Shake It Up in 2015!

New Years Gordon

On New Year’s Eve, as I sat at the party table sipping a cocktail and having a love/hate relationship with my girdle – I was asked what my New Year’s resolution would be. At first I grimaced, thinking through all the years where I made extensive lists with vision boards and “10-steps” to get more fit or become more “happy”. Then, after some reflection, I realized that my most successful, fulfilling resolutions never had anything to do with me at all.

A few years ago, I was still new to Toronto, working nights, feeling lonely and completely lost as I had no desire to pursue a career in my newly acquired degree. So, instead of moving back to “the farm” and into my parent’s house, I thought to myself, “I can at least give a couple hours per week to Annex Cat Rescue. After all, it’s a great cause and who knows what will happen.”

And just like that, about two years ago I began volunteering at Annex Cat Rescue, a decision I made not only for my love of cats, but also to get away from me, me, me. By giving my energy and placing my focus outward, I have made the greatest impact on my life and well-being.

After completing the simple on-line volunteer form, I was soon helping with the partnered Spay-Neuter clinics and from there I became an Adoption Facilitator. This was rewarding and also challenging at times, for just as there are many wonderful and caring adopters, there are still some who possess the attitude that cats are an item who require little commitment. However, with these encounters, I gained further insight into how I wanted to re-direct my life.

I’ve had people ask why I bother, as there will always be homeless cats and there’s enough “human problems” in the world. Perhaps that is true, but with that hopeless thought, why bother to do anything in life at all? Homeless animals are a human problem. It’s a problem in our evolution and enlightenment as a society. Each act does make a difference, not only for future feline generations and the ones we directly help now – but volunteering helps put more humaneness in humanity.

Through meeting other volunteers, I have seen such dedication and thoughtfulness to the point that I’ve felt a little guilty. However, I remind myself that ACR has over 300 volunteers and with each person giving whatever time or talents they can, we have been able to help thousands of cats through TNR, fostering or the Stray-Feral Hotline – just to name a few.

Volunteer Collage

I now work at a veterinary clinic and recently enrolled to upgrade my math and sciences (I guess I really did need those subjects after all!) with the intention going to Veterinary College. Two years ago I never would have thought I’d be able to do this. So if you’re looking for a new way to shake up your life, your skills and your network of friends, why don’t you give volunteering in 2015 a shot? You never know where it will take you.

— Brianna Gare

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