I am not involved with many upscale social affairs, and my name seldom appears on VIP guest lists. However, last week, at a special dinner, I was privileged to be seated next to a VERY IMPORTANT PERSON.

When asked, “What do you do?” I replied that I worked with animal rescue. There was an expressionless, “Oh,” and the rest of the meal she visited with the person on her left.

Later that evening, for some reason my introduction to the group included educational credentials, specific accomplishments, and various honors including recognition in the area of animal rescue. I’m not sure but apparently I was magically “touched by an angel” because suddenly my VIP acquaintance invited me to her “very select weekly study group.” Who knows what opportunities I missed by being otherwise occupied, but it made me realize how thankful I am to be an animal rescuer.

What do you do? I hope that you too are involved in some way with animal welfare. Your work is never done; your home is never quiet, your wallet is always empty, but your heart will always be full, because dogs provide unconditional love, limitless affection, and to-die-for loyalty. They love us, and believe in us, no matter what!

As Roger Caras said, “Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole.” Hopefully Ashley Hill’s story will inspire you to do more for the animals.

“I am an animal rescuer. Even as a child I would bring home stray dogs. Nurture them. Find them homes. I remember how heartbroken to realize that not everyone was like me. It is difficult to understand why everyone doesn’t share my passion. People usually admit that it is painful for them to witness a case of animal cruelty. However, most people are able to see a dog in need, rationalize to themselves that they cannot help the dog, and go about their lives as if they never saw the needy animal.I am the voice for those who cannot speak. Sometimes I am their only hope.

As a rescuer, my heart hurts from the things I have witnessed. I get overwhelmed. I want to scream. Sometimes I want to quit, and completely give up. Then I look at the dogs… I see their capacity for forgiveness—which far exceeds that of most humans. Some dogs have experienced the worst the world has to offer. Many have been chained, beaten, and mistreated for most of their lives.

But when I look at them, I don’t see anger or resentment or self pity. There is only the desire to be loved. The pain associated with animal rescue doesn’t even come close to the joy it brings. They make me smile, and laugh .With each one I save, my faith is strengthened, and my heart is made whole. What most people don’t understand is: I am not rescuing them…they are rescuing me!”

What do you do??? Although credentials and accomplishments are great, years from now they really won’t matter much, but the world may be better because you were an animal rescuer! Be a voice for the voiceless: you may be their only hope.