This month the We All Love our Pets program turned thirteen. A few of our human participants and several of our animals have died over the years. This month one human, a cat and a parakeet from the program died. In the human’s obituary it said:

“Her most devoted friend, companion and longtime roommate was Ringo her tabby cat and often Garfield impersonator.” The animals we take food and cat litter to are beloved family members of the people we serve. So are our volunteers who get many thank yous, occasional home-baked goodies and the satisfaction of knowing people and pets are better off for the volunteering they do.”

I read Take this bread by Sarah Miles for one of my book clubs. I was so impressed I read two of her other books Jesus Freak and City of God. Sarah was a war correspondent and an atheist.  She moved to San Francisco. One day, on a whim, she walked into an Episcopal church. She became a Christian and organized food pantries inside the church and around the city. Her zeal for feeding the hungry and finding God in all things made me reflect on the parallels with my experiences in the thirteen years I’ve spent doing the We All Love our Pets program.

I’ve learned three things for sure from this program:

  • The poor have as much to give as the rich. It may be time and energy rather than money, but it’s giving. People tell me about taking care of their grandchildren and others’ animals while their neighbor is in the hospital. Pet food recipients who get most of their food from the food pantry bake and share goodies with us volunteers.
  • God is everywhere: in the love between animals and humans, in the shared joy of hearing about a pet’s antics and in the sorrow of pet loss and human illness and death. I get to witness and am sometimes asked to say prayers aloud for healing and hope.
  • God challenges me to grow through this program. Sometimes I don’t “feel” like doing the calling about needs or the delivering of the food and litter. God tells me to do it anyway and maybe in the doing of it, I’ll get over myself.

Why do I have a harder time loving the rich than the poor? I get angry when I encounter people who have a lot of money and are not generous. It’s hard to dig deep and realize they may be hanging on to what they have because they feel “poor” in some way.  Deliver me from self-righteously judging them and open my heart to see the good in them too.

So this Litter Lady keeps delivering pet food and cat litter and learning from the people she serves!