We were so grateful that the Cumberland Valley Animal Shelter was chosen to be helped by the Penn National Ladies Luncheon recently. We got to attend their afternoon meal and spend some time with the group and let me tell you, they were amazing.
You could tell just by the stories they had that they were all true animal-lovers and understood the value of the animal-human bond.
The meal was amazing and the camaraderie was exactly what I needed.
The holidays can get a little hectic for me sometimes. I get caught up in the hustle and bustle and sometimes I forget to take a moment to really appreciate how many wonderful people really are in the world.
The luncheon a few days ago helped me remember.
The event began with a prayer from Saint Francis of Assisi, the patron Saint of animals, which couldn’t have been more appropriate. It moved me so much, I’m going to quote it here in full:
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace: where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy. O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console, to be understood as to understand, to be loved as to love. For it is in giving that we receive, it is in pardoning that we are pardoned, and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen.
I had tears in my eyes at the table when that was read.
We had a musician playing songs on the piano and the ladies just loved to tell us about their animal stories.
One lady told me about her cats who she takes with her on vacations.
Another talked of her spaniels who are just the love of her life.
It was a fun, festive and poignant time and helped me remember what shelter work is really all about.
It’s the groups like the Penn National ladies who truly help us. This came completely out of the blue for us. We didn’t ask them to do this – they chose us.
They wanted to help our animals and they certainly did – they raised almost $900 for us and gave us a literal truck-load of supplies for our four-legged babies.
I told the group that so often I feel as though a thank you is just two words and it can’t adequately express the true gratitude I feel in my heart. This was certainly one of those times.
To all the groups who help us like this, who surprise us with donations and drop off of supplies, who just want to reach out and make sure that they can help us take care of these animals, I don’t have the words to adequately express what it means to us.
I tell people – including the Penn National ladies – that we could not help the homeless pets that we do without the support we receive from this community. I am so incredibly grateful that CVAS exists where we do in south-central Pennsylvania because it is here where I have met some of the most generous, thoughtful, and kind people I have ever encountered.
The best way I have to truly say thank you is to ask you to come to the shelter and look at the photos lining the walls into our kennels. They are the animals who have found homes because of what we do. In their eyes I think you will be able to grasp the true enormity of what it means to help CVAS.
We fight for them and you help us in that battle – and we couldn’t do it without you.
Let the gratitude in their eyes express everything we feel in our hearts: thank you all so much.
Jennifer Vanderau is the Publications and Promotions Consultant for the Cumberland Valley Animal Shelter and can be reached at [email protected]. The shelter accepts both monetary and pet supply donations. For more information, call the shelter at 263-5791 or visit the website www.cvas-pets.org. CVAS also operates a thrift store in Chambersburg. Help support the animals at the shelter by donating to or shopping at the store.