For the past 11 years, I've worked at our local animal shelter. We live in a rural community in Central NY, and our little shelter is the only one for a county of 72,400 and 662 square miles. For the past 6 years I've taught Humane Education and actually received my certification to teach it in February this year. Two years ago, the Executive Director and I sat down and spoke and came to the conclusion that to help the animals, we must also help the people behind them. We've begun "Reading to Rover" programs to help kids who have trouble reading, practice reading to someone non-judgemental. We also use my therapy dogs (all shelter alumni) to visit with hospice, nursing homes, special education classes, counseling centers, and work with troubled teens. The schedule is hectic, and at the end of some days, I'm dragging. However, watching people light up when my three little shelter "misfits" visit is amazing.....and humbling. Today we visited with a local second grade class for a lesson on "How to Approach a Dog" and after the presentation was over they had so many good questions. I can honestly say, I love my job, am humbled by what these little dogs and do, and am so blessed to be able to do something that I really love. The pay, well, after 11 years I make minimum (it's a not for profit), but being able to see joy, and really do something that makes a difference, is priceless. Pictured are Rosie (chihuahua) who was a backyard breeder's dog, and Stewart Little, a papillon mix surrendered at age 10 when the family bought a puppy. He is now 16 and LOVES the children he interacts with, both Rosie and Stewart are therapy certified. Also there was Peanut, an 18 month old dachshund puppy who was abandoned at 3 months old in an empty house with only garbage to eat. Even with that mistreatment, he LOVES everyone he meets, and greets each day with gusto.
Doing something I truly love, makes the bad fibro days a whole lot easier. :)