When I was growing up, my parents always set the example, they were generous to a fault when it came to give to the needy. My mother told me stories how my grandfather came home on a freezing cold winter night and my grandmother wanted to know what happened to his winter coat? He simply said there was this guy who was freezing and did not have one, so he gave it away.
I always asked question and the answer was that we are so lucky that we have so much more than others and we are able to give.
Then we immigrated to Austria and we received help from Catholic Charities and suddenly, I understood what it was like receiving when in need. Fast forward to the coming to the United States, I understood how hard my parents worked to be able to have me the opportunity to go to good schools and at the same time have most of the luxuries we used to have when we lived in Hungary.
One thing I noticed was my parents always donated to various causes, mostly to less fortunate people. I asked my parents why are you doing it? Afterall you work so hard and you do not have everything you want. The response was always the same, there are people who have less than we have, and they need it more than we do. We are grateful that we can give.
Growing up this philosophy resonated with me all my life even in adulthood. I have always given to various causes, Veterans, Wounded Veterans and the list goes on and on. I do not talk about it but still do.
When I met Diane, her causes were helping the animals in need. We both understood that animals suffer quietly, and no one is there to speak up for them. For the past 24+ years we have supported Animal Rescue Organizations on the local and national level. Not only did we and do support them financially, but Diane volunteers her time at the minimum 4-6 hours every weekend. While she is walking the animals and taking care of their needs, I pick up the slack at home with our own animals. At the same time, we choose to do this instead of going away for the weekends somewhere fun just as an example. We get joy and pleasure out of knowing, that we have made these helpless animals lives a little better. When occasionally I pop in to the Animal Rescue Organization, it is such a wonderful feeling to see how the animals are excited to see Diane. She is making a difference in their lives it is obvious to the casual observer.
Last year, we made a conscious effort to bring animals over to our back yard. This was after we lost my assistant Schmoie, we wanted to give them a few hours away from the kennel. Let them have fun in our back yard. We all work hard trying to get them adopted and there were a few success stories we feel that we helped and made a difference. Others we are just happy to hear that they were adopted, and tears of joy often flows from the celebrations.
This year we decided to do the hardest part as far as I am concerned. Pets that are for all practical purposes in their last phase of their lives. They are past the opportunity to be adopted. We want to give them a quality end of life. I have never realized how hard this is. After all being an Airborne Ranger Infantry Soldier in my early days, I have seen soldiers die in training and real situations, no tears, just empathy and sadness. On the other hand, seeing these helpless animals slowly fading away is the hardest thing I experienced, and many tears have dropped, clearly because our home is dusty… I just hope we both will remain strong enough to repeat the gift after the last one passes. I hope we can be strong enough to do it again. Hopefully not too soon will we need to face this dilemma again.
This post was submitted and inspired by an Active Rain Challenge. The giving has been inspired by growing up in an environment where giving was the norm....
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