Lifetime To-Do’s aka Bucket List

I’ve never really taken the time to write a real Bucket List.  In fact, I even hate that term – “Bucket List.”  As a 24 year old, I find it depressing to think about dying and calling my list by that name seems like asking for bad luck.  That said, I have occasionally jotted down in my journal things I want to remember to do at some point in my life.  Lately, I have been thinking about those lists a lot, trying to remember what it was I put on them.  The lists are in journals at my parent’s house in Erie, PA, so unfortunately I cannot search for them at present (being 10 hours away in Charlotte, NC).  However, I am pretty sure of a couple of things I definitely included on my list:

– Visit Europe. See towns and buildings that were built centuries ago.
– Plant pear, apple and peach trees; raspberry and blueberry bushes; concord grape vines; and strawberry plants in my yard.
– Write and publish a novel.
– See killer whales in the wild.
– Fix up an old farmhouse.

There was one thing that has always been on that list — I remember thinking of it during my sophomore year of college, and I always included it as I rewrote the list in each new journal.

– Start a dog shelter.

If you’ve read any of my previous posts, it should not come as a surprise to you that I have a slight obsession with dogs — rescuing them, particularly.  That fixation started in college, and I dreamed someday that I could open up my own animal shelter to help dogs find homes.  I figured that would be the only way I would ever have the opportunity to run one.  I mean, I didn’t have any sort of veterinary degree, so how else would I get hired at a shelter?  My only resort, I figured, was to someday create my own non-profit shelter on the large piece of land my husband and I owned (the one that had all the fruit trees and berry bushes; also, the one with the farmhouse we fixed up).

Well, it turns out I will be able to cross that particular dream off my Lifetime To Do List a lot earlier than I expected.   In less than a month, I will be leaving the lovely city of Charlotte (sad face) and my career in teaching (happy face) to take a position managing the SPCA of Cattaraugus County’s animal shelter in Olean, NY. Granted, I am not exactly starting my own animal shelter — however, this situation is even better.  The shelter already has some sources of funding, I will have a salary I can count on, and there are already dogs ready to find new homes. Now, I get to do all the things I wanted to at my own shelter — find new sources of funding, write grants, start new programs (like foster programs, dog training, educational and outreach, etc.), increase adoptions and awareness, and generally improve the lives of all the dogs (and, I suppose, cats) already there!

I have to admit, it feels pretty good to reach a Lifetime To Do by the age of 24.

one of the new residents at the SPCA shelter — don’t worry pup, I’m on my way!

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