The price of being a volunteer

For those of you who have not read my previous articles, I will introduce myself once again. My name is Paul and I am part of the ‘Change One Life’  Cat Rescue Team. To be exact, I’m the person who feeds and cares for all the colonies we monitor, besides our team efforts of rescuing, fostering and helping homeless cats.

Volunteer work involves a lot of personal efforts and sacrifices, and one have to make use of all means available such as time and money. Sacrifices involves: reducing the time dedicated to our professional lives and giving up potential profits, forgetting about leisure time, renouncing to many aspects of a fulfilled private life. It also means witnessing the great suffering we find out there, dealing with injustice everyday and so many other things I’d rather not dwell on to keep it short.

That being said, we could think that is a high price to pay for being a volunteer however every time I see how they rely on my volunteer work to survive day in and day out, the burden of all sacrifices being made vanishes within seconds and leave me with a sense of fulfillment and inner peace, knowing that is all worthwhile.

Nevertheless, there is a much higher price to pay when you become a volunteer. Sadly, this high price is set by none other than “human beings”, most of which do not fail to amaze me negatively every time.

Every night after midnight, I sneak into my own garage full of emotional tension to prepare the water and food containers I need to feed the colonies and do my best to avoid being seen by the neighbors. Then I get into my car and start doing the rounds. I tiptoe like a thief in the nigh to place every container. I feel the tension building up , sneaky movements, always on the lookout wherever I go. Once there, I have to be very fast and diligent to successfully consolidate the routine the most effective way possible. I usually have to kneel down to leave everything for all the cats and  kittens  in well hidden places where nobody can see nor remove the containers so that food and water can last longer for them, at least until morning so they can have a little something to eat for breakfast.

In spite of all efforts made, some people still get to spot some of the feeding stations and just throw it all away.  For instance, every single day there’s a man who religiously trashes the containers with all the remaining food and water from the night before, but he is not the only one. There are so many hostile places with hostile humans that not only could they care less about helping animals or any other living beings, but on top of it all, if they catch somebody trying to help homeless animals they’d file a report, call the police, start an argument or ultimately throw all the containers away.

By throwing everything away every single morning with precise determination, they end up ruining all my hard work. Such people surely not make use of their perseverance to do any good or improve their own lives but it seems to come in handy to do harm to other living beings, knowing their behavior will most probably cause them to die of hunger and thirst.  Totally bizarre and mind-blowing to say the least, in fact I cannot really find the appropriate adjectives to describe such human behavior and it will always remain a mystery to me.

Every night I go back out there to do my rounds and start from scratch all over again but often on my way back home I stop to wonder: How is it possible that I have to leave my garage with all this tension as if I were someone who is about to commit a crime? How come I’m regarded as a thief while all I’m doing is trying to help others? How come I have to hide like a criminal to try to save some lives? Is this for real? Well, yes it is. This is the real price a volunteer has to pay to save lives . It’s the toll other human beings unmistakably make us pay every single day if we are to take the road of compassion for homeless animals.

In this society, if I sacrifice my personal life and part of my professional life for other living beings I must hide like a thief while self-centered people who live selfishly and trash their food every morning do not feel the need to hide from anyone. On the contrary, they take pride in doing it, claiming that people like me are evidently crazy.

I invite all LoveCATS followers to pitch in and fight ignorance by raising awareness among these people. If you ever experience such situation, please try to make these people understand the damage they inflict on innocent and defenseless living beings by throwing away their food and water; make them realize how these living beings (just like any of us) could starve to death or dehydrate without any food or water. And what for? So that their surroundings look neater without a few plastic containers lying around. Who are these “so called people” to decide who has the right to eat and who are to starve to death?

As far as I’m concerned, I won’t give up. I’ll be back every night, time after time, to replace those food containers again and again for as long as they need me to. However tired I might be by the time I finish my rounds and despite of all the logistical and psychological pressure I have to face night after night, I’ll never back down.  You may be wondering: where do I get all this strength to carry on in spite of it all? Well, I’ll tell you my little secret:

This is what I think:  If all these cats and kittens I take care of everyday do not get their food & water tonight I will not be able to sit at my table and have any food nor drink at peace with myself.

Once at home, after doing the rounds, so tired and stressed I tell myself: Tonight my labor of love is done and now I can sleep peacefully, knowing that I have earned the right to eat and drink just as all living beings in this world should!

Thank you all for reading me. Hope these lines motivate you to contribute somehow to re-establish a more equitable society.