Wednesday, October 3, 2012

My Hero is a Humble Servant - Thank You and Happy Birthday, Melissa!

Super Star Volunteer, Melissa Beamish
& Hacinta, her Scooby Galga
Who Would Have Thought?
When I started this blog 18 months ago, I had no idea how many wonderful friends I would meet from writing about something that I am so passionate about -- galgosIt began as a journal and vehicle to raise awareness and share information about adopting one of these precious ones, our Bless. (Side note: Friends, this blog is at almost 5,000 page views from visitors around the World. How cool is that?) :-)

Meeting Melissa and Her Hacinta:
A few months ago, out of the blue sky, I received an email from another Scooby volunteer who had visited right after Darrell and I were there in April.  She's from the UK and her name is Melissa Beamish. She had read my blog entry about falling in love with one of the galgas there, Polka, and it touched her soul. She too had fallen in love with a lovely galga, Hacinta, while she was volunteering at Scooby.  She didn't know much about galgos before visiting Scooby, and this posting has some great insights for those who are also new to the breed.
The Beautiful Hacinta - Forever in Melissa's Heart
I know how much you love Hacinta, Melissa. My wish for you is that you can some day take sweet Hacinta home with you, or at the very least, you can go to visit her in her new home in France.
Melissa with Lovely Hacinta
18 Month Mission Around the World:
In her email, Melissa explained how she was on an 18-month mission, volunteering at needy animal shelters around the World and had begun her dream journey with Scooby in May, 2012. I read her blog, connected to her on Facebook and looked at all of her amazing photos. Her writing style is even somewhat like mine, which is awesome!  Scooby and this blog had brought together two more kindred spirits.

Melissa's Bio:
I'm following Melissa's travels with great anticipation and a heart full of admiration, and thought it fitting to make her story the topic of this entry.  I asked her to send me a bio, and here it is:

A brief bio about me, and sadly it isn't even a bit interesting compared with the life I am now living since my dream began 4 months ago.

I was born in the US, but have lived in England since I was 4....I've always loved animals and have always grown up with cats, all of which have been rescues (interesting fact, I have never owned a dog, and my sisters adopted Alaskan malamute, also known as my beloved Mal Nephew Thunder, is pretty much the only dog I have been around until taking this trip).

5 years ago I started joining various animal rights groups and charities, PETA, WSPA, and began learning a lot about the atrocities that are happening to animals all over the world, and I really had my eyes opened (so much so I also became vegetarian). I felt so sad and horrified at what i was learning, and I then got to thinking how much I would love to work with and help animals, but realised I've left it too late in life to be able to study to be qualified in any way. I own a house, a car, pay bills and have responsibilities, so it would not be possible to go in to full or even part-time education.

So then I got to thinking there must be places in the world that don't require you to be qualified in the way that England does, and that led to me thinking about volunteer work. I'm a big believer that we're all taking and taking from the world, but not enough of us are giving back, and how rewarding it would be to be able to help animals, people, and do this from the heart, rather than for the financial reward. I've talked about travelling the world for many, many years, and always planned to take a year out at some point to do just that. But the more I thought about animals, the horrific cruelty they suffer, and the want to help them, the dream of travelling changed its course.

I started researching volunteer placements with animals, and was again opened up to a world of such placements I didn't before knew existed. After many many hours, days, weeks researching I decided on a 2 week working vacation at the Harnas Wildlife Refuge in Namibia, Africa. I had an incredible experience, and in just under 2 weeks I'd hand fed cheetahs, slept out under the stars with 8 month old lions, taken baboons for daily walks, and much much more.  But what I did learn is that I got just as much, if not more, out of the time I spent with the domestic dogs and cats at Harnas, than with these incredible wild animals.

By the end of my trip (3 years ago) my mind was set, and the dream was born. I was going to start saving as much money as possible, and travel the world volunteering at animal shelters, focusing primarily on cats and dogs as they are the ones that seemed so much in need of help, love and comfort, with all the abuse and dangers they are exposed to.

The planning for my trip started around 7 months before I left the UK. I first decided on countries to visit (basing this on countries either with high abuse issues, strays, poverty etc) then spent countless hours, days, weeks, months researching projects. By the time I left the UK (and even now still), I only had the first 5 months set up and planned. My short list of projects after that is still at over 100+!

In Spain alone I found so many shelters  requesting the help of volunteers, but I have to say Scooby was one that when I saw the website (bearing in mind I only read a small amount), I instantly said 'I have to go there, I have to help them'.

I left my job at one of the UK's top private boarding Schools a week before the journey began, my house is now inhabited by tenants, my car is declared off the road and in a secure parking lot, and my possessions are now packed in to crates stored in my sisters loft. I have one large and one small rucksack containing my belongings for the next 18 months, and the rest from there I guess from my blog you will know already.

I've said this many times on my journey, that I have honestly never enjoyed a days work more, than when I'm caring for animals, and doing it for free. As you will know from your own experiences at Scooby, no financial reward could possibly match the incredible rewards that working with animals can give. I knew right away this is what I am meant to be doing with my life, and this is what I really call living. Although content in my life before this, I felt I was more existing than living, and I wanted my life to have more meaning  and a real purpose. Donating to charities and signing petitions was not enough, and I could no longer justify sitting back and doing nothing, I had to be a part of it.
I feel truly blessed to be doing what I'm doing, and it's a journey I hope will never end.
(by Melissa Beamish, 9/2012)

A Map of Melissa's Travels


What an Experience!
I can only imagine how full her mind and heart must be with all of the experiences she's having and the animal souls that she is touching as she travels from place to place. But do read her blog and you'll learn so much more. I will forewarn you that she presents the bright and dark side of her experiences, which some of you may find upsetting; however, it is the truth about how some things are, whether we want to know it or not.

Thank You for What You are Doing, Melissa: 
You are a humble servant, and you'll be richly blessed. But I know that you are not doing this to receive anything in return. Giving of yourself like this gives back to you in more ways than any words can describe. You are an inspiration to all of us! God bless you as you continue on your dream journey, touching and helping to heal the needy souls of these beautiful animals, one at a time.  I hope to meet you at Scooby next Summer!

Hasta Luego! Thank you for reading my blog! More to follow. Bless sends her blessings.
Our gorgeous Galga, Bless!
Please support Scooby!

Know an organization that will donate dog food?  Please let me know.