A Year Beyond Comparison

by Julie Madden, Co-founder, EEC

By July, I swore I would never use the word “unprecedented” again. All the TV coverage, all the social media frenzy, not knowing what or who to believe and watching our world seem to self-destruct. Our nation so angry and divided. Our belief systems challenged every day.

And it’s still not over. Although a COVID vaccine is thankfully close, a nationwide (and worldwide) delivery of that vaccine is a monstrous undertaking. And the economic fallout of 2020 will be felt for years by those who lost their jobs, their business, and their futures. And the personal toll on all those who lost family members and friends is beyond measure.

So it’s hard to try to write a message about giving thanks and being blessed in the face of such enormous hardships. But…in our little piece of the world on EA Darden Drive, we have much to be thankful for.

To date, 247 of the 296 dogs we worked with have been adopted or rescued. Our amazing partners managed to keep dogs moving from their shelters to forever homes and we were blessed to be able to keep working with their dogs to make them more adoptable. We were closed due to COVID but then we were able to re-open. We lost opportunities for fundraisers but managed to get some amazing grants from the State of Alabama and Best Friends Animal Society. Walk-in donors fell off, but our wonderful recurring PayPal donors, and online Facebook donors continued to give us support. We lost most of our volunteers but a few have come back, and they sustain us with their compassion and commitment.

And the dogs – the wonderful, silly, jumpy, scared, energetic, fearful, crazy shelter dogs. They never watch the news and have no political affiliations. They just long for attention and the chance to play. They go bonkers over treats and toys and learning to trust people if that was taken away from them. They come in for a butt or belly rub with no shame at all, just finding joy in the simple pleasure of a dog-human connection. The dogs make us laugh and cry and realize we can always find extra room in our hearts no matter how low we were feeling before.

So yes, we are thankful to have survived 2020 while we look forward to seeing it in the rear view mirror. Tom and I pray that each of you have found your way to navigate this “unprecedented” year. We hope that you can see promise for the future even if you are struggling in the present. Be kind to yourself and others during this Thanksgiving season. And please follow us into 2021 so we can discover together what the next year will bring.