Library Diva's Guide to Volunteering…











A few days after Christmas one evening, I was all set to burn up some gift cards and hit the shoppes. Mo started to bark outside a very strange bark. Deep, low, growly, first very slowly, then the low growl and the deep woof woof woof of a Newfoundland sounding the alarm.

A cat? A squirrel? Someone trekking through my backyard? I thought I better bring him in as much as he loves the cold and the snow. I stood at the back door and called him but he wouldn’t come. He just kept barking in to the night in the direction of my neighbor’s house catty corner in the back yard. Maybe their cats are in the window again…it wasn’t a cat in the window when I looked, but flames.

I immediately ran in and grabbed the house phone and called 911. Mo rushed up to me in all his 140 lb excitement and then back to his spot where he was barking.

I blurted out…”My neighbor’s house is on fire! They have cats!”

“Is anyone home?”, the 911 operator asked.

“They have weird schedules. One of them works nights and one works days and there’s a car in the drive way…they have cats!”

At this point the flames had engulfed the entire back window and the glass was starting to blow out. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing and I began to feel the heat.

It took less than 4 minutes for the firemen to arrive, but because of a frozen fire hydrant nearby, it took 40 minutes to put out the fire. The house is at a loss and will be razed, the cats died from smoke inhalation.

A few days ago, I was in the backyard with Mo when the neighbors came back to survey the scene. We met in the backyard and hugged. She started to cry. I felt horrible for them. They kept thanking me and Mo. There is no thanks. They lost their cats. They lost their house. It wasn’t enough. They kept telling me that it was. The other houses didn’t go up in flames, no one was hurt. They said it was enough. Their bedroom was burned but untouched in their nightstand was their family bible.They asked if I wanted to come inside to look. No. That’s their private pain. I’m not a curiosity seeker. They said they’d buy Mo the biggest bone they can find. He’s a big boy…it will have to be big bone!

The strange thing is that she was going to go to sleep, but her husband had asked her to go with him someplace she usually doesn’t like to go….the library…

She said, what the heck. They were on their way back when they saw the smoke and emergency vehicles and couldn’t believe it was their house. He told me they lost some books in the fire. I told him it was ok…I had connections at the library… 🙂

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I left work and had to run to the post office before I started some more errands, it is the holiday season and it wouldn’t be tradition for some if the rushing and stress wasn’t part of it. The rushing is part of what I do almost everyday, the stress of the holidays is something I try to keep to a minimum. I knew what I was mailing wasn’t going to get to their destinations until after Christmas, I’m even finishing up my seasonal cards today, focus on “seasonal”.

I’m not sure what the connection is lately to the Post Office and the Humane Society with me. If you have read one of my earlier posts, that’s how I found my Newfoundland Mo.  I’m the only one in the post office,  they all know me by name because I’m in there so often and we all hear a car alarm going off.  Outside is an elderly lady in her car, I go out to see if everything’s ok, but before I get there the alarm stops. I go back to the counter, then the alarm is louder, I go out to investigate again, she’s moved her car closer to the door. My over imaginative mind is thinking that maybe she’s having a stroke or needs help. She ends up driving away…bizaare enough, but before I can go back in to the post office I’m stopped by a frantic woman yelling if I had seen a dog. She’s in a van and has been circling the area. I yell out to her, what kind? who are you? Just in case I find it, I can return it to her.

“It’s an Alaskan Malamute, I’m a volunteer at the Humane Society and it broke free while I was walking it!” I immediately felt bad for her. She took off and  after I finished up at the post office I took a few extra side roads to see if I could find it. How horrible to be volunteering and do a good deed only to have the dreaded happen. So I’m going to let my over imagination step in on this one and find a happy ending for her…

Dave and his Malamute went off one day on a mushing adventure in the far reaches of Alaska. Tok was not only an excellent mush dog, but also the loyal family pet. On this particular day though, a bear came upon Dave and Tok as they were mushing through the woods, Tok immediately went to protect Dave and chased the bear far far away. Dave waited for Tok’s return but after several bitter cold hours, Dave realized that maybe Tok was a goner. The family was heartbroken. In this economy, of course, Dave was forced to move his family to the midwest for a job transfer. Having their first Christmas in a strange place in middle America, the family was struggling to adjust, but happy that there was a least snow where they moved. As for the Tok, he was picked up by Malamute rescue, sent from Humane Society to Humane Society and Rescue to Rescue where he too ended up in middle America and in that night air, as the volunteer was walking him, a scent caught his attention, was it Dave’s aftershave? Tok broke free, and on that very night, he ran up the porch steps and scratched and yipped until he was met with warm welcomes and hugs.

Tok was home for Christmas….



et cetera
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