was told that you can either walk the dogs or play with them or groom them. For the cats you can sit with them in their enclosures and try to let them allow you to touch them. For today I stuck to the dogs.

Luckily, there was another lady who was there for the first time, and thus we spent our time taking out dogs who shared an enclosure (most often they are on their own) for a walk and talking about ourselves (haha). In the four hours we were there, we walked 10 dogs, but that doesn't even make a dent in how many dogs there are. Fortunately there are other volunteers and the staff also walks with the animals.

My mom was probably afraid I would not be able to resist and take in a dog or five. But not knowing what the future holds means that it would not be fair adopting a dog now and then, a few months down the line, taking him/her back because I'm moving away.

I know volunteering is all about giving back to the community and helping out when someone is in need, but whereas people mostly choose the role they play in their own life, these animals did not deserve to be categorised as 'unwanted', 'stray' or 'seized'. No one deserves being abused, neglected or abandoned, be it human or animal.

Today was equal parts sad and joyous. It gladdens the heart to see that a little attention can go a long way to providing some happiness for dogs that are cooped up in little cells all day long. But it is also very disheartening to see the amount of animals that have been there for months, if not years. I hope that someone for all of them is found that is willing to adopt them despite not being puppies or pure bred or without issues.

In their song Sit down by the fire by The Veils, the singer says he is "drunk on the sadness of a world unmanned", but maybe the problem is that we feel the need to possess the world, that we need to control all that happens and are then terribly shaken by everything we cannot predict. I mean, I get agitated when the weatherman doesn't get tomorrow's weather right because it either leaves me carrying a jacket or missing one.

But perhaps the world would be a better place if it were entirely unmanned, only animaled. Nature would sort itself out without us ruining it all in an attempt to improve it all.






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