When people ask if I enjoy working at an animal shelter, my answer is always the same: it's both rewarding and challenging. Every day I have the chance to protect, heal, and comfort abandoned animals until they are adopted into new homes. At the same time, I must also navigate the physical labor, never-ending task list, and emotional strain this environment entails. It's a peculiar pinball machine of emotions, a constant contradiction of exhaustion and fulfillment. As hard as it is, I feel blessed to pursue a career I'm so passionate about. Animal rescue is a ceaseless war; it is one of many. The world is full of them: wars of human ignorance, negligence, and cruelty.
â€¦ humans are slow to change
and because many of us don't become involved in a causeuntil it touches our lives in a personal way.
The coronavirus is unlike anything I've seen in my lifetime. I have no idea when the world will be back to normal, or if "back to normal" will really look normal at all. Maybe some things will never go back to the way they were. Maybe that would be for the better. In describing animal rescue as a ceaseless war, I believe that will be true for a very long time. I believe this because humans are slow to change and because many of us don't become involved in a cause until it touches our lives in a personal way. This only makes sense; we only have so much time, energy, and resources to devote. There are so many deserving causes to rally behind. No one person can possibly contribute to them all. Why then do we so passionately fight these challenges with no clear end in sight?
We do it because things do get better. Despite our flaws, we have hope. Slowly, bit by bit, we make changes. This is the only way the world can heal. Our world needs healingâ€”it needs every one of us to do our part. Life as we knew it has been on pause, which provides an opportunity to reset. We have a chance to reevaluate our lives, our communities, and our planet. What about our economy needs to change? What about our environmental impact needs to change? What problems has this pandemic forced us to pay attention to? I hope the time is near when we can once again congregate together. I hope we glean something from the hardships we've endured; I hope we learn; I hope we move forward in a better way.
Breonna Loxley is an animal care technician at an animal shelter. She is an avid artist, writer, and animal-lover. She lives with her parents, a younger brother, two cats, and one dog.