“How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant of the weak and strong. Because someday in your life you will have been all of these. “ -George Washington Carver

So far this year, I have already volunteered 48.5 hours! I have really enjoyed volunteering, and I cannot wait to continue to become more & more involved, so as to discover what things I am most passionate about.

Lately, I have been reflecting a lot on my life, my family & my friends, and realizing that very few people I know volunteer. It frustrates me to no end! I cannot comprehend such selfishness. Like how can you just sit there & enjoy your pretty, near perfect little life (which most of my friends/family have), and have no—or little—desire to reach out & help lift others to your same level of happiness? Like no. Not okay. I can’t even talk about it.

Anyways, to fill you all in on what I’ve been up to….

First & most obviously….I have been busy doting on Sunny & Kipper! BIG news here….Kipper was adopted this week!! He has move into a great family with a dad and two little girls who will spoil him & treat him just like the little baby he likes to be. I know they will carry him & swaddle him & hug him & kiss him & take him on adventures & spoil him with new toys & sing to him & probably dress him up in little outfits, all to Kipper’s heart’s content.

My best friend Princess Sunny though is still available for adoption. I will be hanging out with her again on Sunday! I am VERY happy to be hanging out with her another time, but very sad that she still doesn’t have her perfect “fur-ever” home yet. I don’t know how anyone could not want her! I think enough people have just not met her yet. She needs more publicity. (Don’t worry, I’m planning to get her some on Sunday.) Being with Sunny has made me regret not buying the Duke house last spring. If I had that house, Sunny could live with me. Since I live in an apartment though, I can’t figure out how to keep her. Ugh!

Continuing on the doggie front, a few weeks ago I went to do a “Dog Walk, Kitty Cuddle” with my coworkers at the Maricopa County Animal Shelter East. (I obviously ignored the cats & only walked dogs.) I had never been to an animal shelter before and it made me really sad. I was so surprised by the conditions. I was, I guess, ignorantly imagining that animal shelters were havens for dogs, with a calming atmosphere & lots of grass. Instead, it is like a warehouse. It smells terribly like bleach, which I’m sure the dogs don’t like. And the actual dog “cages” are so little! I felt very bad for them, particularly those that seemed distrusting of humans. It was especially bad seeing two huskies right away when I entered, who both were black & white with blue eyes, just like our husky, Dandy, growing up. I was able to walk three dogs, but we had to stay within the confines of the shelter & at least ten feet away from other dogs, so basically, a “walk,” meant wandering around in small circles in an enclosed cement parking lot. I don’t understand why we had to stay within the walls, when RIGHT next to the shelter is a huge park & golf course. The dogs would have liked that much better. I am not sure I will do this activity again.

Beyond animals, I’ve spent a lot of time this past month or so delivering CHOICES. First I went to Hamilton High School to speak to 9th graders and then the past two days, I have been at Chandler High School speaking to 10th & 11th graders. I really love this program! I had been feeling really unmotivated with work lately, but delivering CHOICES reminded me that no matter how boring my job may be, I could still be a lot worse off. I should be thankful always of where I am today, instead of sometimes annoyed!

Upcoming in the next few months, I have a few things I’m excited about. First, I am going to be reading out loud again this year to elementary students for National Reading Day. Then I am going to be helping out for a full day at United Way’s Project Connect: StandDown. StandDown brings over 1800 homeless or at-risk veterans to one location for a weekend, to connect them with assistive groups & services. Sometimes it is hard to know where to go for help. StandDown makes it easy. I will be working as a guest guide, taking veterans one-by-one through StandDown & helping them get signed up for the services they need.

Then I am very excited in April to be volunteering with preschool & elementary students from the area’s Foundation for the Blind! We are going to be taking the students to a nearby farm to interact with the animals & explore the gardens! I. am. STOKED. Plus, I have my coworkers doing it with me too, so it will be extra fun. What a great way to start off my birthday month!

Finally, just before my birthday on April 22nd, I’ll be venturing back into the Sonoran Reserve to continue to improve my professional cactus-planting skills. My dad is going to come to this too! RIGHT DAD? DON’T FORGET!! After working on re-vegetating the trails in the morning, we will be hiking Tom’s Thumb!

I’m sure more things will pop up on my radar, but that’s all I have lined up for now  Love! Paige

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