“"EVERY BEGINNING HAS ITS OWN CHARM."” – GOETHE
The beginning of the year allows us to reflect and wish for better things in our lives (health, well-being, and balance). We start with many resolutions because we have hope and optimism that we will achieve them this time. That hope is the engine that propels us to start new things and pick up things that have been forgotten in our drawers because daily life enveloped us, and we returned to our usual behavior. However, when we look at our resolutions and look at the best examples of beginnings, we can look at our rescues. So, before making our list of resolutions, we should ask ourselves: Do we have good role models? Do we include all aspects of our lives? Are we considering our family, community, and society? How can we collaborate to create a better world and help the most vulnerable?
To start means stepping out of our comfort zones and trying to take on roles that are not easy for us. However, we don't start from scratch. Each one of us has stories and experiences to integrate that will contribute to these beginnings, like the dogs and cats we rescue from our streets. They are animals that have witnessed the unthinkable in us. They have seen our capacity for cruelty and negligence, but worst of all, they have been victims of the indifference of most of us. An indifference that is expressed in the lack of help, absence of adoptions, and failure to spay/neuter. Often, these pets come broken without the ability to articulate the painful events that marked them in body, mind, and soul. However, something extraordinary happens every time we have the opportunity to help them. Some beginnings come easily. There are dogs and cats that come to our sanctuary and recognize that we are good people who will care for them and love them unconditionally, causing them to drop their guard, and their healing process is immediate. For others, rebuilding their relationship with humans may take days, weeks, months, or even years. Beginnings are never the same for everyone, nor do they follow a specific order. They will have their good days, and sometimes, they may regress to their fearful and distrustful behaviors. As in all beginnings, there is no defined pattern, as each one will have its own ups and downs, but moving forward with patience and love will be important.
Unfortunately, thousands of animals in Puerto Rico still live without homes on the streets. For this reason, we do what we do, and we must admit that there are no better therapists or recovery stories than the strays on our streets. Every time we rescue one, we learn something new. We learn that it is never too late to start and that any moment is an opportunity, especially when delicious food is involved. Animals also teach us that trusting a stranger is never too late. Many of our pets in our sanctuary will greet you as if you were old friends. They are the best example of a heart full of love. They teach us that it is never too late to smile and give kisses (or licks) to the people we love the most. We must understand that any show of affection fills our tank and helps us have more positive and kind perspectives for ourselves and for the world. Finally, it is never too late to be present. What moment could be better than when we are together? What better way to recognize ourselves in others and share the moment?
Our rescued sat@s teach us many valuable lessons. And you know what? In this new year, one way to make a difference would be to create and sponsor more opportunities to help and foster collective efforts to improve well-being in Puerto Rico. It is our great wish that our island immerses itself in a collective sense of justice and responsibility. We hope that this year is full of blessings and opportunities for our beloved sat@s (and for all of us, too). We must love, help, and adopt them because each one deserves a chance. We hope that part of your resolutions is to contribute to this life mission to proclaim that EVERY SAT@ COUNTS in every corner of Puerto Rico. Extraordinary beginnings can only be achieved if we come together to fulfill the dreams of every homeless pet, giving them new beginnings and a chance.
Úrsula Aragunde Kohl, Clinical Psychologist, Professor and Researcher UAGM, Gurabo
Cristina Adrianza, School Psychologist, Humane Educator