Do you know? We started this blog when I was twenty two?
I scroll down the entries now, both aghast at how childish I sounded and delighted at the fact I made the effort to pen all those posts. Because I did, almost five years on, I will always have a part of the shelter's growing process to keep with me.
It's fascinating to re-read our posts on which the dust of the passing years has long settled. Like a bystander peering in, I get a feel of the excitement we must have experienced as we spoke to the management about the land and monthly rental, the cleaning and painting of the shelter and the construction of the dividing fences. I remember introducing our dogs to their new home, watching them run down the connected corridor from their old home to the new one, filling the place with their four legged presence.
I recall the ups and downs of our initial years. Our infrastructural woes and the medical crises that would crop up time after time. I remember turning to this quiet sanctuary on cyberspace and pouring my heart out. I bemoaned the fact that no matter how hard we tried, the shelter might never be good enough to keep our dogs safe. I pondered about the subject of death and questioned if our dogs' passing was a rite of passage for shelters like ours, heartbreak being life's way of educating us. As I grew older, I looked at the ethics of dog rescue and questioned the propriety of choosing to save one dog over another.
Later, our Facebook page came under my care as well. I had never really been a user of social media prior to that, the sole reason for my account being to spy on others. Nevertheless, I was encouraged by the instantaneous response to my posts on Facebook in the form of "likes" and comments. I thrived on thinking up new content each morning as I took the train to work. Like an eager bird taking flight, I left the blog behind in a cloud of dust. Work and family commitments meant I had little time to do up thoughtful pieces on the blog. On Facebook, I could keep it shorter and less personal.
I didn't realise it, but this blog was a witness to my personal growth. Penning those entries made me sit down, reflect and ponder about issues I would have otherwise brushed aside in our busy every day life. It also gave me the opportunity to recount rescue stories of our dogs and through writing, leave an imprint of their lives in our world long after they have left us. For some adopters and volunteers, I learnt that the blog remained the first contact point to the shelter. Facebook, I discovered, as a result of its open concept and user-friendly convenience could make things difficult to manage. From the experiences of other rescuers, shelters and animal groups, I saw that posts could be shared before they were properly read, witch hunts carried out on individuals or groups because of purported wrongdoings and personal attacks made when emotions flare. Facebook was useful as a social medium to spread awareness to the masses but oh, how very treacherous it could be too.
The blog on the other hand makes me feel safe. I reckon blog readers are another genre of internet users, a calmer and more collected group. I guess anyone who bothers to plow through these words can only be so! And as a result, I am back to my nest with a renewed appreciation for it and brimming with ideas on how to make it a better place for us all. I revamped the appearance of the blog to the best of my ability. Just like the way short sentences make the best prose, I decided that a simple blog skin (requiring minimal web design skills) made the most presentable site. I have updated all my tabs - namely the "About Us', "Sponsor Our Dogs", "Pledge A Walk" and "Adoption" tabs. I also threw in a "Contact Us" tab because people are always confused about our location or get mad when they leave nice Facebook private messages we don't reply to. I have grand dreams of integrating our adoption portal into this blog, with a profile for every dog and am working out the intricacies involved. I intend to continue ranting and pouring my heart out on here on a regular basis, to let you understand the obstacles we face in running a small, independent shelter.
The idea is for this url to be a convenient one-stop shop for anyone interested to volunteer, sponsor or adopt at our shelter.
I hope you have a good stay here.