Here I am once again reflecting on the past couple of years. Why? Well, Eddie and I are in our last days in OK before we embark on our new adventure in Germany. Life in the military is hard. There are long days and months of separation and the feeling of sadness when leaving great friends behind. I always get choked up about saying ‘see you later’ because I never know when the next time I’ll see all my good friends I spent the last couple of years getting to know. I spend as much time as I can soaking in the moments before me, Jack and Bernie board our flight to Frankfurt and meet up with my husband. Bittersweet.
The other tug at my heart strings is leaving a wonderful animal rescue, Rainbow Bridge Can Wait. I can remember the evening when I first spoke with Carol Skinner on the phone about a German Shepherd we discussed me evaluating. Carol’s involvement in animal rescue continues strong after decades doing different facets of animal rescue with the culmination of her starting a non-profit Rainbow Bridge Can Wait Animal Rescue and Adoption. She is a powerhouse. Carol will defend and protect any animal abused and neglected with everything she’s got. On the opposite side of the same coin, her compassionate heart softens her and keeps her humanness tangible. Everything she’s seen and experienced, her ability in remaining compassionate about animals is extraordinary. You see, when helpers, like Carol are inundated with tragedy and sadness over and over again, its a challenge not to have compassion fatigue set in and become overwhelmed by it. I know Carol isn’t superhuman and she does get affected, she has a team of mostly women who lift her and each other up. They volunteer their time and energy in ensuring the animal companions in the rescue care are taken care of and matched with a family. The positive relationships the volunteers have with one another is tremendous. They, together make it happen. They are committed in ensuring vet appointments get made, dogs are transported to and from said vet appointments or to new furever homes. The volunteers assist with adoption events are coordinated and all the dogs available for adoption get to the event and have an opportunity for a new family. The foster families caring for some of the dogs in the program are also a vital component. They are responsible for helping the new dogs in the program have a warm place to stay and have a sense of a home life which many didn’t have before coming into the program.
I’m grateful Carol kept an open mind with me, a Lawton newbie and a little green around the edges with starting my own dog training business. I wanted to offer training services for animals in a shelter setting. I said before, RBCW has fosters for some of the dogs. There are still plenty of dogs at the rescue in Carnegie. They too need attention and care. For me, I spent my time at the rescue working with Zack, the German Shepherd Carol and I initially discussed. He started off reactive and on the defense. As we got to know each other, we became friends. He’s come such a long way, Zack accepted April another RBCW volunteer. Zack still remains conflicted with new people, but its so reassuring he’s able to get to know unfamiliar people and accept them. I’m proud of the work we put into building this relationship and this experience has definitely shaped and solidified my training style. I also had the opportunity in assisting new adopters in having a smooth transition with their new furry companion. This has been rewarding for me seeing the change of perspective.
Rainbow Bridge Can Wait Animal Rescue and Adoption are always needing more volunteers. The time spent with this rescue will change your heart and keep you grounded in the goodness in the world when things outside are hectic and chaotic. The love from a dog is enduring and knows no limits. Spending however much time you can with RBCW or any rescue near you will leave you changed. Consider donating your time in supporting, volunteering or advocating for the defenseless animals in your community, you’ll be so grateful you did. My heart is full and my gratitude for Carol and the rest of the RBCW team and supporters overflows. Much Love.