30 August 2004


I thought about whether or not to write her, and I decided for it. I wanted to remember what I had felt and also just to share it with someone.

This is what I wrote: Dear Kate, I visited the shelter this weekend for orientation. It was heartbreaking to think about all of the cats and dogs living in cages and not knowing what their life will become. I thought it would be too much for me to take and I came knowing that this might be the first and only time, but that I had to at least try. But the funny thing is I left feeling sad and angry of course, but also feeling empowered. Feeling needed. And feeling like I could make a difference, maybe not a huge one to the state’s animal welfare, but a huge one for a few dogs and cats who might otherwise not make it out of their cages that week. So, thanks. Shanna

And she sent me back this story: Once upon a time there was a wise man who used to go to the ocean to do his writing. He had a habit of walking on the beach before he began his work. One day he was walking along the shore. As he looked down the beach, he saw a human figure moving like a dancer. He smiled to himself to think of someone who would dance to the day. So he began to walk faster to catch up. As he got closer, he saw that it was a young man and the young man wasn’t dancing, but instead he was reaching down to the shore, picking up something and very gently throwing it into the ocean. As he got closer he called out, “Good morning! What are you doing?” The young man paused, looked up and replied, “Throwing starfish in the ocean.” “I guess I should have asked, why are you throwing starfish in the ocean?” “The sun is up, and the tide is going out. And if I don't throw them in they'll die.” “But, young man, don't you realize that there are miles and miles of beach, and starfish all along it. You can't possibly make a difference!” The young man listened politely. Then bent down, picked another starfish and threw it into the sea, past the breaking waves and said, “It made a difference for that one.”

And that is exactly the feeling that I wanted to remember.

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