3 years ago I started volunteering at Saving Grace. I'm there every Sunday from 9-1 (and often later). While a lot of the work is mundane stuff like cleaning out crates, scooping poop, filling up water bowls etc., these tasks are critical for creating a warm, safe, and clean environment for the dogs. For me, the rewarding part is when I get to spend time with the dogs outside on their "rotations". We play ball and tug of war and sprint around like loons. Or, I just sit down and snuggle and tell them I love them and that they will find their forever home soon. The ultimate is when they do. I've been known to bawl tears of joy when many a dog has been adopted. Saving Grace has been MY Saving Grace.
Review from #MyGivingStory
I was born with a number of handicaps that, though not serious, impacted how people saw me and, therefore, treated me. As I grew and shed implements that helped me overcome these physical disabilities, I suffered a childhood weight problem. As we all know, children can be mean and adults can be hurtful as well. These experiences led me to have limited self-confidence and loads of hateful feelings towards myself. My saving grace was always my animals. From litters of barn kittens to my very own palomino horse to a mangy, albeit sweet, mutt, I went to my animals for the comfort that a human could never offer.
I can recall being 16 and so excited to get my drivers' license! Well, I failed the drivers' test on my first attempt. I was devastated. I got home, told my dad, and ran outside (in a dramatic fashion as mustered up by a girl of my age) and cried to our two corgis. They only offered love and kisses.
Fast forward to college, shouldering stress of a heavy class load, an unhealthy relationship and anorexia, I was struggling emotionally, physically, and spiritually. I was clearly in a very dark place and needed help. I sought that help by volunteering at a local private shelter. My first day there, I met a lovely small lab named Sophie. She had been abused and would not walk upright, constantly appearing to dodge being hit. I was in love. I was not allowed to have pets in my apartment, so I "dated" her. With the permission of the shelter owner, I would spring her on weekends and take her to the beach or to my parents' home for the weekend. She literally saved my life. I immediately adopted her following graduation. Sweet Sophie has been gone now for almost 7 years and my heart aches as I write these words.
Today, I am a mother of two boys, ages 7 and 10. They have not known life without multiple pets. My husband and I both want them to have those bonds and also learn the responsibility of loving and caring for something, besides themselves. When we decided to start fostering for Saving Grace, we made the decision to go one step further, teaching a whole other level of care, as well as volunteerism to our young sons. They have stepped up to exercise, feed, and love every one of these sweet fosters. This summer we fostered failed, adopting sweet lab-mix Gus to be my oldest son's dog. I have watched the relationship between Austin and Gus grow over these past months and I take solace in knowing that I have given my boys relationships that will never be forgotten or replaced. Saving Grace has offered my family this purpose and expanded our love for animals in a way that, I pray, will become our families' legacy. Saving Grace has created a culture of love and volunteerism that is a gift to the dogs, as well as the humans!
Review from #MyGivingStory
This is the most amazing place! Women helping other women 18-24 find their identity in Christ, teaches basic skills and equips them to go out on their own with a knowledge of their self worth and value. When all others have let these girls down, Saving Grace will always be there for them. Uplifting and encouraging while showing them that submitting to authority is the biggest blessing! 5