AMAL MUSES, 17 OCT 2017
This week I wrote about my trip to the local animal shelter. And guys, I can't stress this enough - if you're thinking about getting a pet, please adopt instead of buying.
There are so many crazy kinds of cute at the animal shelter, I promise!
By Amal Ghazali
I’ve had pets all through my childhood. My Mom loves cats, so we’ve always had cats around the house. There was even a point when we had seven cats at one time, and it started to feel like we were running a cat farming center. Then we had a bird, but my brother, a toddler at the time, took it out of the cage and stepped on it. That was the end of our pet bird era.
We also had tortoises, but they needed cleaning too often. We had fish too, but they ended up dying one by one and down the toilet they went.
There was a sugar glider that died due to a mystery cause, and when we buried it my brother was so sad he placed a Ben 10 figurine in the grave so that it will never get lonely.
And of course, there was also a pet duck that ended up becoming our neighbor’s meal. But that’s a story for another day.
Re-Igniting a Lost Love
As an adult I have never had pets. I bought a cactus and it died in three days, so suffice to say I have no talent in taking care of another living thing, hence the decision to not have a pet. And if my childhood animal-caring experience had taught me anything, it is that sooner or later they will all die and I will have to go through the anguish of losing something I am emotionally attached to. When animals die it is a strange feeling of sadness. You remember how innocent they are and how joyfully sincere they are in wanting your affection, and so when they are gone it’s another emotional baggage to bear. I didn’t want that anymore.
So for the likes of me, people who love animals but for some reason are not able to care for them at home, there are other alternatives to obtain this therapy. If you’re an animal lover you’ll probably understand what I’m talking about. After all, research had shown that people who bond with animals are a lot less stressful and lead healthier lives. Although it’s great to vent to another human being about bad traffic or a colleague at the office who is being a witch, there is great comfort in indulging in some time with a pet whose life concepts are a lot simpler – eating, playing, napping or cuddling.
So after doing some background research, my friends and I decided to pay a visit to an animal shelter nearby. I have actually never been to one before, and in my mind I had painted a picture of what it might look like; a dark dungeon with a permanent smell of poop, with floor-to-ceiling metal cages filled with cats and dogs with dull fur and rabies.
In fact, it was quite the contrary.
I dare to go on and say that the place looks like it was fit to be an animal sanctuary for suicidal people.
First of all, it was such a happy place. The area was large an open, the staff were warm and friendly and obviously loved all the animals they were caring for. All the cats and dogs were well-fed, clean and well-behaved, and there were trees, grass and murals on the walls. I was also surprised to see so many volunteers. There were people volunteering to play with the cats and take the dogs out for walks. One of the staff at the place, Ariff, also told me that all the animals were trained, vaccinated and neutered. The whole place was far from the abandoned nightmare I had in my mind.
Selfless Love Is The Best Therapy
During my visit we met a family who was there to adopt two cats. I was informed that the shelter sees up to twelve dog adoptions and twenty cat adoptions each month, which is a pretty good rate. It seems that there are a lot of people out there willing to share a home with these lovable, furry creatures.
Sometimes, what your mind needs is a break from constantly calculating what your end of a bargain is. That is to say that sometimes, giving love instead of expecting anything in return is the best kind of relief you need. Some people find it through doing charities for the less privileged, and some people find it through connecting with other living things in this world, such as animals.
It was a day well-spent at the animal shelter. Although from the outside it seemed like I was doing the animals a favor by investing some time and affection for these homeless strays, but in truth it was the furry friends that made me come home a lot happier and in better spirits after it all.
If you’re interested in volunteering or even adopting a pet, visit www.spca.org.my for details.