It’s true that the best antidote for worry is work. The best medicine for despair is service. The best cure for weariness is the challenge of helping someone who is even more tired. Consider this inspiring testimonial from my friend, Julie Anderson:
“My name is Julie, and this is my story about how I have been blessed by walking dogs. Before I get to that, let me backup and tell you a little about me. Here’s me in 30 seconds….
I’m 50 years old and have been married for 30 years. We have four children and a chubby grandson.
I have always done whatever I could do to be active and to stay in shape. I enjoy biking, hiking, walking, yoga and running, also known as “walking with style.” I’ve taught several different styles of aerobics and have always loved dancing. I coach the Bonneville High Honeybees.
One last thing you need to know is about my health. My 30 seconds is almost up, so here’s a long-story-short about that:
Turned 40, started feeling crappy, random symptoms that just didn’t make sense. Doctors! Lots of different doctors! Each had their own theory. Sometimes I wouldn’t feel crappy, sweet! Got really bad in April 2021. Good news: Finally have a diagnosis! Bad news: No magic pills!
Alright, so here’s me, it’s off-season for dance, my children are grown and are off making their mark on the world, and it’s supposed to be my season to pursue other dreams. However, I was so sick and wondering if this was what the rest of my life was going to be like.
One Sunday I was actually feeling good enough to go to church where we discussed compassion. The teacher explained that on Justserve.org we could find all kinds of opportunities in our community to serve. She challenged us to not go to bed that night until we looked it up. I didn’t feel like I had enough energy to offer anyone anything, but she assured us that there would be something that each of us could do, so I checked it out.
On the site, I saw that the Idaho Falls Animal Shelter needed dog walkers and cat cuddlers. I went in the very next day and told them that I wanted to volunteer. They were so nice and welcoming, and showed me what to do.
The second day I was there I met a sweet dog named Belle. When I first tried to walk her, she was terrified! She would cower whenever I would try to pet her. On our walk, she would stop frequently and curl up by my legs and act like she needed reassurance that everything was okay. I could tell that she probably had some previous bad experiences. Belle became my walking buddy! Each time we would go for a walk, she became more and more confident. Instead of hiding in the back of her pen, she would get excited when I would come with her leash.
My goal at first was to just get up and moving and see if I could feel better with some fresh air, endorphins and wet kisses. Some days it was all I could do to get there and go 1 mile, but I tried to go 3 miles each time. Each dog I walk, I think about how I’m helping him get some of his energy out so that if his soon-to-be family comes into the shelter, he can be on his very best behavior.
Those walks really became a turning point for me! I still have days when I feel good and days when I feel bad, but my little furry buddies at the shelter helped me get through a bunch of really bad days! Both of us are in situations that we didn’t really want to be in, but together, there’s no stopping us! We are blessed as we give what little we have to offer.”