Monday, March 20, 2006

Extreme Volunteering

I spent most of the day Saturday working with a pet rescue group, getting ready for OKC's Giant Charity Garage Sale.

Instead of working directly with pets (which I've found to be dangerous -- more on that later), I get to work with people's castoff stuff...unloading, pricing, packing and stacking...in another couple of weeks, we'll move all of it out to the fairgrounds and then spend some very long days wheeling and dealing and amassing money by nickels and dimes for homeless animals.

This is a great thing to do in the springtime, in warm sunshine and balmy breezes, with a crew of similarly minded folks (pet rescue people tend to be a lot of fun). We work out of a storage unit facility, so there's no heating and no air conditioning, and little protection from the elements when the doors are open.

This Saturday it was 38 degrees and pouring rain. Most of the crew didn't show up (probably wimped out like my friend Bev), so those of us who did worked like...like...well, not any dogs I know. My dogs tend to spend a lot of time lazing on pillows, even acknowledging my return home with a couple of tail thumps and perhaps an ear perk if they're feeling particularly lively. I suppose I could say that we worked like nurses...

Surprisingly, though, the bad weather brought out the donors in record numbers. Maybe it just seemed like record numbers because there were so few of us to get the work done, or maybe because the rain made for lots of extra work because the Oklahoma winds drove it sideways and right into our faces; we had to work so far back in the storage unit that it was hard to move around.

One couple dropped off 10 to 12 big, heavy boxes of stuff. When we opened them, they all turned out to be trash -- empty plastic bottles, burned out electrical equipment, broken pots. I can't figure out why they did this, unless they wanted a tax receipt without actually donating anything.

Most people, though, brought stuff that should be fairly easy to sell -- furniture, working small electrics, toys, craft stuff, clothes, shoes, dishes, pots, decorative and holiday stuff, even an English saddle...which someone marked $20 until I made them remark it. That riding stuff is expensive.

If you've gotten this far, you are probably wondering why I find it dangerous to work with the shelter animals.

Every time I do, I take one home. I just can't stand the thought of homeless dogs and cats. And since I'm down to two dogs and a lizard, I feel somewhat guilty that I haven't taken in another pet...all it would take would be pleading brown eyes looking into mine, or a hairy body leaning on my leg.

5 comments:

annelynn said...

What a funny juxtaposition - you are a nurse writing about animals... I am in nursing school (or, rather, getting ready to go there) and I work with animals. I would rather work with them (animals) but people like you make me want to help people.

I am so so sorry to read about Jeron. Suicide. It's such a terrible act. He is a beautiful person. I wish you the best in finding peace with his absence.

It's really good to find you. I hope you are well.

annelynn said...

What a funny juxtaposition - you are a nurse writing about animals... I am in nursing school (or, rather, getting ready to go there) and I work with animals. I would rather work with them (animals) but people like you make me want to help people.

I am so so sorry to read about Jeron. Suicide. It's such a terrible act. He is a beautiful person. I wish you the best in finding peace with his absence.

It's really good to find you. I hope you are well.

annelynn said...

Oh, for heaven's sake. I didn't mean to hit "post" twice. I'm sorry. (and how did it happen with the word verification thingie? I'm sorry.)

Jodie said...

Not to worry, annelynn! :)

I was not going to be a nurse. Mom's a nurse, sister's a nurse, best friend's mom was a nurse, but not me. When I was 40, I finally got it and went to nursing school (which I really enjoyed and I love my jobs now). I hope you will like it as much as I do.

Leann said...

This is exactly why I don't volunteer places like that Jodie. My house would be amass with animals.