As Valentine’s Day approaches, I can’t help but share a wonderful story of love and connection. It’s one I’ve shared before but I want to share it again because it makes me smile.
Ashley, a 32-year-old attorney, lived alone and worked way too many hours to find love. She had been on and off of dating websites for so long that all of the prospects were beginning to look familiar. As she hung up the phone from yet another conversation with her mother justifying why she didn’t marry her high school sweetheart, she began to think she was going to be alone forever.
She reluctantly turned on the computer, ready to search the dating sites again, when an advertisement popped up on the screen. “Adopt a Dog Today!” it read. Something compelled her to click the screen. Faces of hundreds of dogs appeared as she scrolled down the list of available dogs at the animal shelter. She was just about to close the screen when a dog called Buddy began to stare at her through the computer. Compelled by his big brown eyes, she read his story and decided to go meet him right then and there. She got in her car and headed to the shelter.
Jack, 35, recently moved to town for his dream job. He didn’t know anyone yet. He had recently ended a long term relationship and was feeling kind of lonely. He decided to go for a walk to explore the new neighborhood. As he walked around, he began to notice signs in some of the local stores about animals needing new homes. “Maybe I will adopt a dog,” he thought. “I have some time now; I will head to the shelter just to look.”
Jack arrived at the shelter first. As he walked around, he was struck by how many animals there were that were homeless and abandoned. It was difficult for him to choose as they were all so eager and needy, until he saw Buddy. Buddy was a large, black and tan mix, who wiggled when Jack walked by. Something about the way he looked made Jack smile. He asked the volunteer if he could visit with him. He learned that he was brought in as a stray and had been at the shelter for a long time.
Ashley walked in as Jack and Buddy headed to the “get acquainted” room. She was so excited to see the dog that she had seen in the picture. She went right over and took the leash from Jack thinking he was a volunteer walking the dog. “Wow, she is a little pushy, but kind of cute,” Jack thought as he explained that he was there first and that HE was going to adopt Buddy. The volunteer ushered both of them into the “get acquainted” room to try to work out the disagreement that was happening in the lobby.
I’m not quite sure what happened during that magical hour they spent in the room with Buddy, but they came out deciding that Ashley would adopt him and that they would discuss over dinner how fate brought them together. It’s been five years since that special day in February. Ashley and Jack are now married, have a 3-year-old child, and of course, Buddy. They tell everyone they meet to go to the animal shelter to find their true love. No matter if the love is two legged, or four-legged, you can find someone special at the shelter.
As Valentine’s Day approaches, I encourage you to visit the animal shelter to explore the opportunity of making a connection. If you have a friend that is a little lonely and needs a pet, buy them a gift certificate for a pet adoption. Or, make a donation in their honor. And, finally, consider becoming a volunteer where there are a lot of like-minded individuals that help every day. Hey, you never know, maybe you will find your special person at the shelter too.
This Valentine’s Day treat your loved one to a special piece of artwork. Pasadena Humane Society & SPCA will be hosting “Art from the Heart”, an online auction of paintings by local artist Gail Martin. The auction will run from Wednesday, February 14 through midnight, Sunday, February 18. Visit pasadenahumane.org for more information.