Thursday, October 28th, 2021

P Shopper Columns


After much consideration,
A Vision of Youth
is becoming something new.  
I aspire to lend my voice to that which I am most passionate about.

As I write, my dog Riggs curls against my legs and sighs heavily as he settles into sleep.  An eight-week-old kitten (who I am fostering from the shelter) stampedes across the floor, mewing and swishing her tail and attacking anything that dares to move.  I tap my fingers where she can reach them and feel her swirl around my hand like wind.  It is moments like these- so many moments like these- which remind me how beautiful a pet's companionship is.  Nothing compares to being greeted with a wagging tail or rumbling purr at the end of the day.

For eight years it has been my honor to write A Vision of Youth, a monthly column reflecting on the state of the world, the power of kindness and positive thinking . . . and occasionally about animals.  The latter articles chronicled my years volunteering at our local animal shelter, my job as an animal hospital kennel assistant, and becoming a care technician at a humane society in Virginia.  Pursuing my passion meant following an unconventional path.  Two and a half years later, I am blessed to love my job every day.  Going into work means making a difference in the community.  It means soothing and protecting the animals I love so much; it means saving lives.  Through this employment, I've gained so much knowledge- and realized how much I still have to learn.

After much consideration, A Vision of Youth is becoming something new.  I aspire to lend my voice to that which I am most passionate about.  Without my job, there are so many issues I might not be aware of.  I never knew that neonatal kittens are one of the populations most at risk for euthanasia, since most facilities lack the resources to sustain them.  I never realized how many adopters are shackled by breed restrictions, forcing them to overlook "pit bulls"- or mixed breeds that happen to resemble pit bulls- no matter that dog's character.  I never understood how bleak a feral or feral-acting cat's outlook is once they enter a shelter.  These are problems many people care about, but might not find it easy to become involved with.  They are problems we as a society must spread awareness of and work to solve together.  The truth is, animal rescuers can't win this fight alone.  It will take a long time for shelters to become obsolete.  If we pause a moment and consider ways to make a lasting impact towards a better future, that's a vision we can all share.

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.