Finding a Reverence For All Life

For the past couple of weeks, I have been reading the Tao Te Ching. These virtues of ancient universal wisdom, have helped me make sense out of the chaos that is often in my mind.  One of the virtues that I found to be particularly inspiring is a reverence for all life, plants, animals, and people. This virtue relates to a special case that I want to share with you.

The Sunday morning of our vaccination clinic, Amanda received a call from a staff member at the South LA Shelter about a dog owner who needed help redeeming her in the shelter dog. Knowing it was an urgent situation, Amanda called her, and upon hearing that she could receive dog food, resources and support, she drove over to the clinic, and waited patiently to speak to Amanda.  We learned that she had come to Los Angeles to live with a friend, to start a new job, but the friend and the job didn’t work out.  She never imagined that she would end up living in her car, delivering groceries to survive.  She explained that her 7 year old dog named Reflection had ended up at the South LA Shelter when a so called friend, who agreed to watch her dog while she was working, tired of taking care of Reflection, and dumped her at the shelter.  With barely enough money for gas, her brakes going out, her dog in the shelter, she confided that she had almost lost hope.

Reflection in happier times

Reflection at the South LA Shelter

















First things first, she needed to get gas, to find a safe place to park until Monday morning when she would go to our mechanic to have her brakes worked on. She loaded up a bag of dog food, agreed to text Amanda in the morning, and I would call the mechanic to make arrangements in the morning.  First thing Monday morning, Amanda received her text, arrangements were made with Villegas Auto Repair, and an anonymous donor paid for the brake job. Working as a team, within 24 hours, things were moving in a positive direction.

Villegas Auto Repair

Knowing that she needed to make some money so that she could drive home with Reflection, Amanda asked the kennel supervisor to board her dog at the shelter until Saturday.  Later in the day Amanda and I received a text from Reflection’s owner that read, “… I’m the happiest person in the world right now because you took care of my problem. I feel so lucky, thank you. You made me feel alive again.” More than helping her with a bag of dog food, paying the fees to redeem her dog, finding a reputable mechanic to fix her brakes, we were the caring people who were there to listen. Even though her family didn’t understand why she was so bonded to her dog, we did.  She didn’t have to explain why she loved her dog more than some people, we understood.  My interpretation of the Tao virtue, to have a reverence for life, in this case meant connecting, and making her know that she wasn’t alone.  Isn’t that what we all want in a time of crisis?

Friday afternoon, Amanda connected with the shelter staff to pay the redemption fees. Saturday morning,  we wished her and Reflection a safe trip, and made sure she knew that we are a call or a text away.  Who knows if we will ever hear from her again, and that’s ok.  Personally, to know that I played a small part of improving another dog owner’s life fills my heart with gratitude.  It’s cases like this one that keep me going, giving me a purpose in life, an opportunity to practice a reverence for all life, for both two and four legged beings.

Thank you for taking the time to read this blog post.  You can always email me at





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