Volunteering and Healing at the Maine State Society for the Protection for Animals

The following post was written by Crossroads client, Shannon S.

Some clients and the program manager here at Crossroads Back Cove have been volunteering at the Maine State Society for the Protection of Animals (MSSPA). Our volunteering there helps us to relate to our own issues while the animals get some TLC. They have us doing all sorts of things for the horses, dogs, cats, a donkey, some mini horses and the goats!

I know it seems sort of silly talking about these animals this way, but it has helped me and some of my peers to understand Nikki’s (Crossroads halfway house program manager) favorite phrase, ” You are not your trauma.” And my new favorite phrase “I’m a survivor not a victim!”

These animals have been through a lot and are both amazing and loving creatures! We’ve done different projects: “paddocks” (scooping pastures), cleaning spider webs, washing barn walls and, most rewarding, patting the horses and showing them as much love as we can!

The MSSPA finds different projects every week, but the great thing about it is that we work great together as a team! Another awesome thing is that Nikki puts on her gloves and boots and gets down and dirty with us! It’s great to be able to get to know each other in a different way.

Here are a few thoughts from the ladies that volunteer with me:

 “I didn’t know much about the MSSPA and when I first went there, I was shocked to see how big it was and filled with so many animals. I watched a video when I first got there, it was so sad, it inspired me even more to do whatever I could! I get excited when I see the horses and some of them let us pat them and let us take pictures with them. I am very grateful that I get to go every Thursday and do jobs to improve their lives and the really cool thing is it has been improving mine too. I love going it is definitely a blessing!!”

“I feel at peace and in my element when I’m around all the animals at the MSSPA. I know all of them have been close to death and needed so much love and care from others, in order for them to recover from their traumas and situations, just like myself! If it weren’t for all the love and care I’ve received I wonder how my own personal recovery would be. Spending time with the animals reminds me that I’m strong and can succeed in life doing what I love and giving back what I’ve got in a spiritual way!!”

We have had some real fun and have been able to see how our lives resemble these fragile, yet sturdy animals. I have been known to stand in my own mess for a long time. I have been hungry, angry, lonely and tired. This experience has put a whole new meaning to the word “pooped.”