Monthly Archives: February 2015

Thank You To Alex, One Special Guy

This blog is about people and organizations doing good in the world, making a difference, showing kindness and compassion in challenging situations and events.  I write from personal knowledge of the subjects.  But every once in a while something or someone grabs me and holds on.  This is what happened when I read about Alex and the East Orange NJ Animal Shelter on the Facebook page of Susie’s Senior Dogs .  SSD shines a spotlight on adopting senior dogs and I look forward to their photos and posts that help educate people on the joyful experience an older dog can bring to a home.  (Side note here:  we adopted a then-13 year old West Highland White Terrier two years ago, the love of my life.)

When I read about two dogs who were at the East Orange NJ  shelter, I cringed at what people can do to animals but then became immersed in the story about Alex, the animal control officer for the city and caretaker of the animals at the shelter.  Just the location of the shelter, literally behind the city dump – they share the parking lot – was attention-getting.  Then I read that Alex furnished his office by finding and repairing furniture he found at the dump  and painted with paint he found there too.  Wow! I thought there is someone who knows how to make the most out of any situation.

At the time I must share I was a little off my Pollyanna game: in pain from an injury, cold from a long, snow-filled winter, complaining about various and sundry, this story knocked me over with kindness, goodness, compassion and inspired me to write about this young man, Alex, someone I don’t know – but surely admire.

So who is Alex?  A hard worker for sure.  When Susie’s Senior Dog humans visited they found the shelter cleaner than most shelters and with no other staff besides Alex.  He also rescued the two dogs featured on Susie’s posting, from a life in a foreclosed house filled with dirt and filth.  Apparently the shelter’s reputation has not been the best but the prior staff is gone and Alex is turning things around.  The city provides little in the way of funding or other help which is very sad but hopefully when they see the outpouring of love for the work Alex is doing, they will find a few dollars to help these beautiful homeless animals.

Alex also must have that rare ability to see things as they could be, not as they are.  Check out the photo of the office with repurposed furniture and files from the dump!  He must also have a good heart to care for the cats and dogs with so little in the way of resources*.  And he must also enjoy a challenge – rebuilding a shelter’s reputation is no easy job.  The other thing I noticed is that, on a regular basis, he is the only human at the shelter so he must really enjoy his animal companions.  Alex has the dedication and other qualities I admire, that inspire me, that make me want to be a better person.  Thank you Alex.

As Eleanor H. Porter wrote in Pollyanna so many years ago, “When you know you will find the good-you will get that.”

alex and the dump furniture

 

 

 

*This story is to inspire and motivate others to step up and help when and where they can.  It is not a request for donations or contributions.  But do consider adopting an older dog, a rescue if possible, and perhaps volunteer or provide resources for a shelter that is home to so many of our animal friends.

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Filed under Doing Good, Making A Difference

Rotarians Got Heart

Today is Valentine’s Day and many people are celebrating love and romance with gifts of candy, flowers, cards and special events.  We see the heart motif everywhere and for some reason this morning I wondered where we get the term ‘you got heart?’  According to many traditions, the heart chakra has important meaning – it’s the center of love, caring and compassion, selflessness.  According to Llewellyn attributes of the heart chakra are love, balance, relationship and compassion.  Well this gave me some information but I decided to leave the study of chakras to the experts and moved on to an area I knew a bit more about – sports.

You’ve seen the Rocky movies where Rocky just won’t give up; he digs deep down inside himself to find the strength.  Boxing is well-known for the use of the term ‘he has heart.’  In this context it seems to have meanings of motivation, spirit, energy, and perhaps, passion.  And of course the musical Damn Yankees belts it for us.

The Olympics are another place that continues to define ‘you got heart.’  Just think about Oscar Pitorius.  Speak of motivation, energy, effort and passion.  There are hundreds and thousands of stories that help define ‘you got heart.’

I think about Rotarians around the globe working so hard to make a difference and to change and save lives.  Here in our district Rotarians traveled to Haiti to install water filters in villages with no source of clean water.  A Volunteer Training Team traveled to the Dominican Republic to teach doctors and nurses there lifesaving techniques of heart operations for children in need.  Another Team just returned from Kumudini Hospital in Bangladesh where they trained nurses in midwifery skills.  All around the world, Rotary Clubs are seeking grants from The Rotary Foundation to provide clean water, sanitation, education, economic recovery and disease prevention in some of the most difficult and remote places on earth.  They do it with love, compassion, high spirit, great energy and they don’t give up.

To me, that’s a true definition of ‘You Got Heart.’  Happy Valentine’s Day Rotarians everywhere.

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Filed under Daring To Dream, Doing Good, Making A Difference, Uncategorized