by Cathy Fugler,
Communications Director of Niagara Falls Humane Society
I need lots of warm and fuzzy in my life, doesn’t everyone?
Working with the Niagara Falls Humane Society I’m fortunate to be exposed to all kinds of warm and fuzzy – well, warm and furry – all the time. I see examples of human kindness daily. I am surrounded by volunteers; amazing, giving people who truly understand the value in kindness. Their compassion enriches lives daily, human and animal. These people give their time for many reasons. Some of them want to make a difference in their community, or in the lives of the animals. Some want to learn new things, some want to have fun, some have a need to give back. Volunteers see a need and step right up to fill it. Some are all about learning new skills, stretching new muscles. Some are passionate about their beliefs and want to share that passion with others, or put that passion to work. Many volunteers talk about how much their work provides personal growth and how it helps them to be a better, more compassionate and understanding person.
Volunteers often experience a sense of emotional involvement, a deep sense of commitment and accomplishment knowing they are making a difference in their little corner of the world. Volunteers at NFHS become advocates for the animals and they spread compassion and understanding throughout our community. They are wonderful teachers and coaches, sharing their belief in kindness and respect for others, including the animals.
Kindness is all about doing something for others in a selfless way. It is a mighty virtue indeed. I am blessed to come from a loving and helping family. You know, the family where everyone shows up on moving day and doesn’t leave until you are all settled in. The family that all shows up at the hospital. The family where disagreements are few, and where everyone is treated with respect and gentleness. I wish everyone could grow up that way. My parents have always spread kindness in our community by volunteering and by simple generosity of spirit.
The animals who find their way to the NFHS often have a tragic or unknown past. What I notice, though, is that a little kindness offered with sensitivity brings a quick response. First there is a little bit of suspicion – that “really?” response, the disbelief at receiving gentle, respectful treatment. Then an opening up, a slow and steady build of comfort, and finally a bestowing of affection, the ultimate expression of trust.
I see that people react much the same. It seems many people are surprised to find themselves at the receiving end of kindness. Like the animals, I notice that people sometimes react with surprise or suspicion before leaning into the good feelings that compassion and respect can foster. It’s so often the little things. The awareness of the other creatures in our community. The smile you give your clients, the door you hold, the cookies you bake to share. My daughter has found that she can help her customers have a better day with a smile and a bit of conversation. My husband has discovered in his volunteer work that simple things like offering a patient something to drink or giving them a little company can bring a heartfelt thank you. My father is a person that hears about a need and quietly finds a solution every time. They’ve all learned how people respond to a little kindness in a busy world.
Animals are dependent upon the kindness of strangers. Aren’t people too? Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we all could stop being surprised by the kindness of our fellow creatures and learn to count on it instead? Pause for a moment to consider others.
Kindness feels good.
Spend some time with an animal. Let them teach you a thing or two.
Cathy Fugler is the Communications Director at the Niagara Falls Humane Society.
Her passion and dedication to NFHS is truly inspiring and Embrace Niagara is ecstatic to have her contributing to our website.
All photos you see above are of animals ready for adoption. Please contact the NFHS for further details.
Niagara Falls Humane Society
The Niagara Falls Humane Society helps find loving homes for unwanted and mistreated animals, as well as trying its best to reunite lost pets with their rightful owners.
The NFHS provides a safe haven for pets in limbo, before they are placed in a new home. The Society tries to alleviate the suffering of all animals and to eliminate euthanasia as a method of population control for pets. At the NFHS, no healthy adoptable animal will ever be euthanised.