Are you a take action kind of person? I have always been the girl that will practically jump out of a moving vehicle to save an animal in need. I remember once I went with my then boyfriend, to Ball’s Falls Conservation area when the salmon were running. He thought it would be a cool thing to go down to the river to watch those poor bedraggled fish try to make their way up stream. Much to his awe, this was not quite the same sentiment that I shared. In my pink Cotton Ginny sweatpants, which I had rolled up past my knee, I waded into the very cold water to try and save them, it was unconscionable to me to watch them struggle. He had to rationalize with me that this was natural selection and the more obvious conundrum, I couldn’t save them all. He was right, but that has not stopped me over the years from helping the helpless. The other morning, as the boys and I were taking our usual route through the park, we encountered a squirrel in the middle of our path. It was just laying there, breathing shallowly and unable to move. I am not sure if the poor thing had been hit by a car or cyclist or poisoned, but what I did know is that it was suffering and very vulnerable. Picking it up with two very intrigued dogs, wasn’t an option. I made my way home and called the Humane Society and left a message as there was no answer and then headed out with my second client for a walk. The squirrel was still there and I felt incredibly sad for it. When I returned home I ended up speaking to a person at the Humane Society who assured me they had gotten my message and they had just retrieved the squirrel. I am a realist, I know that poor creature isn’t going to have a happy ending and be back outside collecting acorns in the fall. What I do know, is that I didn’t walk away and leave it in the middle of a path to suffer. I think when one encounters another living being in a bad way, walking away and not helping isn’t what we are meant to do, helping an animal in need is something we should all make time for. If I see a dog toddling down the street without a human in tow, I make sure I find where it lives and get it back to safety. When I find a goose buried in the snow, with a broken wing, I carry it 3km (with the aid of my spouse who realized an ice coated Canada Goose is rather heavy) back to my vehicle and find a bird sanctuary that will endeavour to help it. When I realized a neighbour had poisoned a Mother squirrel, who had been eating her bulbs from her garden, leaving her babies to starve, I thought Hell no. I gathered them up and with the aid of my daughter drove them to Brantford during a rather incredible storm to a facility that helps wildlife, one of the little guys didn’ t make it, but the other three were released back into the wild when they could fend for themselves. I don’t go looking for animals in need, but somehow they seem to stumble into my path. I think in some way, a higher power knows that I will do what I can to help, but I also realize that there were many people in the park that morning who were walking their pets in or using the path system to bike to work, that passed by the trembling little squirrel that was unable to move and did nothing. It is my hope in sharing this, that the next time you see an animal in need that you advocate on their behalf, it will give them peace and in the end, you will feel better about being proactive! For the ones you save, you feel happy in the knowledge they are now perched on the back of the couch by the window barking at you as you walk by and for the ones that you know didn’t make it, you have the solace to know that they died with dignity and empathy, every living thing deserves that.