Being attached to the Broward County Environmental Protection and Growth Management Department, it has been exhilarating to be exposed to the myriad activities and programs that the department is involved in handling within the county. Today, Shan and I got to visit the animal shelter run by the county, right after going around Dania Beach city to collect an environmental survey responses from the local businesses there.
The thing about animal shelters, that always gets me, is the amazing numbers of abandoned and stray lovelies that are so adorable and affectionate, that we cannot even begin to imagine why they are in a shelter in the first place.
I was definitely awed by how well built the facility was, you walk in and it almost feels like a hotel, with the lovely posters and the skylight glass ceilings. It was most heartening to hear that it was a eco designed building as well.
Perhaps the most heartbreaking part about playing with the many dogs that were housed there, was that the stereotype I had learnt on social media about pet abandonment in the States, was actually playing itself out in this shelter. Majority of the dogs were pitbulls indeed. Pitties haven’t had exactly been leaving the best impressions given their fierce looks, yet these pitbulls at the shelter were bursting with friendliness and craving so desperately for affection, as they threw themselves against the cages just to get as much contact and rubs from us as they could.
It truly broke my heart to meet a particular Ralph, who was all heart and full of affection and vigorous tail wags, having a bio page that said he was surrendered by his previous owner…
Much as the visit was bittersweet, it was definitely encouraging to see that amongst the thousand and one amazing things that Broward County does, like piloting a climate change policy that was eventually adopted by the State as well, and getting into the thick of climate change mitigation actions by getting in touch with the ground and engaging stakeholders continually, they also support a very well maintained and well run facility for the strays and abandoned pets of the county by considering this issue a part of the environmental sustainability and growth management department.
I feel that the YSEALI Professional Fellows program is all about learning, inclusivity and at the heart of it, compassion. We are all interconnected in the world and cannot live apart from the other fellow living beings and hence I am so heartened to see a shelter that is run on a county level here in Fort Lauderdale indeed.
It has been an immensely steep learning curve the past few first days in Fort Lauderdale with Broward County, seeing the struggle between development and climate change, mitigating the faults and errors of the earlier generations alongside the problems that natural disasters AND climate change (again) brings…the department truly has immensely much on their plate, but are doing such stellar good work in getting things moving so well, is definitely most heartening.
Next blog coming up about the many environmental and marine protection work that is taken up by the County! Some crazy good stuff going indeed that I think Singapore could learn from! 🙂 In the meantime, here are some sleeping kittens at the shelter to melt your hearts: