Lost Dogs & Inspiration
I was woken up abruptly at about 6AM this morning. I could hear our dogs barking and sounding a little out of control. If you have dogs, you know the kind of bark I'm referring too. It's that loud, deep, incessant kind of barking. At the same time I could hear my husband calling for my daughter to come "quickly"! I jumped out of bed to see what all the commotion was about. Mystery solved, we had a visitor on our deck. Yep this little guy...
We have some serious dog lovers in our house, so when a cute and fluffy canine with no collar or identification shows up at our door, well he's going to be well looked after. Bringing this cute, shivering, young pup into our house created a little bit of chaos. My eldest daughter owns a Norwegian Elkhound/Akita Husky cross, who turns into 100 pounds of crazy when any living thing approaches. OK, it wouldn't be fair if I didn't at least show you a picture of Neven. Handsome boy, right?
Finding a Solution
My 11 years old daughter suggested keeping him (no surprise there), to which I quickly pointed out he appears clean and healthy and must have an owner who's missing him. So what to do? One daughter took him out to the front porch in case someone was driving by looking for him. The other daughter got him some water, food, and a blanket. My husband drove around to see if he could see anyone who might be looking for a lost dog. I googled and found a number to call and a site to post his picture on. Thankfully our local Animal Services (#koodosNorthPerthAnimalServices #thankyouVince) had an after hours number and offered to come and pick him up, which they did within about 10 minutes!
After handing over the little guy, my husband and I decided to go for breakfast. While eating, we overheard our waitress sharing that a colleague would be late because "Carlos" was lost. My husband and I looked at each other with that, "did you just hear what I heard" kind of look. I asked the waitress if Carlos was a dog and if so, what he looked like. She described him, I showed her a picture and sure enough, the dog we just handed off to Animal Services was indeed, Carlos. She immediately notified the owner and by now Carlos is no doubt back home with his family, of which one member I'm told is an 8 year old girl. Don't you love a happy endings? Makes my heart sing.
The Art of Charity
Are you thinking to yourself, good story but what does it have to do with running a charity? In short, lots!
1. Charity always starts in the heart. According to Merriam-Webster the definition of charitable is to be"full of love for and goodwill toward others : benevolent." If my dog loving girls weren't full of charity toward this lost pup, who knows what might have happened to him.
What fills your heart with love and goodwill? That's where your motivation for all the challenges you'll face must come from. Stay connected to that. It has to come from the heart.
2. Build your team. You've heard it said, "it takes a village to raise a child". Well it takes a "village" to run a charity too. There were four of us in the house this morning, my eldest daughter was the first to take charge and insist we help this pup, so we all pitched in. Each of us took on an important role, and together we rescued a lost pup. We followed my daughter's heart and passion and we all reaped the reward of having contributed to a happy ending for Carlos and his family.
If you're the one with the vision and passion, share it with others. They may not want to take the lead on your charitable mission, but many will be happy to help. They'll join the team and make a difference along side you and others. You need them and they need you too. To quote Helen Keller, "Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much".
3. Partnerships are invaluable. We quickly engaged two charitable organizations after finding Carlos. Our local Animal Service and an online group which invites you to post pictures and information about lost and found animals. Without them, providing ongoing shelter for Carlos and reuniting him with his family may not have been so seamless.
Bill Gates said, "Our success has really been based on partnerships from the beginning". Look for partnership opportunities and enjoy greater success.
4. INSPIRATION! Don't leave home without it. Look for it everywhere. When you see it, embrace it, and allow it to fill up your soul. That's what we did after leaving the restaurant. I mean, what are the chances that we would be sitting in that restaurant at that very moment to overhear that one little comment which caused Carlos to be reunited with his family? Now that's inspirational. It had nothing to do with our work in South Africa, but it nonetheless, inspired us and we'll use that inspiration to fuel us for the hard work of building Sawubona Project.
Being charitable (aka running a charity) isn't always inspiring. The truth is, it can be down right difficult and you're going to need inspiration, lots of it. But don't expect the thing that inspired you today to get you through tomorrow. Instead enjoy, breathe, and soak up your moment of inspiration. Let it fill you in the present and let it carry you as far and as long as it can, but expect it to have a shelf life. There's always more. As a friend and life coach (@PatricaDewit) once said to me, "walk around with your eyes and arms wide open so you can see the things you bump into".
Today, tomorrow and every day after that, I challenge you to go and intentionally bump into inspiration! It will take you and those who rally around you to places you couldn't have imagined. And it's in those places that you'll find yourself being charitable and making a difference, maybe for a dog and his family or maybe for people on another continent. Whatever it is, I hope you're deeply inspired to be charitable. The world needs you!
in·spi·ra·tion | \ ˌin(t)-spə-ˈrā-shən
Definition of inspiration
1a: a divine influence or action on a person believed to qualify him or her to receive and communicate sacred revelation
b: the action or power of moving the intellect or emotions
c: the act of influencing or suggesting opinions
2: the act of drawing inspecifically : the drawing of air into the lungs
3a: the quality or state of being inspired
b: something that is inspireda scheme that was pure inspiration
4: an inspiring agent or influence