As a homeless dog here at Second Chance, I ask you to consider that, although a shelter may not be the ideal environment for pets, it is a temporary haven where pets in need, like me, receive care, love and a chance for a new life. It also provides a ripe setting for miracles to occur. Wait, what? A shelter is the home of miracles?
The stigma of the depressing shelter full of desperate animals is shifting. Second Chance Humane Society has worked hard to create this shift in this little part of the world with cageless facilities, and open access to fresh air and lots of space to run and stretch for both cats and dogs. Plus, there’s an abundance of nurturing individualized care.
Yet, because we are homeless, I still hear visitors make statements like, “Oh, this is breaking my heart. I knew I shouldn’t have come here” or “I could never work here, I love animals too much” (a staff favorite … not). These folks are just overlooking the miracles.
Definitions of a miracle vary from “any amazing or wonderful occurrence” to “when the unexpected occurs.” Derived from the Old Latin word “miraculum,” meaning "something wonderful," my favorite definition of miracle is “by which the ordinary course and operation of Nature is overruled, suspended or modified.” I believe that miracles happen in the midst of renewed love, trust and opportunities at life. This is how shelters birth miracles.
A small abandoned kitten, cold and shivering, unable to walk, feeling hopeless and alone is brought to Second Chance and wrapped in warm blankets and loving arms, meets with a “suspension of the ordinary course.” What about an older neglected, emotionally wounded dog that finds its way to the shelter? The dog learns to trust and that life can be about love and kindness, rather than what she has always known. That dog leaves with a new family and a shine in her eyes that was never there before. Sounds like “something wonderful” to me.
Still not a believer? What about the person who calls Second Chance wanting to surrender a pet but changes her mind after learning from the staff how to simply correct a few negative behaviors. Or the husband who resisted allowing a pet into the home for years and now cannot imagine life without the new family dog. Seems like a bunch of set circumstances being suspended or modified to me.
So, yes, at a shelter there are some sad, scared, stressed, homesick or just plain sick animals. But the shelter is also where miracles occur, where lives are saved, where abused animals learn what love is, where discarded animals learn to trust again and where lifetime bonds of love are made. So it is OK to feel sorry for us, but don’t avoid us — come be a part of the miracles.
My name is Pluto. I am a 1- or 2-years-young super sweet border collie. I love people so much. I love hugging them, and I love loving them. I am great with other dogs as long as they are not too pushy or scary. I would love to be adopted by an active family who will continue building my confidence and good manners. I believe in miracles.
Second Chance Humane Society’s Animal Resource Center and Thrift Shops have been servicing San Miguel, Ouray and Montrose counties for 25 years. Call the Second Chance Helpline at 970-626-2273 to report a lost pet, learn about adopting a homeless pet, or about Spay/Neuter, Volunteer, Feral Cat or other services. View our shelter pets and services online at adoptmountainpets.org.