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I am an animal-lover. This doesn’t necessarily mean that I stare at furry, fluffy creatures and respond with the typically long “Awwwww,” although I admit that I’ve been guilty of this on several occasions. My adoration for animals surpasses the superficial admiration of their cute appearance and the usual appreciation of their friendly nature. To me, the scrawny, abandoned animals who interact poorly with humans after the difficulties they encountered deserve just as much attention as the purebred pedigrees. From a young age, my family instilled in me the belief that domestic animals aren’t pets from an inferior species, but rather they are the most loving, loyal friends who devote unconditional affection towards their owners. This perspective on animals inspired me. From volunteering at animal shelters to fundraising for abandoned animals, I’ve dedicated a majority of my time in order to ensure that animals live under desirable conditions and every single minute has been worthwhile.
For as long as I can remember, my parents raised me with dogs, cats, birds, and fish in the house, and I felt the most comfort with these pets in my surroundings. As an only child, I grew up talking to these animals since I never had a sibling to play with at home. I created characters for each of the pets and I included them in my imaginary adventures, tying capes onto the dogs who were transformed into superheroes and distributing tiaras to the cats who became princesses. Even after I began attending pre-school, I’d eagerly await my return from school so that I could relay all the exciting details to my pets who would listen and pretend to be slightly interested in my random rambling. In fact, I probably communicated with my pets more than I did with my friends, since these animals offered a sense of confidentiality which no individual could provide. It never felt strange for me to confide in members of different species and I always felt satisfied after I conversed with them.
Imagine the shock I faced when I realized that certain cruel individuals abused their pets. Over the spring break of third grade when I visited Aunt Judy and my cousins in Philadelphia, I met her one-eyed cat, Gordon. An repulsive, scrawny creature, I initially avoided directing my attention towards the cat.Aunt Judy must have sensed my bizarre behavior, so she took me aside and explained that the Gordon’s owner had abandoned him. The cat was severely malnourished and injured when Aunt Judy discovered him. After she acquired medical treatment for the cat, my aunt decided to adopt him because as Aunt Judy said, “The unattractive, unwanted animals are the ones most in need of someone to love them wholeheartedly.” Heeding my aunt’s advice, I tentatively spent additional time to get acquainted with Gordon and as days elapsed, he grew less wary of me and I became more willing to love him. Towards the end of my stay at Aunt Judy’s house, I was watching a Charlie Brown Easter movie with my cousins when the cat hobbled over and draped himself around my shoulders like a scarf. This ultimate sign of Gordon’s trust endeared him to me. It was at this moment that I started to question how humans could be so cruel to a pet that was willing to give them so much affection.
As I grew older, I endeavored to alter the lives of these innocent animals in a significant way. During the summer before freshman year, I started to volunteer at the SPCA where I fed, played, and built trust with the animals who had been abandoned or brought in by owners who couldn’t afford to care for them anymore. These animals were so dejected and seeing them temporarily brighten up when I bring them food and focus my attention on them was the best feeling in the world. It broke my heart to see their pitiful stares and I felt extremely tempted to bring these animals home with me. Over the last few years, I’ve washed cars, collected pet care items, and collected monetary contributions to fundraise for the SPCA in order to provide a more habitable environment for these unfortunate pets who deserve infinite affection. The most traumatic part of becoming emotionally attached to stray animals is when these animals have to be put down due lack of boarding space. No creature deserves such a lonely end to their life.
Overall, animals have strengthened my sense of compassion for all living things, both human and non-human. The stray pets from the SPCA provide me with an everlasting source of joy, and even on my worst days, they remind me to be grateful that my life is nowhere nearly as horrendous and lonely as theirs. Some of these scrawny, unattractive animals have unconditional love to devote to their companions which has taught me to avoid judging others based on their physical appearance. Additionally, the amount of love that I’ve dedicated to pets have been reciprocated tenfold, accompanied by the unique friendship and loyalty that is only available from animals. Spending time with animals has transformed me into a better person and taught me valuable lessons that I will never forget. I am inherently an animal-lover, and nothing will ever change that.
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