When it’s raining in my neighborhood, I lie awake and think about all the poor animals outside, wet and cold. When it’s raining in someone else’s neighborhood - or city - or state - I think about those animals, too. Furry strangers I do not know, but I can feel. I feel them. I wake my husband up and nuzzle into his arms and he tries to calm me down.
Weeks ago there were powerful storms in Texas. Dark skies. Flooding. And sure, I worried about the human beings, the homeless community, and my family and friends who also happen to live there. But mostly (sorry Mom and Dad) I worried about the dogs and cats trapped outside. The chain and tethered, the feral, the half lawn-ornaments, the wholly discarded. I thought about how they could possibly move when needed, when desperate, like people do, people who run and jump and flee. Because if you don’t take your dog with you, where does he go? Because if you don’t stop for that kitten drowning in a sewer hole, who does?
Then a friend sent me this picture. This is the line of people in Austin who answered the call for emergency foster homes immediately after the floods. This is the line of people who waved their hands high in the air and said, “Over here! Me! I’ll take her in.” This is the line of people who opened their hearts, opened their homes, and did not forget their pets or anybody else’s either. This is the line that makes me weep with lastima and joy and hope, and a renewed faith in humanity, and a wish that everywhere, in any place, at any time, there is such a line.
The rain is over now. The storms have passed. But there are animals still out there, still in need, still cast aside. Even when the weather is perfect. Please - get in line.
p.s. Being a foster is THE BEST. Get in touch with your local rescue groups or animal shelters to find out more.