Tuesday, May 28th, 2024

P Paws A Moment by Breonna Loxley
The Universal Language


I dropped the trash bags at the foot of the dumpster and rolled my shoulders, which ached from the morning's cleaning. The dog kennels required extra attention that day, and we had fallen an hour behind. I slung the bags into the dumpster and caught sight of a car parked near our donations shed. As a staff member at the shelter, I usually greeted any visitors I encountered on the property. Today, though, I wondered if it would be better to go back inside. The shelter would be opening any minute now, and our morning tasks still weren't done. The thought was fleeting; this woman was here out of the kindness of her heart. The least I could do was offer her a moment of assistance.

"Kindness is a language
which the deaf can hear
and the blind can see."

- Mark Twain

"Hi there!" I called out. "Do you need a hand?" The woman straightened with an armful of supplies and happily accepted my offer. I scooped a plastic bag and a paper sack of newspaper out of the backseat and followed her into the shed. "Thank you so much," I told her as we walked back to the car. "Of course!" she said. "Thank you! I wasn't sure about that newspaper..." I assured her we definitely needed it, but she shook her head. It was then that I noticed the brace on her left hand. "I wasn't sure I could lift it," she said. "I had a hard time getting it into the car."

Walking away from this exchange, I was thankful I had taken the time to assist her. I was touched by her determination to support our cause despite the discomfort she was in. We can never assume that what is effortless for us is easy for others. Nor can we predict how significant a kind word, friendly gesture, or helping hand may be. In the words of Mark Twain, "Kindness is a language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see." We face a great many challenges throughout life. Yet these trials are also opportunities to learn and grow and to help others do the same. My own problems were no excuse to miss out on one of these opportunities- and let's face it; if we only helped others when it was convenient, we would rarely do so at all! The more kindness we put forth into the world, the more we empower others to be kind, the more we achieve, and the more fluently we speak in the most universal language of all.

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.