Open Door, Open Heart
By Abbey Theban, TVG Assistant Account Executive
I remember the day we brought my dog home from the animal shelter. We walked into the shelter—dogs were barking loudly, it was smelly and dimly lit, and as an eight-year-old, I remember feeling very overwhelmed. We walked up to a kennel where a small black and white border collie puppy had her nose pressed through the bars, tail wagging furiously, trying with all her might to break down the bars to get to us.
She was a pathetic little thing. Skinny, all ears, and she had mange, which took two chemical baths to cure. We opened the cage and were immediately attacked by endless slobbery kisses as if to say, “thank you.” It was at that moment, that Snowey (the quizzical name my six-year-old brother decided on at the time) became part of our family.
Because of Snowey, I have a special place in my heart for rescues. That is why I chose to serve at Open Door Animal Sanctuary on TVG’s Day of Service. Open Door is one of the largest no-kill shelters in the area, and since 1975, the shelter has helped more than 100,000 animals through their services. The employees and volunteers at Open Door provide food, shelter, medical care and love to the dogs and cats that show up there each day. TVG has donated pro bono time to ODAS, so many of our staff members are familiar with the cause.
I spent my day volunteering at the cat sanctuary. Although the room is lined with metal cages, it looks nothing like the dismal shelter where we rescued Snowey all those years ago. There were cats everywhere, laying in patches of sunlight, chasing each other or playing with toys.
When I walked in, I knew I was in kitty heaven. If you’re ever having a bad day—you need to spend some time with cats. These kitties want nothing more than to be cuddled.
There are currently 97 cats at Open Door—some are newcomers, others have been there their entire lives. Although many kittens get adopted quickly, there are sometimes days or weeks when no cats are adopted at all. The employees spend their days caring for these cats—some with medical needs or injuries who need a little extra love.
Shelters like Open Door place high importance on making sure that the cats and dogs are completely ready for their “fur-ever” home. They work on getting the animals healthy and socializing them so they are ready for adoption. Medical supplies, food, toys, and other resources are all needed to help these rescues receive a second chance on life.
It’s hard to describe the bond between a person and their pet. Those of you who have pets understand this. A shelter pet is just as lovable as a pet from a breeder—I know this from experience. Although Snowey passed on to doggy heaven a few years ago, she made a permanent mark on our hearts.
Please consider a shelter pet. Even if you’re not ready to adopt, consider donating your time or resources to Open Door Animal Sanctuary or another no-kill shelter in your area. An open heart and open door are all you need to give these animals hope.
To learn more about Open Door Animal Sanctuary, visit odas.org.