Thursday, July 29, 2010
Whenever I’m engaged in work that doesn’t require deep thinking – mucking stalls or putting out hay, for instance – I’ve noticed I almost always hum the song “It’s a Fine Life” from “Oliver!.” I’ve done this for years, not consciously, but on a very frequent basis. Granted, in the musical, Nancy was trying to convince herself that hers was a fine life, but in the case of performing TREES’ work it’s true. This is a fine life.
There are moments of stress, like welcoming a new arrival and not knowing if attempts at rehabilitation will succeed. Of course, saying goodbye to an Elder when the time comes is not a favored aspect of this work. Overall, however, the sanctuary lifestyle is very satisfying.
Much of the reward comes in seeing TREES’ residents respond to good nutrition, vet and dental care and regular visits from several practitioners of complementary techniques.
Just as rewarding, though, are the daily restorations of faith in humanity.
In general, people have enormous compassion for those who can’t help themselves, whether the helpless are two-legged or four. We are continually overwhelmed by the generosity of people who themselves have few “extras” in life: Neighbors who offer help in a snow storm; People who donate like new, but seldom used, items for tack and yard sales; Moms and Dads who drive back and forth so their children can fulfill community service projects at TREES; Supporters who cannot perform physical labor but can spend time researching or networking via computer, collecting things like proofs of purchase, or picking up supplies at local stores; Home business owners who offer services free or at a significant discount. And, of course, the people who do the "dirty work," scooping ton after ton of poop, scrubbing water tanks, raking up old hay, etc etc etc.
All of those people, and many many more like them, find ways to help even though they may not be able to make large or frequent cash contributions. They do these “jobs” with no fanfare, no tooting of horns, and no expectations of compensation. They do it because they want to help.
Meeting such people makes this one fine, fine life.