I think it would be very useful for many of us to spend some time in a dog shelter for the purpose of personal development. Winter is especially a time when you shouldn’t miss out on this experience, preferably in a shelter where there a lot is needed, and where there’s a lack of both equipment and human help. You can tell how big the problem is by how loudly the residents try to catch your attention when you walk in.
Perhaps they think that volume in their last resort because there, behind bars, the differences between the pedigrees and mixed breeds disappear. There are still some traces of the wolves’ warm fur in the genes of the lucky ones, but the fur of the less fortunate ones has been hopelessly shortened by mankind. Thus, they tremble in the cold if the heated rooms in overcrowded institutions are accessible only to the little ones and the sick.
So don’t be afraid of going to an animal shelter. You’ll see that the dogs living there will desperately try to approach you, just so that they can reach you for a moment sooner or touch you a bit longer. It is enough to reach out to the bars.
Just think of how extremely rarely in our lives we encounter such a mass manifestation of attachment and pleas for help. All of this even if the animals do not suffer from a shortage of food or drinking water and have space to move around in. Because dogs want more than that. For them and visitors alike, a walk together is the greatest experience.
By simply putting on a collar or dog harness, shelter residents are overwhelmed by all the positive and negative memories they have had with humans. They show that our world is not perfect to say the least, and it has left a mark on them, the innocents. Some of them shrink from fear from our mere appearance, or come as close as possible to seek shelter and protection. The most vulnerable often try to make contact by pointing a painful part of their body at us. Others, the “eternal optimists,” bounce about with joy, giving kisses and high-fives, all at once if they can. What we get from the animals here is nothing less than a high dose of “love drug” that we will remember forever. It is heart-warming to receive so much kindness from beings who mostly carry the consequences of their bitter past. All our respect goes to those who dedicate their free time or even their lives to reciprocating this love to dogs with care.
Gyula “Julius” Sebö