A few weeks ago I was on Twitter; I follow quite a few dog sites as I enjoy their educational and entertainment value. One of the sites, The Toronto Daily Pet mentioned that dog collars were needed for the Pattison K9 Rescue Team heading to Mexico.
My heart “spoke to me” and I decided to tell The Toronto Pet Daily I was on board to assist gathering used or new dog collars for this group. Gord connected me to a dog walker named Maricella Sauceda of Love4Dogs.They provide group and private walks for dogs living north of the Greater Toronto Area.
Maricella told me her friend Julia was going on the trip to Mexico with the team and was leaving in less than a week. I had four business days to collect dog collars!
I never had a moment of “don’t bother with this Becky” in the back of my mind; it just felt like the right thing to do. My goal was to possibly collect 25 dog collars. I believed that I was aiming high, but remembered from other volunteer experience that a positive frame of mind fuels the outcome.
I looked at some videos on YouTube from former Pattison K9 Rescue Team trips to South America. These videos were tremendously inspiring, and I quickly looked up more information about their cause. Instead of heading to South America, this time the K9 Rescue Team was travelling to Cancun, Mexico. They planned to spay and neuter feral dogs, specifically females as they bear the puppies.
The vets providing the medical services will be from the area in Mexico. Additionally, the K9 Rescue Team plans share dog training information with the locals. They plan to particularly focus on schools in order to provide children the opportunity to be educated on how to handle and treat dogs.
The team also plans to visit local animal shelters to share information on training techniques and to give advice on how to house the animals etc. The dog collars collected for this trip will be given to dogs with ill-fitting ones, dogs with no collars or pooches with just basic rope ones.
I shared my desire to collect both new and gently used collars on Facebook, Twitter and by word of mouth. I mentioned my cause to the families whose dogs I walk, friends with dogs, and to my dog walker community. I even told people I know at the dog park of my little venture, which unfortunately was quite a time crunch.
Magic soon started to happen; I was so thrilled. By the second day 25 collars had been passed my way. People left them on my front doorstep, in my mailbox etc. Dog walking friends would pull them out of their dog pouches and say that they were from their clients. One dog walking friend had collars for me and both of us realized that we would not be at the park at the same time. I suggested she leave them in the tree where walkers hang their leashes. Thankfully, they were there when I went to pick them up!
Not one person wanted the “glory” of being a contributor – it was all anonymous. I started piling the collars onto a counter in our dining room. At the end of each day I would look at them and pick them up wondering what stories each collar could tell.
One simple faded blue nylon collar caught my eye. It had a small clump of dog fur on it and I actually got choked up (I cry easily). It obviously had been around for a few years but was in perfect shape without a rip or loose threads. The buckle was in wonderful condition and will serve a needy dog well.
By the last day of my plea to dog lovers almost 90 items sat on my counter. There were brand new collars with sparkly jewels on them, leather ones, funky fabrics and patterns, and dozens of well-loved canine neck bling. Brand new leashes and body harnesses were donated along with everything else.
One of my dog clients sweetly wrapped two collars and a leash in a ribbon and simply wrote on the donation “For a dog in Mexico, Love Shuga,” their dog’s name. I put a note on one of our favorite collars that Abby used to wear, saying best wishes from Toronto. Our family unloaded all our puppy collars we had kept for sentimental reasons and a collar from our handsome Chocolate Labrador Chip who is no longer with us. I must admit I had a twang in my heart passing it on but love the idea that it will help out a dog in need elsewhere.
Julia, the volunteer, came to my house to pick up the haul. It was great meeting her and hearing about the trip. Stay tuned for pictures from her trip and some of her stories. Julia mentioned that, with the collars I collected, she will have 200 to take to Mexico!
Special thanks to my dog loving friends in my community and to my dog walker buddies – Ann Brown of Wiggan’s Pack, Deborah Lynch of Scamps Pet Care, Alexandra Sleightholm of Care of the Dog, Nafisa Noorani of Dog Walking and Jennifer Ego of Pawsitively Pets for putting out the word and gathering awesome donations.
So, moral of the story is that the next time you “feel” a nudge in your heart, follow it through. The magic that follows is purely wonderful and contagious to those around you.
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