It's Saturday, August 20th at 2:07 PM. I have no idea when I will actually publish this post, but I want to write it while my feelings are raw and my thoughts are fresh.
Ever since I can remember, my heart for animals has been so large, I can barely contain it. I'm the girl who can spot a dog or cat a mile away in any direction. I'm the girl who cries when the animal in the movie doesn't make it. I'm the girl who rescued little rodents from my cat's jaws as a kid, and I'm the girl who screamed out the car window "STOP KICKING YOUR DOG" to some jerk, much to my Mom's horror.
It's just who I am. I don't try to hide it and I never apologize for it.
I never will.
But when you don't have much to speak of monetarily or in the way of a spectacular talent in a certain area (unless you call sobbing within seconds over a "Rescue" commercial a talent...)-how do you express yourself? How do you spread the love you have for a certain cause?
I've had ideas here and there, but they just weren't realistic.
Open an Etsy shop among the other thousands? No. I have no clue what I would offer that would be worth anyone's money. Sponsor another dog? No. Last time, they rarely gave me any info on my pup.
I always feel like I come up short and in turn, feel guilty. If you have this undeniable passion for something and have no idea why or what you're meant to do with it- you get it. You understand how frustrating it can be and how you can feel like you're wasting time.
As the majority of you have seen, I joined KEEP Collective in July. I was terrified. I'm not a natural "sales" person. I was worried no-one would purchase from me, that maybe, I'd even lose friends. But there were 3 things that pushed me forward. 1) My Husband's encouragement. 2) A statement I read about trying new things until you find your niche by a process of elimination and 3) fully believing in what Keep Collective's message is (live happy!) and their products are gorgeous, to boot.
It turns out, I've done fairly well with Keep, so far. It's been a challenge some days, especially when you don't see any sales coming in, it can make you question and doubt everything. But, aside from the business itself- I've truly felt fortunate at how things have gone so much better than I expected.
With this new little job of mine- what else can I do with it?
Two years ago I first learned about a festival in Yulin,China- where dogs and cats are tortured to death, sometimes for two days. The locals believe that by torturing the animals- the meat will taste better and that they will ward off the Summer heat.
When I first learned of it, I cried every single day that the festival was going on. I sobbed into my husband's arms. I felt such agony over what these animals, some even being stolen pets, endure. How confused and afraid they are.
I reached out to popular accounts on Instagram- begging that those with a "louder social voice" would spread the word. Informing and educating people. (None did.)
I shared snipbits on Facebook, trying to spread the word while shielding my friend's from the horrific photos that I had seen, all the while wondering if anyone saw it or cared, given the 2-3 "likes" I would receive.
This year, as Summer approached, I dreaded it. I knew the festival would be taking place. Another year of 10-15,000 dogs being killed inhumanely. Somehow, via Facebook of course, I came across this man named Marc Ching, who runs The Animal Hope & Wellness Foundation. They specialize in rescuing severely abused animals, rehabilitating them and finding them wonderful homes. He goes to China, in the midst of this festival, and sees unimaginable evil. Cambodia, rescuing pups from "torture rooms", Korea, Mongolia, The Philippines. He poses as someone in the market to purchase meat- and then records what he sees- he's been beaten the few times he's broke his cover because he couldn't take it anymore.
People often question why he films the torture? How could he?
His response is perfect. If you don't see it, you don't believe it.
Isn't that true?
I've often been asked by family and friends who have experienced me in my element- when I'm broken down and crying over an animal- "Why do you do this to yourself??"
Do you think I enjoy seeing animals hurting? No. I don't.
But, if I don't remind myself of what happens...I forget about it. I forget about what I've seen and what's going on...and I can't allow that to happen. Not if I'm true to having a part in rescuing these pups (and kitties too!). I'M not the one suffering. THEY are.
This man, this organization, they have the ability to do what I cannot. To say what I cannot, to see what I cannot.
But still, we are kindred spirits.
Right now, I'm doing well with KEEP Collective. So, I've decided to pair my job with my passion and share a message of hope. And make a difference in the lives of these animals who need you, and who need me.
I'm going to be donating an engraved KEEP bracelet to Marc Ching and the proceeds of certain purchases to their organization. I believe in what they do and support this Foundation 100%.
Something he had said on one of his posts this past July, resonated with me. He said, "I'm a believer that light overcomes darkness. And that is something that I believe in, too. I've engraved that message on a bar and wear it proudly.
I can't do much, but I will do what I can.
My hope is that of the 1,140 friends I have on facebook. A handful of you will stand behind me and support an amazing cause. Sharing this post with your friends and family- and spreading the word.
That would be such...and impactful thing. For me. For The Animal Hope & Wellness Foundation. And for all of those animals who are next in line to suffer.
We can make a difference.