An email I received last week has caused me to do some thinking.
What is my mission?
This is the biggie. Without a mission, I can end up running in circles and drifting aimlessly. I can't do it all - no one can - and I shouldn't try.
The header of my blog states: Education - Information - Awareness
These 3 things are my mission - to bring awareness of issues regarding companion animals; to provide information; and to educate.
In addition to sharing news articles, various blogs, and Facebook postings, I want to really make people aware of what is happening with companion animals. The Stop the Killing series on my blog is a part of that. It's unfortunate, but sometimes you have to smack people upside the head with graphic pictures and facts that are horrifying.
Information covers a lot of territory, ranging from awareness to local resources to contacting officials and more. I want to have and make available a wide range of information for people who need or want it.
Education, well, that's another large territory. So much of what I post is educational in some way. When you make someone aware of something, you are, in effect, educating them about it. But that's not all I want to do. If you read parts 2 and 3 (Causes and Solutions) of my blog series, you know I listed a number of educational issues. This is the type of education I want to do.
While working on my most recent blog post, I realized outreach programs are part of what I want to do. Not necessarily starting or running them myself, but to advocate for them and try to help them come into being.
Reading through what I have written so far, I realize it's all extremely broad in scope, perhaps too much for one person. I started this note yesterday morning, saved it, went about my day, came back to it, edited a little bit, saved and went about my day, went back to it and saved, went to bed, and now here I am back at it again this morning.
Why? Looking through my newsfeed throughout the day, I am bombarded with pictures and stories of Pit Bulls in shelters, in rescue, in foster, in the temporary care of a Good Samaritan, who were shot, cities considering BSL against them, over 2 dozen killed in Memphis in a single day, the poor bait dogs like Sissy, dog fighting busts involving them, the inhumanely starved like Rocco and Patrick, and even one killed by his owner because she apparently decided to not work to re-home him. These pictures and stories flow through my newsfeed like a bleeding wound that cannot be stopped on a daily basis.
My heart aches to see them posted by pages like Urgent Part 2, or by crossposters. My heart aches when I read their stories of abuse or neglect, or being bounced around and never knowing what a loving home is like. My heart aches when I read about bait dogs like Sissy. I have to constantly remind myself that I can't take them - the Cocoa's, Deja's, Monte's, China Doll's, Angel's, Axle's, and too many more to remember and list – because I can’t take them, not even one, at this time.
Don't get me wrong, I shed tears and say prayers for all the other animals too. But the Pit Bulls really touch me in a way I can't explain. Perhaps it’s because I’ve always been against prejudice and racism in all its forms, and Pit Bulls are certainly on the receiving end of this in our society. In Sister Act II, Whoopi's character told one of her students "If you wake up in the morning, and you can't think anything but singing, then you should be a singer, girl."
I am always thinking about Pit Bulls, so it follows that this is where my focus should lay. It doesn't mean I will ignore all the others, because I won't. A lot of what I want to do applies to all companion animals. A lot of the information, both for awareness and education, applies to all. So it won't matter if I'm talking in general or specific terms, you can apply it to your pets, the animals you work with or rescue, and/or the animals you share and crosspost.
For months now, I’ve had a dream of a sanctuary where the Pit Bulls found on the streets or are in a shelter can live while they wait for their forever homes. I am not a non-profit (at least not yet – I am seriously considering it) and I cannot swing it financially on my own, but it’s something that a single day does not go by without me thinking about it.
Sometimes you have to follow your heart. I’ve started slowly, even hesitantly, taking “baby steps” as I waded into the world of animal advocacy. As I’ve learned, I’ve grown, and I’ve kept following my heart to try to help companion animals in some way. Since early June when I met Simba, my heart has cried out for the Pit Bulls more and more, louder and louder. I can’t ignore it any longer.
So now I need to research; write out ideas, plans and drafts; to work out my “battle plan” for what I want to accomplish. If I want to make my dream a reality, I will have to do even more planning and work, including becoming a non-profit.
In the meantime, I will continue to post on APAA as I always have. I plan on sharing my “journey” as is appropriate. I hope you understand and will continue to support me.
Thank you to all the advocates who like APAA, and to those who simply visit, read and share. Each of you help the animals in your own way, and it takes all of us together to make a difference.