Confession is good for the soul and this leads me to coming clean with the fact that I make lists of what to blog about, as if it matters. Sometimes the logic behind such a list proves to be a clearinghouse - getting rid of clutter on my mind, things you could not possibly be interested in reading. Admittedly there are topics listed which escape me when I return, prepared to turn them into eloquent and clever deliverances.
But my favorites are the lists which have topics unrelated to each other and I have before me a challenge or two - how to tie them all together, if need be, and how to connect them to the basis of the blog: the paws to love gig. Then, does it really matter? In the big scheme, probably not.
Therefore I just go with it.
Waiting for my 4 hour assignment at Barnes & Noble, where I'll be wrapping packages for Illinois Humane (helps dogs and cats), I am alerted to the presence of a Lost Boy. He appears to be about 6 and is lingering and looking around in the coffee shop area which is frequently inhabited by readers who don't buy anything to read, drink or eat. They need parking meters for those people. I digress. But, please note, I did get the paws reference in already so have a modicum of pride, which, in time, may grow. Back to the boy for now.
Leaving my Santa hat and purchases I approach the boy about the same time another concerned woman did. We thank each other for being so darned observant. I established myself at eye level with him and asked if he is lost. Of course, it's his mother who is lost. We go directly to the Nook Ladies. As they begin to search for a roving clerk to help, his mom and sisters show up. He got a talking to...but I swear he did nothing wrong. I think she was just stern but not raving mad. The girls, so obviously without flaws, lauded it over him. I think he was saddened for his shoulders slumped. Hopefully by Christmas morning Santa had let all this go and stuffed his stocking. Poor little tike.
Same Location, Different Day - For some reason, B & N draws us in and while my husband's hunt was for a potholder making kit (really?) and while he was at the craft store next to B & N (really?), sensible I went for a peppermint mocha, recommended by a fellow wrapper from the previous excursion. And, there I sit, taking in the story being relayed at the next table over. Do NOT tell me this is not a part of what you do when you are in close confines and others are chatting away. You listen. I know you do. I read blogs full of stories repeated by blog writers. Such funny or meaningful things cannot happen to each of you. You're repeating what you hear. Well, seated at this particular table were a mom and two grown children, let's say in their late 30's or early 40's. The mom and daughter had been somewhere and were sharing the tale with the brother/son. Where they had been required some knowledge of food items so perhaps they'd been shopping or at a class. Regardless, the big joke, such as it was, comes in handy for me as another reference to paws, for they were chortling over the mom trying to locate "canine peppers". OK, it was funny to them.
We know our way to B & N, clearly. On occasion we go out on adventures. My husband has a GPS but I do not. He leaves his in the house, perhaps sensing he may need it there, although the house is relatively right-sized for us and we have lived there for 16 years, not to mention that there's not suitable outlet to plug it into. Besides if your starting point and destination are one and the same will you get any useful results or will the voice you've selected merely snicker? Well, ponder it. In the meantime, we're off somewhere and looking for a store we've heard about. We've been to a couple of other places first. He heads for his vehicle (which does not have the GPS inside). I inquire, "Are we driving?" Seems a reasonable question to me. His response was, well, I suppose typical: "Yes, since we don't know where we are going we're driving". Go ahead, make sense of that.
Let me clarify the title of this submission, please. You probably got the reference to wrapping gifts as being a volunteer effort. Well, later that same week we also traveled to receive a truckload of pet food which was later distributed to pet owners a bit down on their luck and unable to afford food. How freaking (not freakin' - really freaking because it makes me want to scream) sad. The objective is to keep pets in homes by helping their owners feed them. I cannot imagine not being able to put down a bowl of kibble but rather having to take my pet(s) to a shelter where who knows what will happen to them, and then returning to complete loneliness. Sometimes the love of a pet is all a person has.
We saw further proof of this when we delivered Christmas dinners on Christmas morning. One 90 year old woman received hers and talked about her cat. It's her cat she spends every day with - she has no one else. For some people it's a bird or a dog, but a pet makes all the difference in the world. Love. Unconditionally given. Wow.
If you can, see shelter pets through the eyes of their past owners - loved enough to give them up, hoping a good home will be provided, worried that time is limited.
If you can, buy cat food or pet food, or make a cash donation to a pet food bank.
Start your own journey as a junkie volunteer - get hooked on doing good things!