Friday, January 28th, 2022

P Shopper Columns


Recently I was at a restaurant when a gentleman read ‘animal services' on my uniform and struck up a conversation. On the way out the door, he turned back and said, “Thank you for what you do.” Shelter workers are thankful for those who offer kind words, especially when our responsibilities leave us feeling drained and discouraged. Despite all the disheartening things we encounter, we also meet compassionate, kind people who care about animals as much as we do. We cannot endure our mission without them.

This Thanksgiving, our animal shelters are grateful for those who make it possible to save lives. We are thankful for the adopters who open their hearts and homes so a lost pet may know love again. We are thankful for the foster families who provide a safe haven to an animal who needs it most. We are thankful for the volunteers and transporters who contribute their time, energy, and compassion to support the shelter staff and the critters they care for. We also appreciate those who promote our pets in the hopes of helping them find homes and the donors who provide the supplies to care for and comfort animals in need. We are thankful for every Good Samaritan who stops to help a lost soul that can't find its way.

We are thankful for every
Good Samaritan
who stops to help a lost soul
that can't find its way.

It is a long, lonely, boring day inside the kennel of a shelter dog. The space is small. There is not much to do. A shelter dog is thankful to see humans walking by; for a kind word or gentle touch through the kennel bars. Shelter dogs are glad to receive soft blankets and when their caretakers bring bowls of food. They are thankful when their fleas are gone, for medicine, for somewhere warm to sleep. Toys and treats help lift their spirits, if only for a while. Best of all is when a leash appears; when the humans, walking by, invite the dog to walk, too. Romping with the other dogs is an extra special treat. A taste of peanut butter, the feel of grass, a toy that squeaks-these are the dreams of a shelter dog on Thanksgiving day. No animal should endure life in a cage. They don't understand the confinement. They ache for home; they miss their families. Companion animal overpopulation is something I will fight for the rest of my life; it will not truly be defeated until society as a whole strives to eradicate it. We as a community are at our best when we join together to fulfill these vital roles. It is at this time of year that we celebrate lives saved, remember those lost, and feel simply grateful.

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.