This Thanksgiving feels quite different to me this year and I want to share with you the reasons why. Usually this is the time of year I start to focus on what I am grateful for and to remember just how much I have to be thankful for. Tis the season to give presents and shop for our loved ones in hopes that they will see how much they mean to us. This year I won’t need to do that; yes I will still be buying some presents however, this year is different. I have made it my mission to be thankful and grateful every single day and to attempt to tell all of my family and friends how much they mean to me. If you are my friend and I have not let you know all the ways I am thankful for you, trust me you are on the list but, it takes a lot of time to adequately acknowledge each of you.
At the beginning of the year I decided that I was going to consciously notice, appreciate and acknowledge all the good I see around me. We are so bombarded by so much bad news it’s no wonder we start feeling so hopeless. But if you know where to look, you can see amazing things. Although the business side of my life didn’t go too well this year I have to say my personal growth saw its best year ever. I have learned that no matter where you are in your life you can always give something of yourself. As long as good energy is behind it whether it’s money, time or just your presence you would be surprised by how much you have to offer.
One of the many lessons that I have learned this year is that there are angels among us, they look ordinary (in fact they look just like you and me) but they really are very extraordinary. Every time I choose to acknowledge, appreciate or notice (it is a choice), when I take the time to look I see many wonderful things happening all around me. What I also see is that I give myself the greatest of all gifts, this is the gift (for lack of a better word) we cannot find in a store, in a job, in a jar of cookies…..somehow we always seem to be looking in the wrong place.
So in honor of Thanksgiving I want to share with you all the angels and in some cases groups of angels, I have met this year and some that I have known much longer. It goes without saying that I am grateful for my family and friends but those thank you’s are private, this year I have some additional people who I want to acknowledge.
German Shepherd Rescue of Orange County – These are the angels that saved my boy Courage, if you know me well, then you know Courage. If you don’t he is the guy that (if I didn’t already know saving dogs was my mission here) cemented it. This is a true fairy tale complete with a wicked witch and a very happy ending. Here is one link but, there are so many stories about this very strong, brave dog you will be able to read as much as you want just google Courage the German Shepherd who had to eat dirt to survive.
Rocky Ridge Rescue – And then there was Teagan, another fighter that (if possible) has a worse background than Courage, Teagan is the little dog that could. Janice Wolf owner of Rocky Ridge Rescue is saving Teagan and many, many others, she is one person we should all look to if we want to see amazing. This one womans dream has become a sanctuary for so many deserving animals. If you want to see what love can do or if you just need a shot of joy just take a look at Rocky Ridge’s Facebook pictures. Janice Wolf is the best humanity has to offer.
Dogs Deserve Better – The lady that started Dogs Deserve Better; Tamira Thayne is quite the rebel and I love her for it. Her organization began when she was arrested for saving a dog that was literally freezing and starving to death at the end of a chain. She risked herself and saved that dog, and yes you read that correctly, she unchained a dying dog and took this dog to the vet and saved his life and for this she was arrested and convicted. She has started a revolution and I am grateful for people like her that take a stand for what she believes in, she is and will always be a hero in my eyes, regardless of her criminal record.
Rolling Dog Ranch – Don’t let the name fool you, Steve and Alayne take care of every kind of animal, what makes this sanctuary so special is that all of their residents are disabled, from blind horses to deaf dogs, everyone is special here.
Best Friends Animal Sanctuary – Possibly Angel headquarters, at least when it comes to animal angels. I am proud that such a wonderful place calls my home state their home, they are the best of the best when it comes to animal sanctuaries.
Autism Speaks – A good friend of mine has a little girl with Autism so through her I have learned what a wonderful organization this is and I encourage you to see for yourself.
No More Homeless Pets – My local branch includes Danielle and all her co-angels who have given all they’ve got to see their goals become reality. The goal is to move toward a day where we have “No More Homeless Pets”, they are making great strides but, like anything else there is room for improvement.
Make A Wish – This group has always held a special place in my heart as one of my dear friends Michelle was granted a wish from these angels, she used her wish to take her, then 8-year-old, daughter to Disneyland. This was one of the happiest times in her life; as a mother nothing can bring joy like giving your child a gift you never thought you could afford. Not too long after that wish Michelle lost her battle with bone cancer, she was 26 years old but, the love I feel for these people and what they do lives on.
Coastal German Shepherd Rescue– As is true with many other rescues they have saved so many like Alfie, Angel and Phoenix, it’s really hard to pick one because like so many angels they do great work and it just never ends. It’s a good thing they don’t get tired, these angels.
Operation Roger – These are angels disguised as truckers, they haul their load and also deliver rescued animals to their new homes. So often homes can be found but getting the animals to a different state means the difference between life or death. Sue and her fellow truckers will help whenever they can.
Salt Lake County Animal Shelter – Not only have they done great work for other dogs and cats, when my Darbie was missing a few months ago I got to see first hand how great they are and how they do want every animal to find their home. I owe them a special thank you for reuniting me with my lost senior dog. Side note – I found out that the microchip she had implanted as a young dog no longer sends a signal, turns out this happens quite often so please check your microchips when you go to the vet as a preventative measure.
Toledo Area Humane Society – This wonderful group went above and beyond with the care of another one of my beloved GSD’s. Sarge was shot, close range, 6 times by his owner and somehow managed to live. Some may have heard of him some may not, but this shelter earned a spot on my list forever for giving this dog a chance at a new life, his new name is Paladin and he now resides at Best Friends.
Guilford County Animal Shelter – These dedicated angels are taking care of Chamberlain and Phoenix and Susie as in Susie’s Law and too many others who’s sad, sad story I am finding is all too common.
Corridor Rescue – Better known as the Corridor of cruelty, Deborah Hoffman is one woman who proves one person can make all the difference in the world, she is most definitely an angel among us.
Project Safe Pet – Because the south can be a very dangerous place for animals, this rescue organization works to save as many as they can, they work with another group Cloud Nine Rescue Flights to get these dogs and cats to safe homes in other states, until they can get laws in place in their own state.
ASPCA – You all probably know who they are and what they do, but they are there doing what they do everyday whether you think about them or not.
These are just some of the angels I’ve found, there are so many more but, they don’t all have websites or news stories but they all are doing great things. I would be willing to wager that if you took a look around you, you will see some angels among you as well, maybe in the mirror.
So this Thanksgiving and every other day of the year I am thankful to be surrounded by compassion and love everywhere I look.