Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Hope for the Future -- Just Ask a ten-year-old Boy

(Pictures: Swan taking "swan dive" in serach for underwater treats as curious goose looks on. Ten-year-old boy taking delight in feeding ducks and geese and they taking joy in him! Note, the three white ducks as first class beggars!)

Although matters continue to be grim and troubling in our city shelters from disheartening euth lists to wet pet food and cat litter shortages, we actually had a decent weekend with two of our dogs in long-time boarding finally finding (hopefully) forever homes.

I say, "hopefully" because one can never assume anything in animal adoptions. So far, things seem to be going well for both Coco and Cassy in their new homes. But, its a little too soon to write up either of these placements.

Although it might be presumptuous, we have already arranged for two new rescues from the Brooklyn AC&C. An older Chihuahua and a sweet, older Lab/Chow mix. I am optimistic about having a good foster lined up for the Chihuahua, but, "Sal," the larger mixed breed will have to go to boarding. --Hopefully, for not too long. Former owners said Sal was good with cats (and kids and other dogs.)

The cat information alone is enough to sell me on almost any dog.

If I feel reasonably relieved with two of our dogs adopted, I feel even greater hope for the future due to something witnessed this past weekend.

Last Sunday, I walked my dogs to Harlem Meer to check on the white Peiking ducks (who mysteriously showed up in the Central Park pond last summer after either being placed there or escaping from a nearby "Live Poultry Market") and the swans who apparently took up residence in the duck pond over the winter.

The white ducks are not indigenous to the area and I had almost no hope these animals would ever survive through the summer, much less the snow storms of the winter.

But, incredibly, the white ducks are not only surviving, but thriving! The swans too, seem to feel very comfortable in the area and have seemingly elected to stay.

Perhaps there is good reason for that.

It seems some of the area residents have taken interest in the welfare of the ducks, geese and swans and apparently feed the animals regularly.

When arriving at the pond on the North side of the park, I noted the birds already being generously fed by a young boy, while his parents sat on a bench and freely gave the youngster seemingly endless treats for the birds.

The ducks and Canadian geese swarmed up to the young boy -- particularly the white ducks who are now twice the size of the regular ducks. They have turned out to be very proficient beggars -- and they have the size to show for it!

The cool swans kept their distance, preferring to do comical "swan dives" for food just under the water's surface with their butts raised high in the air. (I now know where the expression, "swan dive" comes from!)

What was so heartwarming about these sights, was the sheer joy and earnestness the young boy seemed to take in feeding the birds. He was extremely focused and diligent with the task, apparently not wanting any of the birds to go hungry.

I don't think any of them did that day.

It is sometimes all too easy to get swept up with all the negative news of the times:

Budget cuts, unemployment, hospital and school closings, food shortages and other inadequacies in our animal sheltering system.

But, sometimes it is really nice to see something that reminds us that there is still a lot of good out there.

Like the smile and joy on a young boy's face as he shares his food blessings with a few hungry animals.

"Alas, " I thought to myself. "There IS hope for the future!"

And, thankfully today, news of the animal shelter's woes and food shortages has finally reached some of the major media outlets.

It is hoped this will result in needed monetary and food donations.

New Yorkers can indeed be very generous when made AWARE of the human and animal needs in our great city.

Just ask a ten-year-old boy. -- PCA


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