While my posts will usually be about hosting and entertaining friends, I wanted to do a special post about my spring break. This year, I applied to be an adviser for my college’s alternative break program. The concept is that, instead of going to the beach, students can use this free week to perform acts of service. Alternative Breaks sends students all over the country, and I was chosen to go to Kendalia, Texas, to work at Kendalia Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation.
As someone who is hoping to work in animal advocacy, getting this opportunity was incredible. KWRR is full of animals who have been rescued from terrible situations. There are mountain lions from roadside zoos, monkeys from labs, and sheep saved from slaughterhouses. There are FIV+ cats, elderly chihuahuas, and a few feral pigs. The staff there are dedicated to giving these animals as natural a life as possible. They are also committed to treating each animal with respect; no one is considered an ‘it’, but rather referred to as a ‘he’ or ‘she’.
I was completely blown away by how the staff worked so hard for the animals. However, the staff is small, and projects were piling up. The Alternative Breaks crew–myself included–did our best to help out KWRR. We built and painted fences, collected branches, made enrichment toys (including a hammock for a mountain lion!), and socialized with the cats and dogs. It was hard work, but I truly loved every second of it!
Places like Kendalia Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation are so important because they are the ones looking after the animals that the rest of society has forgotten. Taking care of these animals is hard, dirty, tiring work, but to see how happy the animals were was well and truly worth it. Plus, I got to feed a mountain lion, and how cool is that?
We also had one free day to explore Austin, and let me tell you guys, it was a vegan’s dream. We ate at Conan’s Pizza, which had the best vegan pizza I have ever had. They used Daiya cheese, and I am super stoked to find some and use it at home. We also went to Sweet Ritual, an incredible vegan ice cream shop. They use coconut, almond, or cashew milk as the base of the ice cream. I had cookies ‘n cream and rocky road–it was heaven.
If you have the opportunity to give back a little to the world around you, I challenge you to do it. Whether it’s helping out at your local animal shelter or making the commitment to only buy cruelty-free products, every little piece helps. Some of my fellow Alt-Breakers have decided to give veganism a spin–I am very proud of them.
So, don’t forget to give the animals in your life a hug, and I hope you all had as awesome a spring break as I did!