Today is World Kindness Day. I feel like I have definitely written about kindness before….probably because it is something that is pretty important to me. Despite that fact, today feels like a great day to talk about kindness, as it is truly something that I think there can never be enough of in this world. It is quite possibly one topic that cannot be overdone.
In pondering what to write about today and thinking about the many times people have been kind to me, or times I have witnessed kindness, or even times that I have shown kindness, I am always drawn to the moment I met Harley. Now I KNOW I have definitely told this story before….but that’s ok, because I’ll never get tired of telling it. (You may get tired of reading it, but hey – here we are).
The moment I met Harley, I knew he was special. He sat quivering in fear at the feet of his ‘owner’ (and I use that term loosely), as she explained to me how he must have something wrong with him because he kept peeing in the house, even though they took him out a lot and even though her husband hit him every time – they just could not understand. I said placating things to get her to surrender the puppy to me, and turned to this tiny, terrified 10-week-old puppy to try to coax him to me. As I knelt down and reached out my hand, I said softly, ‘You’re ok buddy, you’re ok. Come on, it’s ok.’ After a minute or two of encouragement, he scurried across the room and tucked himself against my feet, still shaking. His owner turned to leave and I scooped him into my arms, showering him with kisses and hugs and soft words. His little tail started wagging, and that was it. From that moment on, he was my little shadow. I truly believe that I was the first person to show him kindness, and it bonded us immediately.
We all know the rest of the story – that moment led to his adoption as my very first dog, which confirmed my career path into vet med, his adoption moved me off campus – where I met my husband, it also solidified my passion for rescue – which led to Harley’s Haven, and eventually even fueling my desire to own my own practice. Obviously there are MANY more factors here….but dang – isn’t it crazy to think how ONE moment can be a trigger for a full cascade of life events?? How one meeting can be a catalyst for a whole lifetime of change?
I like to think about this particular day quite a bit. Partially because I miss that damn dog so much, even to this day. But also, because it is a humbling reminder of what a small act of kindness can do. You never know how taking a moment to be kind to someone or something, could change you or them forever. You never know what someone else is going through, and that small act of kindness could mean the world to them.
So, this is your reminder – on this day, and all days, try to do small acts of kindness. It is not always the giant important things that make a difference – sometimes it is holding a door for someone, or buying a coffee for the person behind you in line at Dunkin, or surprising your spouse with flowers, or sending your friend a handwritten thank you card, or telling a coworker thank you, or even that you like their haircut. Small acts of kindness – I have seen it make a difference over and over in the lives of puppies new to our rescue who are shown kindness for the first time, and over and over in the lives of those around me (and myself). Random daily acts of kindness – they benefit both the giver and the receiver – you should give it a try. Happy World Kindness Day everyone!