This was supposed to be written and posted on Friday. Obviously, it wasn't. I'm writing it now, though, before I do my Project 365 post and my #weekendcoffeeshare. I might not have been able to take part in the day of compassion flooding the internet, but what harm could another post about the subject hurt?
The reason it has taken me so long to write this is I just didn't know what to write about. Compassion is a broad topic, and I just had trouble narrowing it down to write a post. I still am, but I'm pushing myself to get this out there, to put more positivity in the world.
Compassion, to me, is when you see someone or some creature in pain (be it physical, environmental, or psychological) and you reach out to them. There is no reward. There is no acknowledgement. You do it because part of you knows that pain, on some level. Part of you wishes someone had been there for you, so now you can be there for this person.
Compassion is helping those who cannot help themselves.
For me, when I think of compassion, I think of animals. Always been that way for me, ever since I was little.
When I was young, one of our cats caught a mouse. I "rescued" that mouse and tried to help it. My family told me the best I could do for it, though, was set it free.
I used to try and befriend every animal I came across. If I'm honest, I still do, to some degree. If I saw an animal in pain or hungry, I did what I could to help, even if it was just tell someone who could do the helping.
After my freshman year of college, I went back to my hometown for the summer. Two of my friends from high school were working at a no-kill animal shelter, at the time, and got me a summer job there. To this day, that has been probably my favorite job.
Community Animal Rescue & Adoption in Mississippi was the shelter. The women who ran it were devoted, heart and soul, to those animals. If you left your dog in a car on a blistering hot, summer day, they were breaking your car's windows to help the dog. If you adopted a pet from CARA, they were going to drive by and make sure you weren't just chaining that dog up in the yard with no shelter or water.
I remember this one dog, Sherlock. He was a lanky, mutt of a dog. He was actually still a puppy, just under a year old. One of the other workers at the shelter had gone on a call to pick up a Rottweiler that the owner no longer wanted. While there, the CARA worker (I can't remember his name) saw Sherlock. He was outside, chained to side of the house on a lead that was too short to let him reach the water. He wasn't moving and he was barely breathing. Our guy asked the owner about him and the guy told him "oh don't worry about that one, he's about to die." The CARA-guy talked him into giving us the dog anyway.
He brought Sherlock and the Rottweiler (who was in good health, just filthy) in to the shelter. After a visit to the vet, it turned out that all Sherlock was suffering from was tick-paralysis. He had so many ticks on him, he became paralyzed. Once his infestation was cleared up, he was perfectly happy and healthy! That man was just going to let this beautiful, sweet puppy die, chained to his house, because he couldn't be bothered to keep the ticks off of him. He was adopted out to a family who's young son fell in love with the lanky, goof.
Compassion is speaking for those who don't have a voice. Compassion is seeing a dying dog and doing what it takes to make him healthy. Compassion is also, at times, knowing when it is best to end an animal's suffering, which even at a no-kill animal shelter happens sometime.
I may have only worked there for a summer, but not a day goes by I don't remember my time there. Those people at CARA are still there, working for animals. Taking care of them, finding them homes, and giving them the love and compassion they need.