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Rescuing Animals This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

Every week I came and every week he was there, waiting for me. His name was Henry and he was a four-month-old tabby cat, yellow stripes hugging his body and bright gold eyes alight with curiosity. I fell in love with him immediately. How couldn’t I? Where I was rough around the edges, he was soft and sweet, ­innocent and filled with trust. The day he was adopted was one of the most profound moments of my life. I learned what charity meant, the very essence of it. I understood why the same people sheltered more animals than they could bear, sparing food for themselves for the sake of these animals. It all came together and I ­suddenly found myself crying, overwhelmingly proud of being a part of such an organization.

R.A.I.N. stands for Rescuing Animals In Need. It is run by people who understand that voiceless animals need us to speak for them. They rescue and care for cats and dogs of all sizes that otherwise would have nowhere to go. The animals are cared for, fostered and put up for adoption by dedicated members.

When I first became a part of R.A.I.N. I knew it was an organization like no other. I saw it in the way the foster parents’ eyes would shine when their foster animal was adopted. I saw it in the animals who jumped in your lap, greedy for love. I saw it in the way these people came together to serve a common cause.

Every Sunday I wake up with determination. Excitement radiates from me. I get to see the animals I love and meet more that I will come to love. But I know the goal is to find these animals “forever homes.” During my hours at the shelter, I focus on that goal. I help set up shop, dishing out water and food to the animals. Then we bring out toys and hold and play with the animals one by one. Usually, I find myself with the dogs, petting them and watching how they respond to a bit of love. I tell them ­secrets that weigh heavy on my mind. And in our time together they let me learn their tales of survival. Helping animals is a symbiotic relationship: they heal you as you heal them.

I think R.A.I.N. deserves all the ­admiration in the world. It consists of a web of people who give their lives to lives that have lost all hope. An ­animal’s life is a pure and untouched thing. Animals can’t lie or hurt; they can’t feel hatred or arrogance. They view what you offer them as the most precious gift in the world.

Any help R.A.I.N. receives is a blessing. I want to give all that I can. If I can save just one life – save one stray from the streets or a dog from a pound’s death row – it means the world to me. These animals have taught me how simple right and wrong should be, how grateful we should all be, and how far a little love can go.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.




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