THE PAWS CAUSE
Amy Cox who wrote this in May 2011 after the Joplin, Missouri, tornado, when more than 150 people were killed. This was her response to a local posting on a Yahoo group from the small town in Mexico where Amy lived part time, San Miguel de Allende. Someone had posted about helping the needy animals, and this was her response to their plea for people to help within the community there.
Amy is a true model of pawsitive living. It is an honor to feature her writing on DF blog.
We can all make a difference, and I thank you for all of your efforts in helping save the animals. Sometimes I think that we loose sight of just what a small gesture can do and of what a huge impact it can have. I have dedicated my life to helping God’s most precious creatures, a “pact”, if you will, that I made as the result of a prayer being answered in saving the life of my best friend Penelope, a 3 pound Yorkie who is my constant companion. Some of you there in SMA know her, and the blessings that I have received while helping animals and their humans in need have been enormous.
Sometimes a small sacrifice or a moment of our time is all it takes to change a situation from bad to good. It can affect a person’s or animal’s life forever, and sometimes we might not ever know the true effect that our simple gesture has made, but the feeling that we can get in doing so can create a desire to continue in helping others and also to provide a role model for others to follow. I have tried over the years to help animals here in the States as well as my beloved SMA, and the rewards that my family and I receive in our daily efforts are beyond words. Knowing that we saved an animal’s life and thereby helping their human family as well is the greatest reward of all.
In May, a few days after the tornado in Joplin, Missouri, I decided on a whim to get in the SUV and head up north. I posted on Craigslist in the DFW area that I was making the trip, and within hours I had received donations and cash to help with gas expenses. I prepared my vehicle to be able to sleep in it, and I prepared my heart to see total destruction. After all, I had never been to a disaster site, so I did not really know what to expect. I decorated my SUV with paw prints all over it, and wrote “Joplin Bound” and “Saving the Animals” on the windows. People honked at me the whole 7 hour drive, and I had people at rest stops giving me money and thanking me for my efforts. I was already feeling pretty darn good and I was not even there yet. But, once I got there, I soon realize that what you see on TV is not always what reality is.
I signed in 2 found male Shih Tzu’s, and we got them photographed and processed and passed on to be vet checked as to their medical condition. It was discovered that they were micro-chipped, and our spirits were raised when a call was placed in search of their family. Later that day, an elderly man walked up to my check in table, and he was very dusty and disheveled. It had been 1 week since the tornado, and in fact, the President of the Unites States had just given his memorial speech and had just minutes before passed by the building where I was. We had all left our stations to go and wave and see the presidential motorcade, regardless of our personal feelings for his administration. We were there to honor the community. When this man approached me, I could tell that he had been digging in debris, or maybe living under a bridge, I didn’t know, but his appearance seemed almost normal based upon the situation in Joplin. Any other time or place, I would have thought his appearance as troublesome, but here, he was normal.
He explained to me that he was here for his “2 babies”, and when I asked further, he described them as a father and son Shih Tzu pair. I sent a staff member back to go and retrieve the 2 dogs, and when this dusty, filthy man saw those 2 dogs, he LITERALLY fell to his knees, crying and praising God. My throat started to close up and my heart nearly exploded and my eyes filled with tears. To keep from making a fool of myself because of my emotions, I started clapping and shouting and knew instantly why I had driven 7 hours to an unfamiliar place with no set itinerary and no idea of what I was really going to do there in Joplin. I was being blessed by being the person to reunite this “FAMILY”. When I asked this man to fill out our release form so that he could take the dogs back with him, he looked up at me, a dusty face now covered with tears, and asked me how to complete the form. It asked for his address, and he told me that he didn’t have one anymore, that his house had been blown away. He told me that the only things that he had left in the world were his 2 dogs, and I was there to witness this miracle of them being reunited. I will never forget this moment as long as I live.
The next day I drove through the hardest hit areas, stopping to help people and hand out the animal supplies that I had brought with me. People were just walking the streets, almost in a daze, even 8 days after the tornado. Yet, when I would stop and offer my assistance, not one person seemed sad, upset or even concerned about their situation. What I encountered were people who were just amazed that I would drive from Texas to come and bring them dog and cat food. They couldn’t get over the fact that a stranger would come and help them, and I was asked many questions about why I had done so. My explanation probably seemed strange, but I had to tell them that I was “called” there, and that was the best answer I could give. I received so many hugs from complete strangers, people whose lives had been totally destroyed by the storm. They had no home, no car, no clothes and some would think no hope of rebuilding their lives, and yet they were praising me because I thought enough of them to come and help their animal family members. I spent several days just driving around and helping as I could, dispensing what supplies I had and talking to people about their animals and their future. I took pictures of what I had seen, and just recently had the courage to look at them.
Please excuse the long post, but I want everyone there in SMA, and everywhere, to know that no matter what type of gesture you make, whether it be of your time, skills or financial means, JUST DO SOMETHING to help your cause. It might appear to be too small or insignificant to you, but I assure you, your efforts and contributions do matter. I will probably never know if I was able to help anyone in Joplin those few days that I was there, but I do know how those few days affected me. Not another day will go by, in my life, where I will not thank God for my blessings and for giving me the ability to try and help others, human and animal, in need. I will give whatever I have to give at the time, knowing that whatever that might be, it will matter.
Give what you can, when you can, to whomever you can. Change their lives. In doing so, you will change your own.
Blessings to the animals and their keepers.
The Paws Cause
Amy Cox is a president of The Paws Cause, an organization that rescues animals in Texas and central Mexico. She is a Board member of the Sociedad Protectora de Animales in San Miguel de Allende (Mexican version of SPCA). Amy and her husband, Danny Cox, are making the world a better place by operating The Shot Spot, providing mobile, low cost vaccinations and the Zeutering procedure, a pain-free, non-surgical way to neuter male dogs. They also provide veterinarian services through The Pet Vet at Petco.
THANK YOU, Amy, for your kindness, bravery, and love.
Learn more about The Shot Spot: www.theshotspot.org
Learn more about The Pet Vet: www.thepetvet.com