I heard the dogs barking in the kennels as I pulled up, got out of my car, and walked in. It was such a wonderful, jubilant sound -- the sound of unbridled joy. The dogs were so glad for the humans to return another morning. I busied myself cleaning kennels -- your standard scooping up dog poop and then spraying them down after putting the dogs on the outside. It is a messy, thankless job, but one for which I felt I was making a difference. They put more responsibility on me this morning asking me to do one of the most physically arduous jobs, kennel cleaning.
I left the Humane Society and drove up to the hospital. A long ago girlfriend and her mother were gracing the front desk.
"Hey," I said and waved shyly. I hadn't seen them in years. My homelessness, mental illness, and the drinking has really taken a toll on my looks over the years and they didn't recognize me.
"Who do I talk to to volunteer?" I then asked, getting up a moment of social courage.
Mrs. Sarah walked me around to the directors office.
"Come in and have a seat!" The director said excitedly.
I took a seat and cautiously crossed my arms. I was so nervous -- my social anxieties welling over.
"What makes you want to volunteer?" The director asked.
"I want to help people and give some purpose to my days," I squeaked. "I already volunteer out at the Humane Society."
"Oh, I just love dogs," the director squealed. I had broken the ice.
"When can you start?" she then asked.
"ASAP," I replied.
She signed me up for orientation on Friday. I told her I have schizophrenia and she said she needs my doctor to call her to let her know I can volunteer successfully. I told her I would get him on to it. I really don't know what I am doing. I do know I am tired of spending endless days with nothing to do. Long, idle days of sitting down at the shopping center watching life pass me by. I am hoping to help others and in turn, help myself. I hope I am not biting off more than I can chew.
I am now headed for a noon time A.A. meeting in Lagrange, Georgia. It's a long drive and one I don't relish. It is better than sitting at home alone, though. I hope I can get up the courage to walk into a strange room full of strange people. I am really pushing my boundaries these days!!!!