Monday, December 13, 2010

How Book Blogging Led to My Passion

I've been blogging for two years and book blogging, specifically, for one. During the past year I've wondered why I haven't felt fulfilled. After all, I love reading, and book blogging has pushed me to read infinitely more books than I've read in the past. Two years ago I read 25 books, last year I read 81, and so far this year I've read 145.  Reading lots of books is obviously not a bad thing. But my focus was becoming more on how many books I could read and blog about, not on the enjoyment of the book itself. I pretended that the numbers of followers and comments didn't matter and that it wasn't a popularity contest. I'm above that, I told myself. At least that's what I wanted to believe.

But the more I blogged, the more I realized I did care whether or not people read my blog. It wasn't fun any more. And the more time that passed and the more posts I wrote and the more blogs I read (and the more guilt I felt for not writing more and better posts), the more I realized that something - I couldn't quite put a finger on what exactly it was, but something - was missing.

I remember one day thinking, Is all this time I'm putting into reading blogs and writing posts making a difference? Does this matter?

A person can't go long without feeling they are making a difference in the world or in someone's life, whether it be giving or helping.  I realize blogging is a form of creativity and isn't meant to change the world, and I certainly enjoyed it. But it wasn't enough. I'm sure it was helpful... My review about an awful book I read and rated 1-star may have prevented someone from reading it and saved them precious moments of an already too-short life. But what about my own life? Is reading like a maniac and spending hours writing book reviews hoping someone reads them a good way to spend my time?  Most importantly, is it rewarding enough to continue?

My answer was no. It wasn't. I needed more.

What book blogging DID do was lead me to read books about dogs and animals. I was drawn to those. I couldn't get enough.  Of course I'd read a few of the popular ones - Still Missing, Room, and The Help (which I loved by the way) to keep up and not feel like an outsider. But still I'd come back to the dog books. Dog rescues. Dogs saved from shelters. Dogs from Katrina.  Dogs, dogs, dogs.

And that's how I found my passion. My calling. My mission.   

I now volunteer for Stray Rescue, a no-kill shelter in St. Louis that has approximately 250 dogs currently looking for homes. I walk dogs, do laundry, wash bowls and whatever else needs to be done. The work never ends. Many dogs are adopted out each month, but always there are more. This week alone founder Randy Grim rescued 43 more strays from the streets, many of them litters of puppies.

Until people stop buying from breeders, which I myself did twice before learning how many dogs and cats die in shelters every HOUR - 800 to be exact, and until we start spaying and neutering our pets, and until we stop throwing away our dogs and cats when they get old or unruly, either dumping them at the shelter or out on the streets, and until laws of abuse against animals are enforced, there will always be more. 

I also do what is known as "cross posting" on Facebook.  I exchange information with rescue organizations and individuals wanting to adopt or foster of dogs and cats in danger of being euthanized in high-kill shelters because of overcrowding. It's heartbreaking work when every other animal is updated as PTS (put to sleep), but there are so many people who care, and once in a while a dog or cat is saved and I wonder if it was me who made the difference.

For me, blogging is fun, I love making new friends with similar interests, it's a way for me to be creative and I definitely read more than I used to.

But now I'm helping save lives. Animals are living, breathing beings. And as long as humans treat animals the way some do, I will always have a passion to help them.

Thanks to book blogging.

I miss you, Friends!  And I'll never stop reading.  And I'm sure I'll be back. 

Be sure to follow me on Goodreads.  I always update and rate books there. Go here and click on Lynne (the one from Saint Louis, MO)

A few pictures that prove animals, who cannot speak, need loving humans to protect them from evil scum


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