These are difficult times for everyone, probably the most difficult any of us have seen, and hopefully will ever see, in our lifetimes. It is reminiscent of the stories many of us heard from our grandparents, maybe great grandparents, about The Great Depression when there were no jobs and everyone struggled just to feed their families and took whatever work was available to make a dollar. Times were different then. People looked out for each other, shared what they had, and neighbors were friends.
In today's depressed economy, where people are losing their jobs right and left and many are losing their homes too, it is hard to see the way clear to be very concerned with anyone or anything besides oneself. Not only do we see our "things" slipping away, our life expectations are threatened. Many times, people don't even know their neighbors and family may live clear across the country. Yes, times are very different now. But sometimes, hard times can be a blessing in disguise. Hard times often facilitate a re-evaluation of who we are, what we believe, what kinds of things are really important, what as individuals we stand for, and what as individuals we will fall for.
For many of us in rescue, this process of re-evaluation began when we started to relate to and give animals the same respect and consideration as people. This is a hard concept for many to wrap their minds around to be sure. It is only one of the many things we are taught to think about in a certain way from birth. We have transitioned to a place where we recognize the inherent value and being of the other life forms that grace our planet and we have chosen a lifestyle that demonstrates that belief and respect. We choose to help them in every way we can. In the process, we have been forced to recognize all the misinformation that we have made part of our identity as human beings.
I'm sure that within a reasonable distance of anyone reading this, there is some kind of animal rescue that could use your help whether it is a financial donation, or a few hours of your time doing the multitude of things that need to be done every day 24/7/365. What might be of benefit to you, personally, in giving your time, is a glimpse into the real world of other life forms and the experience of equality with non human life forms IF that is what motivates the rescue with whom you associate. Keep in mind that many rescues doing otherwise admirable work still do not consider animals with equal consideration and respect. This is a difficult concept for most to wrap their mind around. We are taught that we are most important, the other life forms less important and as such should do and be what we demand. They are less valuable and more expendable. It is a bit akin to our indoctrination that America is superior, her people the only fortunate, and all the other countries and peoples of the world are less fortunate and should strive (or be forced) to adopt the American way. How audacious is that? Alarmingly, most adult Americans are perfectly content in that belief, perhaps never even questioning its validity.
Be aware also that there are many "rescues" and non-profits out there that simply use animals and the sector of the public that cares about them, to further themselves, their lifestyles, and their own personal agendas. We suggest that you personally investigate the work being done and the agenda of any organization you are thinking about supporting and not fall prey to appearances. It costs a lot of money to have your name plastered everywhere, to purchase network time for commercials, to print full color brochures, to travel around to conventions and to throw Galas catering to the rich and famous. And all that money is not helping individual animals in need of help right now to the degree it otherwise might. The primary purpose of those activities is to raise more money to finance the continuence of activities to raise more money.
If you are local to the Central Florida area between Orlando and Tampa, you can come out to this Farm Animal Rescue Mission and Sanctuary and see what we do for so many. Take a look at where our donations go. Make a day of it and bring a friend. If you're really close, perhaps you could come out and lend a hand. If you're currently unemployed, some time with the animals will bring you peace and a smile. If you're active on the various Internet social networking sites you can help by getting the word out about our work to your friends and their friends. You could make a donation or sponsor a particular animal or help us raise funds that will be used for the animals. You could set up a page at www.firstgiving.com/darlynnsdarlins to benefit the animals at Darlynn's Darlins. Please visit our stores for your gift giving needs and visit the donation page on this site to learn ways to help the animals doing the things you do anyway. It will cost you nothing, but will be a great help to us. For example, you can use Good Search as your Internet search engine, instead of Google or Yahoo, and choose Darlynn's Darlins as your beneficiary and we'll get a penny for every search you do.
The most important thing any of us can do is engage life and the various opportunities available to expand our awareness and experience which will in turn benefit us in our own lives. Maybe not in the traditional financial return way we've all been taught to expect. The payoff is different when we do something we don't have to do and don't get paid to do. And maybe, those are the kinds of things that are intrinsically more beneficial to achieving personal satisfaction from our life journey, associations, and relatively short time on this earth.