I recently came back from vacation in the Domincan Republic. I was all geared up and ready for a good time with my good friend from work. Little, naive me didn’t even think twice about seeing stray animals roaming the broken city streets and beaches.
Well, yes. After getting picked up from the airport and on our way to the resort in our shuttle I saw quite a few stray dogs wandering the streets. I immediately became upset. Call me a buzzkill or a sensitive Sally, I don’t care. What I did care about though, was the well-being of those poor dogs. I quickly realized that there was really nothing I could do and tried my best to push it out of my mind. What was I going to do–stop the bus and yell, “A dog! Let me get out and feed it!”
It didn’t end there though. The second day my friend and I were taking a walk on the beach and I saw yet another dog. This one looked injured, as it walked with a limp, and had fleas. My heart was breaking. I was supposed to be having a good time and here I was in tears because I felt so darn helpless. I am not exaggerating when I say that I teared up and decided that I needed some time to myself. I went into the pool to cool off and calm down a bit and I avoided the beach for the rest of the day and the day after that. I couldn’t help returning to the beach a few days later and I worked up the courage to ask someone in Spanish if that was their dog. The man said no but they fed her (thank you, God!) and that she is old. She was 16. No wonder she looked miserable. It made me feel a little bit better, but I was still sad that she seemed hurt and alone.
I saw a few more stray dogs within my time there and it wasn’t easy to swallow. I learned that the stray/homeless animal count in foreign countries are probably much higher than they are here in the US. All I wanted to do was talk to the dogs, help them, heal them, and make them feel loved.
The fact that I care way too much about animals is both a blessing and a curse. That is why I work with a dog rescue–I want to make a difference in these animals’ lives and make them happy. Very happy. Since animals cannot speak/standup for themselves I want to do it for them.