From Kennels to Canter
July 23, 2015

I waited for a phone call that I knew, by the time I checked my phone a week later, would probably never be returned. The Goodland Human Shelter had yet to return my call or email and at this point, I knew it was time to get started on the next part of my internship: my community service hours.

When I called McCook Human Society, seventy miles away from home, it wasn’t open yet. It was two minutes before opening time that I got a call back. I set up a Sunday to go and started and showed up early, my boyfriend insistent that he would go as well, waiting with me as the man in charge that morning, Tim, repeatedly checked his watch. When the little plastic needle hit nine, we were through the door and starting. I was in charge of tending cats, Lane walking dogs. Cats have never been my thing as much as dogs but when I walked by, they reached out like children desperate for attention. Moving more slowly than I should have, perhaps, I made sure to hold each attention seeking, full grown, cat. They rubbed against my jaw as I tried not to inhale, not wanting to stir up my allergies. Two of them seemed desperate to come home with me and, if we didn’t have so many animals, I’d have taken them both.

The other volunteering that I have been doing is teaching people how to ride, volunteering my horses and time. Currently, my two pupils are members of WWOOF (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms) who traveled to my parents organic farm from Australia. It’s been interesting, getting home from work in the heat of the day, waiting for it to cool off, before supervising the saddle, correcting gently, and then watching them swing on my two horses, Harley and Gent. They’ve progressed a lot, to the point that I told them they can go ride my horses whenever, whether I’m home or not (this isn’t something I normally allow, especially with Harley, who can be somewhat touchy.)

I have loved both of these completely different volunteering positions. I hope to go back to the humane society sometime, though the distance proves to be an issue, as well as the risk of allergies. The riding lessons are something I am figuring out more and more, learning how to phrase things differently to make sense to both of my patient pupils.

Pictured Below: Left, Gent. Right, Harley

gentharley