LookThere is a growing number of animals such as c...
Christian Theology: Service Learning Reflection
There is a growing number of animals such as cats, dogs and others abandoned in the streets. There are also concerns that a large number of individuals mistreat the animals taking advantage of them without giving them the proper care they deserve. It is an issue that Denham Springs animal shelter has taken upon them to rescue the animals from cruelty and where individuals can take the animals that they get from the streets without owners. It is because, every animal is a God-given resource that needs to be guarded at all times and hence the shelter has taken upon itself to offer the care. However, it is understaffed and operates on a small budget due to underfunding presenting even more problems as the number of the animals keep growing. It is clear that more people are not getting the animals for pets from the orphanage as well (Fraser, 2008).
The issue of animal mistreatment and the growing number of the animals at the shelter is a direct result of the failure of Christians and all individuals to take it upon them to protect animals. Most times, we have become an idealist in that we believe in taking care of God’s creation, but we are too self-absorbed that we take no action in that regard (Pope John XXIII, 1961). It is not enough to believe in not mistreating animals if we watch and let our neighbors abuse their cat or dog. It is working with social principles in an abstract way that is not reasonable and practical (Peter et. al, 1992). The underfunding and understaffing is also an indication of the laid back approach to most of the individuals instead of taking an active role in ensuring that the animals at the orphanages are also taken care of through provision of the resources or even donation of volunteer hours. The church, in general, has a conscious responsibility to take care of the entire world and all the creation with love and protect them at all cost (Peter et. al, 1992). However, I realized that at Denham Springs Animal Shelter, there was a need to do more. Some cats and dogs need to be taken care of, but the place faced an acute shortage in labor. The shelter is understaffed and has limited funding that becomes a limitation to taking care of the God given creatures. This moved me to look closely at what is needed and how I can be of help to the shelter. It is our Christian responsibility to take care of the animals since they are the father’s creations as. The book of Psalm 50:10-11 states that every beast in the forest and the cattle in all the hills are His and that he knows every bird and everything that moves around since they are all His (Peter et. al, 1992).
The failure of the Christians to make sacrifices is a major problem that causes the problem at the animal shelter. It is because, we are absorbed into having to do things that are of benefit to us and hence forgetting the Christian responsibility bestowed upon us as per the scripture. To stand by, watch, and read the principles that ought to guide us regarding taking care of the animals as God’s creation but it is evident that in the majority of cases, individuals are unwilling to take the first step (Pope John XXIII, 1961). Moreover, the issue on underfunding and understaffing of the shelter is a highlight of the economic wants that push the decisions and judgments of Christians. It becomes difficult for individual to contribute to issues that do not help them directly forgetting that all the creation by God are equal and hence deserve equal attention. It is, therefore, not within the teachings of Christianity to think and argue that we love Gods creation, and yet we are not facilitating for taking care of the animals in such animal shelters. It would be holding social principles that we do not practice if we never spent the time to make sacrifices either economically by or through the donation of time to take care of such animals. Real Christianity calls not just for holding ideas about the issue but also for doing something about the principles held. Therefore, it would be right to have us volunteer at the shelter more and donate what we have to take care of the animals since God’s grace is upon those that make sacrifices (Pope John XXIII, 1961).
Most of the animals found in the animal shelters are those left on the streets unattended and others lost. There are others treated in a cruel manner by individuals and hence the shelter takes them in so they can offer the necessary care. As Christians, in some instances, we are fast at judging those that are caught mistreating or even throwing the dogs or cats in the streets but we forget that Christianity calls for more. It is not enough to have Christians deplore the adverse effects of a situation as is the case among many as they judge those that mistreat animals, what is required is that the roots of such evil be destroyed. Christians can contribute and play a role in teaching and engaging more people on the importance of taking care of such animals. We can also support the bodies mandated with taking care of such animals by empowering them with legislations and other ways to empower them to take care of the animals. It is not enough to lament about how the shelters are understaffed and pointing fingers at whose responsibility it is to ensure that they have sufficient funds, but we need to give solutions by taking action that will result in a permanent solution. Christianity is practical and not just a case of holding principles and ideas.
The Denham Springs Animal Shelter is a shelter established to take care of the animals such as cats and dogs that thrown either out into the streets or get lost (Robert, 2005). A shelter protects the animals that were found to be mistreated by their owners. At the shelter, the animals received the required attention and care in the hope that someone responsible would adopt one of the pets in a legal way and commit to taking care of them. It is the shelter that is mandated to rescue the animals from cruelty or even from being left all alone in the streets unattended (Webster, 2008).
At the shelter, I participated in a range of activities that directly helped the animals for the period that I volunteered at the shelter. I cleaned the animal cages, played with cats, walked several dogs, and washed the animal’s food bowls, did their laundry, and bathed some of the animals. It was an opportunity to offer the care, support, and attention that the animals require to be comfortable (Webster, 2008). It is everyone's responsibility of to treat the animals with respect and dignity they deserve. However, the biggest challenge I faced at the shelter is the fact that it is understaffed and operating on a small budget due to insufficiency in funding. Taking care of the ever-growing number of animals at the shelter indicates the need for more resources to pay the staff, buy the required materials and even food. Nevertheless, the situation at the shelter was that there was an increase in the animals, but no increase in funding and so the management and the few staff available had to work on a small budget. There were budget cuts on food and other services to the animals.
The most satisfying part of the service is seeing the glow of happiness and health in the animals as we played with them, fed them or cleaned them. Spending time with the animals also offered a strong sense of innate fulfillment in the knowledge that I was doing my part at taking care of God’s creation. Moreover, the animals greatly influenced my life in that they made me learn a lot even about myself. It was incredible typo see them get friendly and warm, with me as they got to know me and this made me appreciate the beauty and I always marveled at the excellence of God’s creation. The animals are amazing creatures that teach us a lot about the need and the effects of love. Before my experience with the shelter, I imagined that we were doing enough to take care of the animals but my perspective shifted in totality. I realized that there is still more to be done and is yet to be done, and it is our obligation to act in the little ways we can to contribute to taking care of the animals. I could feel God’s love and care at the shelter in that at times; we worked on almost a nil budget, but there was always someone or something that happened to ensure that we got the supplies. God's care and love were truly in the midst of the animals.