Digital Marketing Program Assistant
Florida Gulf Coast University
I am a college student and it is by no means easy to find time in the day to take care of an animal. I work two jobs, I am taking four classes, and I have one internship. Between homework and sleep it is nearly impossible to manage anything else. The stress was overwhelming. But then, a friend recommended the best stress reliever there is. It is not a medication and it is not exercise. It is the unconditional love of an animal. I decided to foster a kitten.
At first I was hesitant. I would need to alter my schedule for two weeks and care for something other than myself. I researched the commitment to a foster animal and it was intimidating. Lots of care and attention were required, but I figured I was up for the challenge.
I went my local animal shelter and picked up a gray tabby kitten. When I brought this little guy home he was about the size of an apple. He was sweet with big blue eyes that melted your heart. I had no idea what to do with him. He was terrified of me and frankly, I was terrified of him. What if I hurt him? Or mess this up? I was responsible for his life for the next two weeks. Although I was told it was a bad idea to name him (because I would probably become attached), I decided to name him Oliver.
Every day with Oliver was a small challenge. He was needy and easily got lost in my apartment. I would find him tangled in my shoelaces or hiding in a basket of blankets in the living room. He was always hungry and his nails made my arms look like a battlefield. Time management with Oliver was also difficult. I had to rearrange my schedule so that I could work from home and spend most of my hours with him. It was nearly impossible to write a paper with this small fur ball darting across the room. However, at the end of the day when that small gray kitten would curl up in my hair and purr in my ear, I knew he was worth the trouble.
Overall, my experience took a lot out of me. After two weeks caring for him, I was heartbroken to give him back. I said my goodbyes and left empty handed. When I got in my car for my ride home, although I was empty handed, I was not empty hearted. I realized that I saved that kitten. I nursed him to health and gave him an opportunity to find a loving home. I knew he would be okay and I did something good. I also realized that during that entire experience, I had not been stressed one moment with Oliver.
Volunteering is hard. It is time consuming, there are so many tasks involved, and you never know what kind of experience you will get out of it. But volunteering is eye-opening. It is a chance to do something selfless for another. In this case, volunteering for an animal shelter will give you such a rewarding experience, you will wonder why you didn’t do it sooner.