I was won over pretty quickly, but being the dutiful (and scared that I might end up sleeping on the couch or in the garage) husband, I kept to the party line. “We don’t need a dog.” Eventually, Kim wore down too.
And Bailey came into our life. A beautiful Golden Retriever. Two years old. Housebroken.
And near death.
When we picked Bailey up, we could easily count her ribs. She was more than shy, more than timid. She was afraid. Noises. Quick movements. If I took off my belt, she’d run. It was weeks before we realized she could bark. She was silent. Quiet. Almost sullen. And like I said, afraid. Neither Kim nor I said it out loud, but we didn’t think Bailey would last more than one or two weeks. If that.
The Vet said she’d be fine, though she was malnourished. Started her on a regimen of pills. Vaccinations. Food. Water. Mostly love.
Still timid, mostly with men and boys. Playful. Protective. Sleeps in Emily’s room, though Kim is her favorite. Funny how that happens!
As a counselor and teacher, I saw many kids like Bailey.
Afraid. Malnourished- not only from a lack of food and clothes, but from a lack of care, of compassion, of love. One as sad as the next.
When we would have visitors in California, I enjoyed being tour guide. One of the places they wanted to see was Hollywood Boulevard. There was a major discrepancy in what they imagined it looked like and what it actually looked like. Gone was the glamour, the elegance, the money. Instead, dark, dirty, grungy. Run down.
I remember following one street kid. Probably late teens, early twenties. Walked quickly. Some popcorn had spilled on the sidewalk and without breaking stride, he reached down and scooped up some with his right hand and shoved it into his mouth. A few steps later, there was a half-eaten Twinkie. Again without breaking stride, he scooped it up and ate it. How hungry he must have been.
It’s been years since I watched that young man. As I write this, I can still see it happen. I see him. I picture other kids like him.
I’ve always wondered what his life . . . their life . . . was like that would chase them out of their homes and onto the street. How bad it must have been.
Certainly no love. No Care. No Compassion. No . . . Hope?
A rather one-sided view, I’m sure. Don’t know the reasons these kids landed on the street. Just that they are there. Existing, not living. Functioning day to day, night to night. Surviving.
You know, I believe in kids. Always have. Their resilience. Their toughness. Their ‘smarts’.
I think as adults, beyond food and shelter, beyond clothes and a place to sleep, we need to give our kids a future. We need to give our kids lessons of love, of compassion. We need to care. We need to help them understand that they have a place in life, in our homes, in our hearts.
We need to give them The Gift Of Hope. For it is with The Gift Of Hope where our children see their future, our belief in them. Without The Gift Of Hope, there are no dreams. There are no wishes. There is no future. Hope gives our children a chance, an opportunity. We need to do this for our children, for ourselves. We need to do this. Something to think about . . .
Live Your Life, and Make A Difference!