Thursday, September 11, 2014

We Do More Than Just Deliver Biscuits

It wasn't long ago that someone had asked if we had a good weekend. Yep. We did. Then...the infamous question, "Well, what did you do?" After clearing my allergy laden throat, I replied, "Late afternoon on Friday we spent at a shelter spreading the biscuit love and visiting the shelter babies. Saturday we restocked our display in Oakville and made a pit stop to visit the shelter dogs in Bethlehem. After we got home, we played and snuggled with our furbabies. Sunday we caught up on housework, planned our upcoming week, and started baking biscuits in the afternoon."

If I had a quarter for every time someone raised their eyebrows and gave us that whatever-floats-your-boat expression, we'd be able to purchase a years supply of peanut butter and labels. 

More often than not, my reply is the "in a nutshell" version. There is a considerable amount that happens behind the scenes, at my desk, between point A and point B and while we're visiting shelters that I don't include as it would take too much time. There are a select few who are genuinely interested however, for most, they lose interest. I get it. Not everyone shares the same interests or plants their feet on mutual ground. There are people who find shelters and the animals residing there repugnant.

What I have a difficult time processing, and often times makes my lip curl, is the blatant disregard for what lingers beneath the surface. This often surfaces in the form of snarky comments. Sadly, the words, "You need to get a life" or "That's a waste of money" have been thrown at us.

Up front, we bake biscuits and donate them to shelters. How difficult is that, right? And some might be thinking, "How on earth does that soak up most of your free time?"

The answer is quite simple...because that's not all we do.

Baking biscuits is the easy part. Measure ingredients. Mix. Roll dough. Cut shapes. Bake. Cool. It's not rocket science. It's what lies between point A and point B that requires a great deal of time and effort. There's a generous amount of budgeting involved. Yes...math. A lot of times, we run out of pocket. Translation? We foot the bill. We have a budget. Ingredients and supplies are expensive. So are shipping costs. Based on our list of shelters we're spreading the biscuit love to on any given week, we have to figure out approximately how many batches to bake, the amount of ingredients to purchase, what our shipping costs will be, etc.

Our biscuits are baked at home, in our kitchen. The oven holds 2 trays however, the biscuits bake the best with only one tray. This is the reason why there are biscuits baking 'round the clock. The term "baking 'round the clock" isn't just an expression. It's really happening here. I get very little sleep. The black circles under my eyes are permanent fixtures.

And that's just on the biscuit end of things. 

When biscuits are delivered, we don't just drop and go. Most times, we spend an hour or two at the shelter to visit with the animals and personally spread the biscuit love. This is honestly one of my favorite aspects of Bodacious Biscuit Love. When we're at the shelters surrounded by sweet pups and felines, I don't think about work, how much housework I've fallen behind on, appointments, the amount of Post-It "to do" notes decorating my desk or scattered stresses floating around in my head. I always tell people animals are my therapy.

Often, we help out when needed. Shelters are often crowded or there's a litter of puppies or kittens. Extra hands are much appreciated. We'll assist with cleaning cages, trimming nails, playtime, feeding, etc.

Another favorite...socialization. Sometimes I refer to it as touch therapy. It's an integral part of rehabilitating an animal who hasn't had much "hooman" contact. Holding a newborn animal in the palm of my hand and gently massaging their tiny body...there are no words. There is something quite remarkable about the entire process between birth and the 8 week mark when they're able to be adopted out. The fact we're included in that is such an honor.

I've always reveled in the time I spend behind the lens. Over the years I've shifted from photographing "hoomans" to animals, insects and everything between. When visiting shelters, my camera is always in tow. There's no shortage of photos posted on shelter and pound pages however, taking candid photos of the animals in their elements playing or interacting with "hoomans" captures a wider audience. I usually take 100-200 photos (during lengthy visits and with multiple animals). Once uploaded, I edit and send a couple/few dozen to the appropriate people to post on their site or Facebook page.

Once home, I throw my frilly apron on, and start the process of baking. While the biscuits are baking, I manage this blog site as well as our Bodacious Biscuit Love Facebook page and try to squeeze in time to work on other social networking avenues. We also launch a Bodacious Biscuit Love fundraiser once or twice a month to gather much needed items for local shelters. There aren't enough hours in the day.

Over the summer, as I scrolled through my news-feed, I caught sight of vacation photos. There certainly wasn't a shortage of those. Once in a while I entertained the thought of what it would be like to go on a week-long vacation in some remote area. That all but lasted for less than a minute. It doesn't tempt my wife or I in the least bit. First, we would never leave our furkids behind for any length of time. Second, if we had a few grand to spend frivolously, it wouldn't be used to book a vacation. And third, how could we possibly go an entire week without spreading the Bodacious Biscuit Love?

That's just not happening on our watch.

I'm there. To be the voice of the voiceless. To be an integral part of "great things are done by a series of small things brought together." To be surrounded by some of the most beautiful and inspiring people I know. To let go of what society deems as successful and accomplished. To find purpose and passion in muddy paw prints, juicy kisses, fur covered clothes, peanut butter oiled hands, crunchy love, big hearts, the smell of peanut butter permanently embedded in my nose, those "moments", the weathered faces behind the scenes and so much more. 

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