Ten years ago today, January 1, 2000, I fulfilled a dream I had worked a decade to reach when, for the first time in forever, I stayed home to go to work. Even considering the wild ride this past decade has been, I wouldn’t reconsider my decision. I love everything I’ve had the chance to do, all the people I’ve met, and all the businesses and organizations I’ve helped to succeed. In return they’ve helped me, too, as every assignment has also been a lesson, and every accomplishment another level of confidence and credibility.
Needless to say, my cats also approved of the decision.
I remember the 1990s after I had bought my little house and done a good bit of fixing-up, and all I wanted to do was stay here and enjoy what I’d accomplished so far. When I left for work each day I’d stop at the door and look at this room with its new windows, new paint, my art on the walls and carry that vision with me as I left for another day of unknown length and content working as a typesetter for a direct mail company.
I don’t have a degree in art—I have a BA in English from Edinboro University, with minors in Graphics and Professional Writing. I had majored in art for a year or two, but looking at my output, decided that I was never going to “get it” while I was in college, honestly, I could not draw to save my life; I didn’t understand that I first needed to see, and this didn’t happen until I was a little more mature.
And we’re not just talking about cat and dog food and a few blankets, but office equipment and household goods, too.
If you check the “wish lists” of any organization that offers assistance to animals, you might be surprised at what you’d find they can use. On almost every list for the shelters and organizations here in Pittsburgh I find such various necessary items as an office chair, a multiple CD player and “veterinarians able to perform rabbit spay/neuter.”
Behind the front lines of rescuing, spaying, neutering, healing, housing and adopting animals, there is an administrative body of some sort even if no physical shelter exists. Records must be kept and stored, publicity sent, checks written and staff and/or volunteers taken care of in some way.
Money is always short at shelters and rescue organizations, so it makes sense that donating items that don’t directly serve the animals themselves either saves money, such as office supplies which are necessary, or just makes the atmosphere more welcoming and healing for both animals and staff, such as a multiple CD player or a DVD player which is not necessary but which plays soothing music or an entertaining animal DVD.
Then there are office basics like copy paper, computers and printers, pens, markers and Post-its, and basic housekeeping items such as brooms, mops, laundry detergent and paper towels.
All the more for spay/neuter programs, health care for injured or abused animals and outreach and education programs.
Health care items such as gauze pads, hydrogen peroxide, Q-tips and more are used for animals as well as humans. Think of what you’ve seen your veterinarian or vet tech use.
And then there are the practical things that shelters need in great quantities and use up quickly—mostly food and bedding.