Friday Farm Favorites: The Perfect Gift
Good friend and animal advocate extraordinaire, Ralph Sites posing with dear, little Bizou on the day of his adoption.
This photo represents more than just a man and a dog at Christmastime. It represents the true meaning of kindness, goodness, service—and, most importantly…PURPOSE. Our friend, Ralph has a family, a job, and a life of responsibilities like many of us; however, he still finds time to do what he loves: advocate for animals….and, he’s good at it! Whether it’s volunteering with local animal shelters to nurture dogs and cats in transition to their new homes, assisting birds with broken wings at the Wildlife Center of Virginia, or just helping a friend find the perfect companion, Ralph is always motivated to use his special gifts of understanding, patience, and kindness to help an animal have a better life.
I first saw our dog, Dash on a local animal shelter’s Facebook (FB) post in 2014. Ralph volunteered at this particular shelter and shared this unfortunate dog’s status. Dash’s situation was urgent. He had been at the shelter for nearly a month. The shelter was at capacity, and more animals were arriving every day. Dash’s time was running out. When I realized this young, intelligent, and beautiful Border Collie mix was about to be euthanized, I immediately sent Ralph a FB message. I asked if Dash was good with other dogs and if he tolerated cats. It was around 6 or 7 o’clock in the evening, and of course, Ralph was at the shelter. He asked me to hold on a minute while he took a cat into a room to test Dash. The verdict: “He’s fine with dogs and afraid of cats.” Farmguy and I definitely wanted Dash, but we couldn’t get to the shelter for a few days due to our schedules. But, Dash didn’t have a few days. The shelter needed the room…ASAP. At this point, Ralph generously offered to take Dash to his own home until we could adopt him. Thankfully, we were able to reschedule some of our commitments in order to take Dash home earlier. We were so grateful to Ralph for helping this wonderful dog…and for helping us.
Farmguy and I also discovered our other dog, Bizou on one of Ralph’s animal shelter FB posts. We were three hours away from the shelter the day I saw a picture of Bizou’s sweet face. He was seven months old and had just been surrendered. Once again, I sent Ralph a FB message. The animal shelter wasn’t really open to the public that Sunday, but Ralph, there walking dogs, offered to wait until we could arrive a bit later. It was a chilly Sunday afternoon in December, and all the dogs were taking their turns going outside for playtime. We instantly loved Bizou (even though he was REALLY stinky) and knew we wanted to adopt him, but I asked Ralph if we could return the next day. I preferred for this puppy to visit our veterinarian first, before bringing him home for introductions with Dash and Clemmie Cat. Ralph kindly offered to meet me at the veterinarian clinic with Bizou first thing Monday morning. And, thanks to Ralph’s thoughtfulness, I found a freshly bathed Bizou all cuddled up awaiting me.
In helping our Dash and Bizou find forever homes and better lives, Ralph also gave us the gift of a happier, more enriched life that is full of joy because of our relationships with these two intelligent and loving dogs. It’s difficult to tell you everything Dash and Bizou have meant to our lives. We love them with all of our hearts, and I know they love each other, too. What I can say is this: A huge and heartfelt thank you, Ralph. Your resolve to advocate for innocent animals as well as your gestures of kindness have had such far reaching effects, and we are forever grateful. xoxo
So, here’s the thing: Right now, many of us may be contemplating the year ahead. We’re thinking of new ways to be healthier, more efficient, and even better organized in 2018. But, maybe, what we should be thinking about is….OUR PURPOSE. You know, the thing each of us does better than anyone else. The thing that makes us happy and fulfilled. Consider your special gifts and interests, and then, ask yourself a very important question.
How can I use these gifts to lift up and help others?
When you put your skills and talents to use for the greater good—like our friend, Ralph, you unlock your true reason for being. And, what better way to begin the New Year?
“It is one of the beautiful compensations of life that no man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson