There’s a retired naval air station located in my community. It consists of acres of unused land, as well as abandoned neighborhoods and a few crumbling warehouses. When I walk through it I can almost hear the whispers of faded memories asking to be remembered and in my mind I see a community coming together to put a portion of the base back into service.
In my community there is an overwhelming number of invisible souls, animal and youth. I think we have gotten used to dismissing them to the “professionals,” whether the Humane Society or DHS, and they have gotten lost in the shuffle. Whenever we see a need it is easier on us to call a number and feel we’ve done our part, than to actually do our part.
So if my dream came true, this is what it would look like:
– The military would donate 5 acres of land for the express purpose of animal rescue.
– Each class at the local elementary schools would adopt an animal by collecting food, toys, old blankets, and other pet supplies to donate each month, since the kids are too small to actually work with the animals.
-The local middle and high school would partner with the center to encourage their students in citizenship and would create a system so that their students would come and work with the animals each week.
-Homeschooling families would come in the mornings to help out.
-The neighboring Youth Challenge facility would arrange to send their youth over a few mornings a week to take the dogs running during their PT time.
-A portion of the land would be set up for agriculture. Members of the community who are good with the land, and students from the university, would come and teach the volunteering teens how to turn a desert into an oasis. The process would remind the teens that we are all connected to nature and the blossoming land would create a peaceful place for training the dogs and encouraging potential adopters to spend time with them.
-The local churches would also sponsor the center and send volunteers to help with maintenance, as well as tutoring the volunteering youth who have an empty home to return to each afternoon.
-The community veterinarians would be willing to provide a few hours of pro bono services each week, and medical supplies at a discounted rate.
-The local businesses would help to financially support the center on an annual basis because they recognize that the best way to handle a problem (such as stray animals) is to turn it into a solution (preventing/reversing juvenile delinquency).
Many of you who are reading this are probably thinking, “It’s a great dream! But it would never work.” And a laundry list of legal, financial, logisitical reasons has probably popped into your head to justify your realism. And you’re probably right. But a preacher once said, “Between the great things we cannot do and the little things we will not do, lies the danger of doing nothing.”
If everyone did a little there would be no great thing we could not do.