What’s one of the most amazing things you’ve ever done? For me one of the most amazing things I’ve ever done is giving to others.
I believe in charity. I believe in helping animals or people who are not able to help themselves.
My family has always been big on charity. When I was about seven my family adopted our third dog from an animal rescue group called Pet Rescue. They bring up dogs from North and South Carolina where they would otherwise be killed. We began fostering dogs for Pet Rescue. Now I’m a “junior volunteer” and I spend lots of time raising money, getting donations of food and supplies, fostering dogs, and helping at transports.
Every year, both adults and teenagers, go down to West Virginia over Memorial Day weekend. Last year was my first year going and it was amazing. I couldn’t believe the poverty where we were and the conditions people were living in. So many people talk about “third world” countries and their poverty but most people don’t realize how much poverty is right here in our country. When we rescue dogs from people who can’t afford to take care of them we are helping the people out because now they can have more money for things for themselves and the dogs are in a better place and going to homes that can care for them and afford them. I can’t wait to go again this year because it was unbelievable.
There is a woman in West Virginia, Alexis, who rescues so many dogs and cats there, despite the fact that she lives in a trailer and doesn’t have much money. She is the nicest, sweetest, most caring and most selfless person I’ve ever met. I was amazed at all the things she does for these animals. When we went she had about thirty dogs at her house and she was taking care of them all by herself. She barely has enough money to take care of herself but she spends all the money she has on caring for these animals. When we went, we brought her lots of donations of food, blankets, money, and other supplies. She said, “Well now I’ll be able to get another pair of jeans.” She has no clothes because instead of buying herself clothes she goes and buys food for all the animals she’s saved.
People ask me how I’m able to see dogs that are starving to death and sometimes when I think about it I don’t even know how. I think that I know that I’m saving these animals and they are going to be ok and it feels really good and special to help them. We went to a mountain while we were there, Mystery Mountain, although we call it Misery Mountain, because people drive up to the top of the mountain and put their dog or cat in a crate and throw them off the mountain. You see the green mountain and all down the side are crates, all sizes. There must have been at least about thirty crates lined up down the side of the mountain.
I was so inspired by Alexis that in October of 2008 I decided to raise money and bring up a transport of dogs from her. It was the day after her birthday when the dogs came up and she said it was the best birthday present ever.
I believe in charity because charity is something that can change someone’s life. Anyone has the ability to do that even with just the littlest way of helping. There will always be someone worse off than you and there will always be something no matter how big or small that you can do to help them. You have the power to make a difference in someone’s life. This I believe.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.