This morning, I woke up and hoped and prayed it was all just a dream. No, a nightmare – and what had happened in Newtown, was not real. As I walked downstairs in my sister’s house, ready to begin the day, to pull the cereal bowls off the shelf, cut bananas and pour the orange juice, I thought of the 20 parents who would not be pouring Rice Krispies for their children this morning. I thought of the teachers and school principal who wouldn’t be grabbing a banana as they ran out the door on their way to class. Who gave their lives to save children.
As I wiped my tears, and struggled to comprehend the why and how of what happened in the small town of Newtown, the girls walked in – hungry, and ready for breakfast. After a long, long hug (I had trouble letting go), our day began.
After breakfast we piled into my sister’s car to deliver donations to the Prince William County Animal Shelter. We were delivering items on their “wish list” (dog and cat food, towels and shampoos) for the animals in the shelter. I had decided that we would continue with 25 Days of Giving - and today we were giving back to animals in need. I know it may seem silly, after everything that has happened, that we would make a trip to an animal shelter - but I can't help it. I think now, more than ever, we need to share the magic and spirit of Christmas- and what it truly means to give back and help someone. It may seem silly, that our family's 25 Days of Giving, could change anything or make much of a difference, but it's something. It wouldn’t change what had happened, or bring those beautiful children and heroic adults back, but maybe, just maybe we could make a difference in someone’s life.
I had chosen an animal shelter, because we were visiting my sister and her family (and their beautiful black lab), and they loved animals. Mostly dogs, but they were much better around animals than we are. My girls on the other hand, are afraid of dogs. And cats. And rabbits, and most animals, but were excited to deliver the donations (as long as the animals are in cages.) As we pulled into the animal shelter, the girls began to get nervous, but it was not long, before they were smiling at the cats and walking around looking at the animals we were helping. My little niece, who turns three on Tuesday was in heaven. She is a dog lover, and could not stop waving and talking to them through the cages. Katherine, one of the animal caretakers, greeted the girls and explained how many of the animals ended up there, and how the lucky ones were adopted to wonderful families. She was grateful for our donations, and patiently showed the girls where the animals lived while they were there, waiting to be adopted. Smaller animals were kept on one side, mostly cats and rabbits, and the occasional guinea pig, while the puppies and bigger dogs were kept on the other. Katherine was so sweet with the girls, and when we left, we promised we would send her pictures, and spread the word about the shelter and the help they needed. We are grateful to my sister and her co-workers, for donating to the drive! Thank you so much!
How you can help: The Prince William County SPCA Animal Shelter, located in Manassas, Virginia is a “non-profit corporation established to benefit the animals of the greater Prince William County, Virginia, area. This all-volunteer organization is dedicated to protecting domestic animals from cruelty, neglect, and abandonment, and stopping the unnecessary overpopulation of companion animals.” They are funded entirely by private donations. For more information, to see their “wish list” of items in need, or to make an online donation, visit www.pwspca.org.