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4508130_300At the end of last year, I started thinking about my husband and I fostering dogs. It made sense for a lot of reasons: we have a house with a fenced-in yard, we love dogs, our dog gets along great with others, and, most importantly, it would make me feel that I was doing something meaningful in the world. Too often, I feel like I’m not doing enough. I believe in leaving the world a better place. I believe people who volunteer and give up their own personal time to create goodness in the world are incredible. How much time do we spend watching TV? How much time do we waste not being productive or helpful? These are issues I struggle with. Obviously, I’m at the stage where I’m not gonna go to medical school and become a doctor who works with Doctors Without Borders in war-torn, far-flung places around the globe. However, your good deed doesn’t always have to be performed on a grand scale to be of significance.

Why not foster a dog? After all we always joke that our dog should be called Gandhi because he is such a bridge builder. He’s never met a dog with whom he didn’t get along. You know those dog owners that say, “Oh, I shouldn’t bring Rocky over. He doesn’t like men.” or “Well I wish we could bring Buttercup over but she gets hysterical when other dogs bark.”? We are incredibly lucky that our little guy goes with the flow and loves other dogs and other humans. Why not harness what we have going on right in the confines of our little house? I was getting excited about fostering. I talked with a woman at my work who is very involved in rescue organizations. I submitted my application yesterday.

I was incredibly surprised when she emailed me this morning, saying she wants to fast track our application since there is a dog who needs a home. This organization is called Voiceless of Michigan, and they accept dogs that would otherwise be gassed or sold for medical research. It makes me crazy!!!! Nothing makes my heart hurt more than animals used for scientific experiments. I think those companies should be outlawed. I am proud that not one item in my bathroom was made by a company affiliated with animal research. I can’t stand for it. It’s so fitting that this group’s tagline is “Speaking for those without a voice.” I believe as humans that is what we can do: give them a voice, comfort them, feed them, find them a forever home where they will know more affection than suffering.

I am excited about doing this. I have a zillion questions about the process, expectations, obligations, and more. I want to do this and I want to do it well. I don’t know exactly what I’m getting into or how inconvenienced we might be. But I’m willing to learn and try. This is going to make me really happy. I just know it. When my husband and I were on a recent road trip, we listed to No Easy Day: The firsthand account of the mission that killed Osama Bin Laden. At the end of the book, the author makes a pitch to all those people who want to do something of service but don’t know how. We’re not all going to join the military (nor do we want to) or be missionaries. However, we can do something good in the world for something bigger than ourselves. We can contribute in our own special ways.

For us, maybe it’s fostering one dog. Maybe it’s saving one animal from the horrors of medical research. Maybe we’re not all vegetarians or vegans or protesters or anarchists or animal liberators. That’s fine. We have to do what we’re called to do. I think for us it might start this weekend with one sweet mastiff mix. I’ll keep you updated!