For the past couple of years, my two grandsons have been collecting every dime and nickel they find in a glass jar. The jar, when filled, was to be given to help animals. Older grandson wanted to save the wolves, but we were unable to find an organization where we were assured this small amount of money would actually help. So in the end, the boys decided to donate their coins and a few dollars to a local rescue group that gets animals out of the euthanasia list and into homes and temporary rescue groups who foster these animals. This group attends adoption events, spends endless hours grooming the animals, and uses a good photographer to get a candid shot of the animal out of their cages and in a colorful, personality-laden photos that captures something special about each adoptable animal. We knew that this group was saving lives from a prior experience – one dog who had a bad case of mange was taken off the kill list by procuring pledges for financial assistance that would mean treatment – and life itself – to this particular animal. It worked, and that dog is now barely recognizable as the sad-eyed, mange-covered, depressed being she once was. She is now full of vitality, out of the shelter, and enjoying life with her permanent family.
Spare Change to Spare a Life
The day youngest grandson took the money to donate, the local shelter was buzzing with potential adopters and many wonderful animals were waiting in cages and glassed in rooms to meet their fate. A volunteer came out and told youngest grandson that he was going to receive the VIP treatment for his generous donation; at six, he already knew that those initials meant, and said to me, “I am going to be a Very Important Person!” Photos were taken, the money was handed over, and the animals were visited. Outside was a dog park, which delighted youngest grandson no end – a loving, gentle Beagle offered licks and paw-touches, a feisty Terrier was game for a romp around the perimeter, and a three month old puppy was demonstrating his ability with barking and chewing — all in all, a wonderful, memorable day.
When youngest grandson asked about the amount of money in the jar (recounted, just in case they would not accept the loose change), I told him it was just under $40, an amount that included two last-minute pledges of $5 from each of two supporters. He was disappointed it had not been at least $100, and promptly had his mum find a very large jar so he could start saving again. This time he displayed a bit more aggression in his procurement techniques, immediately eyeing a small box of change within a drawer, and asking a few relatives to donate. With this new empowerment, this new idea that money can translate into saving lives, there is no limit to what he will be able to achieve. It is both simultaneously wonderful and tragic that by just finding spare change, one can spare a life. Reader, can you spare a dime?
Note: This was written a few months ago. I now volunteer at the same shelter.