I haven’t been great about keeping up on here. Part of this is I haven’t really had the juice or desire to be on social media. Part is there has been other things needing my attention on the computer and then anything I have left over I don’t want to give to being in front of the screen any longer. I make notes to myself and actually have things pop up all the time that I DO want to write or share about (often at 3am, so not the most ideal time).
I have perspectives I want to share, books, course ideas, and so many cool and useful things that I want to offer out into the world emerging all the time. I’m hoping once I get a few things set up for Vandemic I can come back to offering out some of the things I most love again. Or, I need to figure out how to somehow do it anyway.
This morning, against all logic and the needs of my “to do” list, I’m making a decision to take some time to write about something that lights my heart up.
Are you ready?!
It is amazing how big my smile is as I am writing this! Literally ear to ear. Seriously, it would be so amusing to have a secret camera on me right now as I type so you all could see this crazy grin LOL!
Ok, here it comes, the big reveal in case you haven’t been able to tell by the title…
I’ve been volunteering at the Denver Animal Shelter!!!!!!!
I actually consciously chose not to share this one for a bit.
I took a number of months to decide and feel into if I really wanted to do this, if I could emotionally do this. I would pull up all the local rescue sites and see if I could take looking at the photos. I actually went to the Denver Animal Shelter on my own to visit a few times. Again, to see if my heart was ready to handle being there (after loosing our Bahni girl).
The first time I did I cried as I left and pretty much the whole way home. But then I tried again. There were still so many feels, but my draw to being there was opening and for some reason I felt called to keep watering the seed I felt in my heart. Well, that little seed eventually grew into the sprout of signing up for an orientation. I looked at the different shelter volunteering possibilities and DAS felt like the right place for me to try.
Actually, it’s quite beautiful in a way. When we first moved to Denver, this is where we brought Bahni to make sure she could live in a city that, at that time, had a pit bull ban. (If she couldn’t live here, we wouldn’t live here.)
Getting the news that she met the qualifications to do so was an amazing feeling! I was SO happy, like tears of joy happy! Coming back to this spot was bitter sweet for me, but I could see and feel the beginning of the full circle beauty of it.
Here’s our photo from that day, out in front of “Sun Spot”, the giant dog statue made of over 90,000 dog tags!
So, I kept this exploration mostly to myself. Part of that was not wanting to hear opinions about whether I “should” or “shouldn’t” be doing it. Whatever this was that was unfolding and opening was for me to be with and make my own decision.
I think I started opening to this possibility in September and my first day of in person orientation was in November. Since then I have had some of the happiest big wide smile moments since before Bahni died.
It’s not glamorous work. Sometimes I’m elbows deep in blankets with pee and picking up poop. I’m delightfully dirty at the end of each shift, happily covered in dog hair and sometimes slobber. My clothes go right into the wash when I get home haha!
I have never been so delighted to fold laundry- intentionally folding love into each blanket to wrap the dogs and cats who might need it.
I cannot explain how good it feels to get in there and just do what needs to be done. I’m so happy to clean up a kennel so that one of these babes has a cleaner, more welcoming place to be. I want to pic up poop in the yards so they are pleasant places to be during their limited time out. I just really love caring for them.
Some of it is hard and some is sad, but man oh man do I love the reward of being able to love these pups up! My heart glows with the idea that maybe I made their stay a little more love filled. I LOVE the idea that some of my efforts in teaching them something new, or working with them on a not so great habit, might make them more adoptable for their much deserved new forever home.
It’s SO great to see them get adopted or talk to someone visiting about taking that adoptions number so they can become a family.
These dogs are precious. They really are.
They teach me too. I’m learning about all their different body language as they each teach me about how to listen and see in new ways. I am learning to be with them based on their needs, not just what I assume they might need.
So many of them teach me with their willingness to love and also give us humans a second (or third or fourth… ) chance.
They are sometimes excited and CRAZY, sometimes scared and tentative, sometimes patient and chill, but always spirited, having something unique that is just theirs to offer whoever is willing to be with them and notice.
I used to tell Bahni that she was an earth angel, sent straight from heaven right down into her momma and poppa’s heart. I am seeing more and more how true this was and is.
Our life with her, all we learned based on what she needed, has helped prepare me for being able to step into something that I never even imagined I would be doing.
I’m not saying that I would assume that any of these dogs would need what Bahni did specifically. They are all different with unique needs. What I am saying is that our dedication to her, and what was challenging for her because of where she came from, taught me certain skills that I can now also use to work with these pups. My time with Bahni taught me the value of learning how to work with dogs that have come from tough situations. I can now share with other future adopters some of the fruits of this and how immensely worth it it can be.
My heart was absolutely broken with the loss of Bahni.
What I am getting a glimpse of now, is that it was broken open.
What I am getting a glimpse of now, is the deep hole in my heart is also becoming a deep well of love.
What I am getting to experience at the shelter is the absolute delight of this love being shared.
These pups and I, we are sharing our own deep wells with each other. We are filling each other up.
*There are so many pups (and kitties, and turtles, and hamsters, and roosters….) at DAS that need a home. If you or anyone you know is looking please consider taking a look at their website. I’m also happy to answer any questions that I can. The beautiful smart girl featured in the blog image is Daisy and she is SO ready to find her new forever family.