Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Working Together ...

Edwina, scared and timid, arrives
on transport and is greeted by
AHS staff, Melissa, with love,
patience and reassurance.

I continue to hold in my heart a dream and a vision that for those of us passionate about animal rescue and welfare, that we can work together in a positive, collaborative and respectful manner … that we can suspend judgment of others, seeking first to understand than to be understood; that when challenged with viewpoints, values and perspectives different from our own that we rise above walls of divisiveness that can rise fast and furiously, and make a conscious choice to reach out in kindness, compassion and understanding; that we reach, yes, for the stars, for the highest possible layer of what brings all of us together, focusing on the good and on the potential of what can emerge from collaborating, and the sharing of resources and ideas; that we set aside our own egos, our own agendas and we work together for a higher common good; that we all collectively take ownership of causes near and dear to our heart, and eliminate any Us versus Them thinking; that we honor, respect and value the diversity we all bring which in the end strengthens us as a community.

Over the years as I have immersed myself deeper into the world of animal rescue and animal welfare, I have learned how little I know; how there is no black and white – just a lot of grey; how it’s far more important for me to ask questions in my quest to deepen my understanding than to spout off what I believe are my truths and answers to problems; and how important it is for us to work together.

I have chosen my cause to focus on right now to be animal welfare ... regardless of what your cause or passion is there will be someone or some group that will have a different view point, different approach and a different set of values. We must reach beyond our differences and find common ground, and in the process we must reach out our hands, open our hearts, and learn to listen, truly listen, without judgment. We must, in my humble opinion, be more like the beloved animals we work tirelessly to rescue and re-home. Ironically, in our efforts to help these beautiful beings, in the end, we are the ones receiving even greater gifts.

"I do not go to a meeting merely to give my own ideas. If that were all, I might write my fellow members a letter. But neither do I go simply to learn other people's ideas. If that were all, I might ask each to write me a letter. I go to a meeting in order that all together we may create a group idea, an idea which will be better than all of our ideas added together. For this group idea will not be produced by any process of addition, but by the interpenetration of us all." - Mary Parker Follett.

"Years ago I recognized my kinship with all living things, and I made up my mind that I was not one bit better than the meanest on the earth. I said then and I say now, that while there is a lower class, I am in it; while there is a criminal element, I am of it; while there is a soul in prison, I am not free." ~ Eugene V. Debs

Leech Lake Legacy is just one example of a collaborative effort of individuals, rescues, shelters, and businesses coming together to help the animals of Leech Lake Reservation.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Leech Lake Legacy

Legacy in his pirate outfit for Halloween
I continue to celebrate a lot of firsts with my sweet Legacy. He is now 4 months old. When he first arrived he was a mere 4.5 lbs. A few days ago at the vet he weighed in at 21.4 lbs! He touched my heart when he first arrived, and he continues to wiggle deeper into my heart as I witness how he brings out the puppy in Ahnung, how he has been an incredible foster brother (we are now fostering a 10 week old puppy, Zuzu, who was a rescue from Red Lake Reservation, and is up for adoption through Act V Rescue), and how incredibly wise and smart he is for a 4 month old puppy. There was this knowing I felt in my gut when I first met Ahnung. Even though I hadn't planned on adding a third dog to my family, it happened and it was the best decision I ever made. Not long ago, I went through a similar process where my head kept telling me adopting Legacy and having 4 dogs was too much, yet something in my gut and heart kept telling me that Legacy was meant to be a part of my life, and that he was going to play a critical role in my volunteer work in the animal rescue/welfare world. I am now able to see how he is going to follow in Ahnung's footsteps ... these two rez dogs are bonded and are an incredible role models for dogs/puppies needing rescue, re-homing and ambassadors for the importance of spaying/neutering.

I don't think it was a 'coincidence' that Legacy was the puppy (out of the 13 that temporarily found their way to my home at the end of August) who ended being a permanent member of my family. The collaborative effort to help the animals up at Leech Lake Reservation began in early May, and the effort at that time was named Leech Lake Legacy. Suffice to say, that my sweet Legacy is destined to be the spokesdog for the efforts to help his friends up at the Reservation. As of 11/20 we have been able to give 165 dogs/cats a second chance .... I created a video to celebrate this incredible collaborative effort ...

To learn more about our efforts, check out the Leech Lake Legacy blog at http://leechlakelegacy.blogspot.com/

Legacy's first snow ...
loving it!!!

Legacy 'working' with our foster pup Zuzu --
teaching her how to play! He loves his job :)