Giving Back

Dear Frankie,

I know I live a privileged life. I’m not ungrateful. You wouldn’t believe how self-centered and entitled some dogs are. They don’t have a clue or care about the lives of so many dogs going through unfortunate experiences. When I see programs on TV about dogs chained outside in the winter, homeless, or dumped by the side of the road, I go berserk. It takes me days to stop thinking about these dogs. My parents contribute to shelters and dog charities in my name every year. I told them I would prefer they spend the money on needy dogs rather than on expensive birthday and holiday presents for me. I’ve recently thought that I need to do more for these dogs than ask my parents to send money. Can you suggest ways I could help canines in need or places where I could volunteer?




Dear Tootie,

I read an article about dogs that volunteer at animal sanctuaries as companions to elephants, chickens, and even a tortoise. There is no accounting for chemistry. I see you live in a big city from your return address, so the chance of an animal sanctuary nearby is slim. You could visit dogs at your local shelter, but getting there regularly might not be practical for your parents. You mentioned you go to a dog park. You can’t imagine how many heartbreaking letters I receive from dogs who are lonely and depressed because no one at their park ever notices them or asks them to play. There are organizations where humans volunteer to build caring relationships with vulnerable children. Perhaps you could take a page out of their book and chat with the dogs at your park who look sad or are always alone. You could also suggest that your dog park friends do the same. Just think of the joy and happiness you and your friends could bring to these dogs. It would be life-changing for them to be with canines who cared about them and made them feel special. Just thinking about the difference you and your buddies could make in the lives of so many dogs gives me chills.



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