One of the best ways to enrich our lives is to take a stand for others. When we pour our hearts into helping people (or animals), we grow. I try to walk my talk in this regard and so it is my pleasure to tell you about a giving project I just launched. Below is the short version and then the story behind it.
What will your next helping project be?
1. Please pick up a copy of my self-published essay collection called The Kiwi Bird Walks Like a Man. 100% of the proceeds from the book will be donated to two animal humane nonprofit organizations - The Seattle Humane Society (http://www.seattlehumane.org/) and the Cincinnati SPCA (http://www.spcacincinnati.org). The essay collection is sassy and funny and many of the essays are about nature and my travels. People who like David Sedaris and the nature essays of Diane Ackerman will enjoy these.
You can buy the book here.
2. Please consider picking up a copy for a friend, too. And please forward this email to your friends. It's for the animals!
Last year, I had the privilege to work with the Seattle Humane Society. I have always been an animal lover and have had many pets, but I had never seen how a well-run humane society worked from behind the scenes. Wow! Working with the Seattle Humane Society was an eye-opening experience and I will admit to being surprised by many things that I learned. For example, I had no idea how much care and resources went into each of the animals that the human society took in. I naively thought that the $50 or $100 I paid to adopt a cat or dog covered the costs associated with its care while at the shelter. I now know that the adoption fees cover only a small portion of the totals costs required to care for each animal and especially those that are hard to place in homes or who have medical problems.
And I was blown away by the level of care and consideration that each individual animal received while at the shelter. Even though there were more than 200 cats and 75 dogs in residence at any given time (and more out in foster homes), each animal had a name and each was treated as an individual with unique medical and socialization needs.
How do animals go from being unwanted to unforgettable? Have you ever wondered why the animals that people adopt are often AMAZING companions and family members when many of the animals brought to the shelter have behavioral and/or health problems? Yes, there are a few that cannot be adopted and don't make it through the process, but most are - for lack of a better word - repaired while at the shelter. Behavior experts give each animal the time and training he or she needs to allow his or her qualities to shine while training out any bad habits learned while at his or her previous home (sometimes the Chateau du Street).
Then there are the medicines! The shots, the flea killers, the post-surgery pain pills and all the drugs that help make each animal well. I can recall a conversation between the clinic manager and the Chief Operating Officer about how some of the medicines that the shelter used on a regular basis had tripled in cost in one year. Every animal, even the most healthy, gets some preventative medications and inoculations. And just like the medicines we take - the costs keep going up.
The people who work for animal shelters are heroes. They work in tough conditions and have to endure a lot of stress - more stress in a day than most of us deal with in a month. They assist people and animals on their toughest days and have to make life and death decisions that are always agonizing. But it is all worth it when a long-time shelter resident finally gets adopted into a loving home. At the Seattle Humane Society, the adoption staff would announce special adoptions over the PA system so that everyone could be reminded why they come to work each day before dawn and pour their energy into handling the most unsavory aspects of animal care with a smile and dogged determination. Perhaps today, Phantom will find a home.
Phantom did find a home, by the way. Phantom was an ancient cat - 18 years old, I think. And because he was practically deaf, he meowed so loud that it would wake a hibernating bear on quaaludes. He had an old man smell and touchy kidneys. But Phantom was a very sweet and loving cat and the shelter gave him all the time he needed to find that someone special who would adopt an old, loud, wonderful cat. There are so many stories like Phantom's.
While working with the Seattle Humans Society, I learned a lot about the care and resources that are required to transition unwanted and often unhealthy animals into vibrant, beloved and loyal companions. It takes a tremendous amount of time (paid and volunteer), money, expertise and marketing to make a shelter successful at fulfilling its mission. And this is why I want to help.
The Kiwi Bird Walks Like a Man is a collection of essays that I have been working on for a few years. Some of you may know that I recently went back to school to get my MFA (Masters of Fine Arts) in creative nonfiction. I enjoy writing essays and this is my first collection. I hope you enjoy them. Some of the essays are about my motorcycle travels or trips that Bill and I have taken. Some are about nature and a few are about my family.
That's the story. If you are still reading, please go back up to the top of the post and re-review the requests. Thank you for your time and for supporting this project. I will be posting updates about the progress of the funds raised on my website here http://www.lisahaneberg.com/creative-writing.html. You can check back every couple of weeks to see how much money has been raised.
I welcome any questions or ideas you might have for ways I can improve the success of this fund raiser.
You can buy the book here.