As we are now fully into the holiday season, I find myself reflecting more than usual on the themes of home, family, and all the good times and shared experiences that bind people together, be they related by blood, by marriage, or even through the bonds of long and intimate friendships which often feel as strong as, or stronger than, any blood ties. The faces I see in my head when I think of the word family include my parents, my sister to whom I'm extremely close, two favorite aunts and cousins, and a few friends with whom I've been laughing and sharing confidences for, in some cases, more than half my lifetime.
Naturally, there are more than a few furry faces in my minds' eye as well, as there is no doubt that Tucker, Phoebe, Olivia, Tanner, and Finn, as well as other dogs and cats I've loved and lost over the years, are indisputably family to me. As such, they obviously play a significant role in familial celebrations, which, for me, have even more significance because of the fact that all five of them ended up in a happy, secure home where they are deeply loved and cherished only by the grace of happenstance and random good fortune. Given their less than auspicious beginnings, their lives could have been far different, and the fact that they all somehow ended up here is nothing short of miraculous to me, a miracle which, I don't mind saying, has been at least as much to my benefit as theirs, if not more so, because I quite simply couldn't imagine my life without any of them, even while I know that I will someday not only have to imagine it, but live it.
When my thoughts travel down this particular path, though, I can't help but be mindful of all the people out there who are bereft of family and friends during a time of year when not having the comfort and security of those long and intimate relationships must be particularly painful. And of course, I also think about all the animals out there who don't have the luxury of lounging on comfy beds or snuggling on couches, who are lucky if they get anything at all to eat, let alone the nutritious (and hopefully delicious) foods I so carefully prepare for my fur monsters, who are in shelters facing the prospect of being euthanized at worst, or, at best, living out their lives in a cage. I think about the dogs and cats who are roaming the streets with nowhere safe and warm to sleep, scavenging for scraps and garbage, or who are tied up to sheds or in yards or rusting mobile homes with nothing to drink but dirty, slimy water (that is, if the water hasn't frozen in the wintertime). The scope of the horror, in all its myriad variations, is past imagining, really, and yet it is happening thousands of times over even as I write these words.
So as the holiday season ramps up to full throttle, I can only be grateful, anew, at my own good fortune. I have a wonderful family (human and canine/feline), a few close friends I know I can always count on, a secure and stable job, a home I enjoy coming home to, and all in all a pretty darn good and happy life, even with all the stresses and sometimes petty worries that seem to be an unavoidable part of the human condition. And my heart, therefore, hurts for those who are not as fortunate. There are a lot of lonely people in the world, as well as a lot of animals facing very uncertain futures. Wouldn't it be great if some of them could find each other?
I think about animals like Bruno, a lovely young Husky/Akita mix who is looking for HIS home, both for the holidays and forevermore. I learned about Bruno on this blog , which is a site devoted to photographer Rachel Lauren's photography clients. Rachel's blog is one of my very favorites, and one that I try to visit every day. Her photos are stunning, so if you haven't checked her blog out in the past, you really ought to. And in fact, she took a beautiful photo of Bruno, below.
|Photo Credit: with kind permission of Rachel Lauren Photography|
If you or someone you know is looking for a beautiful boy like Bruno, you can contact Rachel at firstname.lastname@example.org
Let's get this guy a home for the holidays, ok?
And may all YOUR days this holiday season be merry and bright.