For me, spring officially kicks off every year with Humane Society of Genesee County’s “Paws on Parade” champagne brunch. As I was getting ready for this year’s event, I suddenly realized it would be my tenth time serving as emcee. I am honored to be asked to return every year, but what is most humbling about this annual Sunday outing are the people who repeatedly turn out to support it.
People not only show up for a fabulous brunch, they give generously to support the cause. No matter what is happening with the economy, time after time, the people of Genesee County amaze me with their generosity. The Humane Society is fully funded by donations and grants. That means, if it weren’t for people willing to part with their hard-earned money, the Humane Society simply would not exist.
I have run across people who sometimes complain about the amount of time and energy focused on saving animals. “They’re just animals,” is the most common comment. I have to defer to Mahatma Gandhi, who said, “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”
There is some debate as to whether it was actually Gandhi or someone else who uttered those words. Honestly, it could have been Joan Jett and the quote would still touch me in the same way. You don’t even have to be a “pet person” to appreciate the sentiment. There are probably a zillion quotes about how society is measured by the way the weakest among us are treated. This is because, as long as there are people willing to lend a voice to the voiceless, there is still hope for all of us.
As long as people are still willing to give what they have – money, time, or both – it means there is still compassion in this world. Compassion, my friends, is alive and well in our little corner of the planet. You may already be well aware of that fact; but I think it is worth pointing out as often as possible.
It is so easy to get caught up in what is wrong with this world, that we can often miss all of the “rights” that are happening in our own backyards. I’ve heard it said that what we focus on becomes larger (this may have actually been Joan Jett). So, I choose to look for the true beauty in this community, and it is all around us. I don’t need rose-colored glasses to see it, either.
If you ever need proof, just take a trip over to The Humane Society shelter in Burton. There, amongst a sea of long-time volunteers, you will find a whole house full of animals that are getting second chances at happy lives. It is all because there are people willing to give up a Sunday afternoon, a few bucks a month, or even a couple of hours a week of their time to bring hope to dogs, cats and the rest of us.
Thank you, Genesee County. ♦