One glance at my mailbox and I quickly read through each mail that I have for the day on adopting or fostering dogs – innumerable mails, some for indigenous Indian dogs , some for specific breeds, some injured or lost or abandoned . Whew!
Did I get overwhelmed by each mail initially – yes, I did. Made me wonder what difference it would make if I read the story of a voiceless living fitted in a few lines. It bothered me as I sat thinking about it for hours after that. After all, our world has a huge number of burning issues; a significantly high number of more pertinent concerns that citizens like me should have the social consciousness for.
If I really wanted to make a difference, maybe that is where I need to focus my energy rather than spend my time sharing information about stray dogs or trying to raise awareness about the needs of shelters or about selfless individuals working tirelessly to make a small, invisible part of the universe a better place.
However, I read each mail that came my way…each seemed to ring in my ears like a silent scream of help, a desperate appeal for sensitivity and a humble request for a tiny piece of earth – and it wasn’t in an earth-shattering moment, but a quiet private moment of thinking about my dog Candy that I made up my mind. We lost her last year after 12 years of sharing her life with us. I say that because it is she who shared her life with us, not us with her–a few moments of laughter dissipated the long shadows of loneliness for each one of us, a few quiet words shared with her dissolved our worries as though she would provide us with a solution. As we lay her to rest, there was only one prayer in my heart – that may she come back in our lives soon. That is the power of an animal who loves unconditionally, on a human life.
That was when I thought – there are several individuals to fight the bigger battles and maybe someday I will too, but today I want to try and fight a smaller battle. Maybe I was not a responsible socially conscious citizen; I did not want to change the world and the lives of millions. I simply wanted to try and bring peace, comfort and love in the life of an animal sitting unseen on the side of each road that we pass through.
My day began with questions – What if I added one additional name to my adoption emails list so that it reaches more people, if I collected one additional blanket that can help a voiceless soul on a rainy night to survive, if I encouraged friends, family, acquaintances, colleagues and anyone who cared to listen, to help those who struggle each day to keep these animals alive?
My hope was always colored with some skepticism – What difference can just forwarding a mail make. Maybe that is what my friends thought when they received a barrage of mails from me on dog adoptions or fostering injured puppies. As expected, on most occasions I did not receive a mail back or a comment offering help. However, at the cost of sounding clichéd, it seems that miracles happen in the most unobtrusive ways. Slowly, I saw a few friends come forward in different ways- some directly contributing to the shelters, some by sharing my mails and posts through their networks and each such instance made my day a little better and my smile a little wider!
There are many life-changing moments that break or strengthen one’s belief– Joy’s (now Joey) adoption was one of those for me. It made it worthwhile to fight the small battles, to persevere for a seemingly low priority issue and to struggle daily with garnering support for it. One sensitive person’s extremely thought-provoking gesture to reach out and open the doors of her home to welcome tiny Joey who had been injured badly, would probably always have a limp and required a lot of patience from her entire family shook my entire perception of what the true meaning of ‘making a difference’ is.
It really wasn’t an action that impacted the nation, it was about giving an innocent animal a better life –life’s goodness shines through in these unnoticed, small moments. Of course, the media will not cover it, it will not be discussed in drawing rooms, and it will not be noticed as contributing to society – because our pre-conceived notions drive us towards certain fixed perceptions of what commitment to a cause means. This instance did not involve contributing for animal welfare, it did not involve raising one’s voice towards cruelty and it doesn’t even involve working as a volunteer with an NGO.
Yes, these are absolutely unequivocal definitions of commitment – one cannot measure the depth of compassion that they have. However, for me, another equally compassionate gesture is to take the bold step that Gayatri and her family (and some others that I now know of) took to adopt an Indian pup. It does contribute to animal welfare as strongly as any other by initiating the step to improve an animal’s quality of life, it clearly prevents cruelty by saving Joey from the merciless drivers on the roads, from disease and starvation, because you have voluntarily chosen to undertake life’s journey with all its ups and downs, with a living being who cannot give you anything beyond unconditional love. But I am not certain of what lies beyond unconditional love…
The long and short of this is that Joey broke down the massive walls of fear that enclosed my heart and soul – the fear of loss that I experienced when Candy passed away, the fear of not being able to cope up with the pain.
And this miracle took place just at the click of a button – to forward a mail and share Joey’s story. So forwarding a mail changed a life which would have otherwise been doomed to the dark abyss…so every time you hesitate about forwarding that adoption mail, think of Joey and what he would have lost if someone decided not to forward that mail….
This is a guest post shared by Simran Oberoi with an embedded hope…may you never think twice before forwarding an adoption email for you never know if a mere click of yours might be the difference for a mute.