Sunday, January 2, 2011

Goodbye and Hello

I love Christmas. But because I'm a free thinker with no affiliation to any religion, it isn't Christmas per se that I love. It is the whole Christmas season, the giving spirit in the air, the coming together of friends, lovers and family that sends a rush of anticipation through me. So when 25 December finally dawns, I often find myself filled with a sense of loss. Before I know it, the Christmas season has come to an end.

New Year's eve however is a different matter. I absolutely love the 31st of December. I like the knowledge that it is the very last day of the entire year, that I am on the brink of the next year with all its attending possibilities. On 31st December, I am transformed into a half-glass full kind of optimist, believing foolishly but obstinately that anything is possible in the next three hundred and sixty-five days ahead.

How was New Year's eve for you?

I spent some time thinking about 2011 and Gentle Paws and the sheer possibilities in the upcoming year. I thought and I thought and I thought some more. 2010 was a blast for us. This time last year, we never imagined that we - a stand-alone, privately run shelter - could house up to 38 dogs and slowly garner a small community of supporters like you, dear reader.

In those months leading up to our opening on 3rd April, we were scurrying around looking to raise funds to start up the shelter. We needed money for rental, for food and for much needed infrastructure such as the fencing partition and the roof. We hardly knew anybody but each other. I recall we had to rack our brains to source for contacts. We continued to help out at the old shelter but we had to find manpower to help clean up the new shelter. We're still a baby in the world of dog rescue. But being one who has watched Gentle Paws slowly grow and come into its own, I must say that Gentle Paws then and now is a world of difference.

Certainly, 2010 was not smooth-sailing. We had our fair share of grief and misery. Many dogs fell ill, some left us for good. Our adoption drive wasn't the greatest success as well. Nevertheless, the greatest thing about 2010 is that... it opened up the world to our dogs. Through the inner workings of this savvy miracle called the world wide web, our dogs were no longer confined to the four walls of the shelter. People heard and read about them through our facebook page, our emails and our blog. They became living, breathing creatures with their very own story instead of faceless animals whose plight people heard about and then randomly tossed to the back of their minds.

In 2010, our dogs started having friends. When Dollar passed on, there was an outpouring of sorrow. Others  would drop us an email now and then to ask about perennial favourites like Doris. Yet others would make it a point to drop by once a month - or better, once a week - to visit their beloved furry friend they have come to know and love.

This alone is enough to make 2010 a year better than we could ever have dreamed of.

So, for 2011, we're not hoping for much. All we ask is to see our dogs happy, healthy and well-adjusted. May walks be aplenty, happiness abound and laughter all around. We'll continue to do what we can in the area of dog rescue but as always, our main priority would be our dogs here at Gentle Paws.

Thank you for reading this. Thank you for making it a point to check in on this page every now and then for updates. Thank you for caring about the dogs and their well-being.

We wish you the happiest new year.

One and all at Gentle Paws

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