Volunteer work quick to warm hearts

Published 12:07 am Sunday, December 8, 2013

As the weather dipped over the last few days one thing became clear at our house, depression has set in — with no signs of relief in sight.

No medication has been prescribed nor has a proper diagnosis been made — at least not by anyone with a framed degree on the wall.

But nonetheless, it’s easy to see the trouble in her eyes.

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Suzy, the senior dog in the Cooper household, is a finicky little lady on her best day.

But when the mercury drops, things go south quickly.

The saddest thing is that this just came off the rare two-week season of fall in which Suzy actually acts like a dog.

My wife Julie noticed the initial arrival of fall a few weeks ago when she noticed Suzy went outside to do her business and didn’t immediately return.

Looking out the window she said, “Well, Suzy has decided to be a dog again. This happens twice a year when the weather turns just right, not too hot and not too cold.”

Julie was correct.

For the next 10 days or so, it was as if Suzy’s internal clock was turned back 10 people years — many decades in dog years.

Suzy ran and jumped, chased animals — real and imaginary — for hours.

Her eyes looked bright and her demeanor alert and happy.

Clearly, fall fit Suzy well.

Unfortunately, like all good things in life, the good stuff didn’t last long.

This week as the temperatures plummeted, so did Suzy’s mood.

She hates cold weather, almost as much as she hates cats and chipmunks.

But Suzy powers on, through the torment of winter.

This winter is already worse than most because she now has to dodge the ever-more-mobile baby.

The funny thing is, in Suzy’s quirky behavior, I see myself sometimes.

Don’t we all have times in which we feel awesome, want to run around with the wind in our face and feel young again?

But it’s just as easy to be derailed by something completely out of our control — like the arrival of winter, in Suzy’s case.

The challenge most of us have is in deciding how we react to the things out of our control.

We can choose the route Suzy takes — disdain for change, a disgruntled outlook for life — or we can choose to make the best of the situation.

The Democrat has been publishing a series called Season of Wishes that features local non-profits.

I’m always floored by how much goodness exists in the world. It’s easy to think like Suzy — when the chips are down, just get depressed or complain.

But when you read about the amazing work volunteers do for others, it’s a humbling moment.

Many of these folks give their time, their money and their sweat and tears all for their fellow man, woman and child.

It’s enough to warm your heart — unless you’re a small black and white dog hopeful winter is short.


Kevin Cooper is publisher of The Natchez Democrat. He can be reached at 601-445-3539 or kevin.cooper@natchezdemocrat.com.