It always seems like a good idea to volunteer to help, but after the initial excitement and feeling of goodness overtaking our brain, reality sets in! We go home, sleep on it and then think it over again asking ourselves; ‘Do I really have the time? Do I really have the inclination? Do I really want to do this?’ And, a lot of the time the answer is ‘No!’ So we get over our moment of generosity of thought and continue with our normal lives. I have been guilty of this a few times in the past, especially at charity events where I would soak up the fantastic atmosphere of goodwill and envy those really nice, kind people who were actually doing something to help others less fortunate and before I knew it, I would be offering my services to a worthy cause only to find later I would question my wisdom! I would get home to my cosy little world tucked away on the mountain and begin thinking ‘Oh, I can’t do this’ and bring up the same old excuses. ‘I haven’t got time. I haven’t got the inclination. Charity begins at home. Look to your own backyard’, etc., etc., and so I would talk myself out of it
Last year, I attended a coffee morning for P.E.P.A. the Association for the Protection and Education for Animals so that I could sell a few things I had and earn a little money for myself. It was great! I made a few euros, donated a few to the charity and felt very good about myself. So much so that I agreed to work in the P.E.P.A. Charity Shop in La Font for one day a week! Of course, later that day back home and in the comfort of my armchair I changed my mind. Nothing new there then! But, unfortunately, this time I didn’t have a contact number for the person with whom I had made the arrangements so couldn’t easily back out. But, as it was school holidays in the UK which meant that Jeremy Kyle had been replaced with Children’s TV, I decided I may as well go anyway. I got lost on the way, got stuck in a god almighty traffic jam and arrived an hour late. With so many negatives I just knew this was a mistake! However, when I did eventually arrive, I found I was made very welcome by the team and before I knew it my 3hrs of voluntary service were over and I was driving home with a smile on my face and a bag full of lovely clothes (M&S, NEXT, BENETTON to name a few) I was very pleased with my bargains and even more pleased with the new friends I had made. It occurred to me that maybe I had been shutting myself away for too long and the more I stayed in the comfort of my own home the easier it was to find an excuse not to leave it. Just going to the shop and talking to the other volunteer staff and customers gave me such a buzz and seemed to give me back some of the confidence I had obviously lost over the years. It seems voluntary work was going to benefit me just as much as it was going to benefit the animals.
I ended up within a very short space of time as well as working in the shop taking on the role of Events Organiser and Publicity. I was a little concerned I wasn’t up to it, and I wasn’t sure I wanted the commitment or the responsibility to be honest as the most stressful things in my life at this stage was what to cook for dinner and where to get my roots done ! I doubted my own capabilities and the last thing I wanted to do at my age was set myself up for yet another fall. Many of us get set in our ways and maybe lose confidence in ourselves over the years and I was definitely beginning to feel I was past my sell by date. But, I decided to go ahead anyway and exactly 4 weeks and 3 days after attending the coffee morning just to earn myself a little pocket money I was now working in the shop, arranging events and promoting P.E.P.A. at every opportunity. Not bad going for someone who didn’t have enough time or, I am ashamed to say, inclination at that particular stage of my life to raise a glass to the future let alone raise money for abandoned animals!
Joining the ranks of P.E.P.A. has given me another lease of life. It has given me back my confidence with the knowledge that I can do something worthwhile. It has made me break out of the bubble in which I existed. The moral of this story is that it is not just the animals who benefit from a bit of volunteering!!!! Not everyone will want to commit to as much time as I now have, but what may seem a little time to you will seem so much more to the animals. Perhaps like me you have considered doing something extra in your life, but, don’t know what, where or indeed why you want to do it. If this thought however fleeting has crossed your mind then maybe you might consider P.E.P.A. Take a look at the website www.pepaspain.com you will see straight away that we are not particularly flashy, we don’t have any gimmicks, we don’t have any big sponsors, but, we do have dedicated volunteers and supporters who are giving a little bit of their life to the animals. We are totally self-supporting and when Janet & Joe Goodwin founded this registered charity over 7yrs ago they did so completely on their own to help any abandoned and distressed animals. P.E.P.A. does not have a pound, but we do have a team of volunteer foster carers who will take these abandoned animals into their homes until they can be found permanent homes of their own. But, we urgently need more Foster Carers. Unfortunately the number of abandoned animals is on the increase and it is vital that we recruit more loving temporary carers for these unfortunate animals. Why not compare it to being a grandparent or loving aunt/uncle where it’s great to enjoy the time with the little ones, but, at the end of the day we know they will be going home eventually!!
We can all find excuses for not doing something but at P.E.P.A. we will help you every step of the way to overcome these obstacles. Shortage of cash needn’t be an excuse as, when fostering, P.E.P.A. will pay all medical costs if treatment is needed. P.E.P.A. will also provide collars, leads, bedding etc. and cover the costs for food if this is a problem. Shortage of space or no garden needn’t even be a problem. A volunteer from P.E.P.A will visit you prior to fostering to ensure that you are matched with a dog who will fit in with your lifestyle. Maybe you are worried about holidays, forget it! P.E.P.A. will re house the dog with another foster carer until you come back. Now what other excuses can I find? Maybe you don’t like dogs and you are appalled by the feral cats in your area. Great! Don’t have a dog whatever you do, but you may be interested in the Feral Cat programme we run.
Come on people, all you need is compassion and the willingness to lend one of our needy animals a small part of your heart for a while. These animals will give you unconditional love when all you need to give them is a feeling of safety, love and belonging. It’s not a lifetime commitment and it would hopefully only be for a few weeks until a home is found. We can all find excuses for not doing something but for these animals there are no excuses.
There is no excuse for tying a dog to a tree with no food, no water and leaving it until it dies as it is of no further use to you. There is no excuse for going away on ‘holiday’ and never coming back. There is no excuse for beating and torturing an animal for a laugh.
If you can do anything to help prevent these poor animals from suffering any further, then please give P.E.P.A. a call on 650304746 and speak to one of our Help Desk volunteers who will be able to give you all the advice you need on fostering.
Thank you for helping us to help them. Helpdesk 650304746 (10am-5pm)