The feel of spring is in the air. Not a day has passed the last few weeks that I havenít heard someone mention, with eager anticipation, the coming of spring. Usually I take the polite route with people I know only as passing acquaintances; I smile and nod not because I share in the eagerness for spring to begin, but because I am relieved at the end of the frigid, bitter cold.
I used to love winter, I found the cheek-tingling wind invigorating. As a youngster, I so enjoyed playing outside in the cold weather that I never knew when to come in -- the chill blains I go through in winter to this day remind me of my youthful immaturity. Now I know better than to stay out in the cold too long, but now I also know that the opportunity to seek shelter indoors is a luxury most of us take for granted. During those days and nights when the cold is so severe as to be deadly, I see in my mind the faces of so many animals who may freeze to death before daybreak.
So, when I offer a polite response to casual acquaintances expressing happiness about springís imminent arrival, Iím not dreaming of warm weather or outdoor events as they are; instead, I am relieved that we wonít find anymore animals frozen half-to-death on the alley pavements (until next winter). Street work steals the elementary pleasures (such as enjoying the blossoms and warmth of springtime) from those of us who see firsthand what dark pain the warm weather brings, without exception, to animals living on the streets.
Street work is not a job one can ďleave at the officeĒ; images of the hardships pounding those we do our best to help follows us like a bad smell, forbidding any pure enjoyment of fragrant blossoms or a warm evening breeze. This is why we return to the streets night after night. Our work isnít just a job, itís a calling that pushes us to step in where no one else would dare to go for fear of the danger. But for us, the fear of danger has far less power than the mental imprint of having seen with oneís own eyes the way pain and suffering pounds innocent animals, and we can not ignore the horrors of what they endure, not after seeing it over and over and over.
The pleasures of springtime will have to be left for others to enjoy. Our focus is on the thousands of infants who will soon be born homeless and vulnerable. If our trips through the alleys six nights a week take away some of the pain, if we can get as many as possible off the streets, then we have accomplished some good in a world where life is very dark indeed.
By participating in our Spring Raffle, you will make possible our nightly trips to pl:aces where no innocent animal deserves to struggle through every minute of a miserable life. We have the will and the dedication to return to the alleys night after night; what we need is the way. Your donation is the way. Please contribute what you can to shed some light of relief in a world of hurt. The nursing mothers, the injured and ill, the newborn infants, all of them need us and we need you. Please help provide the means by which we can return again and again to streets and alleys where life without our help--and yours--offers no ray of hope to those unfortunate enough to live and die there.