62: Filling a Need

62: Filling a Need

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Find Your Happiness

Filling a Need

The purpose of life is a life of purpose.

~Robert Byrne

As I approached my fortieth birthday, I realized that my life was quite meaningless in the larger scheme of things. I had friends and a loving husband and yet something was missing. With no children, I felt that I hadn’t done anything that would help mankind or change the world. I would have no legacy to leave.

I was watching TV one day and I saw Billy Graham speaking about prayer. He said that we should ask God for the “desires of our hearts.” He explained that this is different than just asking for your wants and wishes. It is not like asking for a new red sports car. He was talking about the deepest and truest desires of your heart.

My desire was to be someone who mattered. I wanted to make a difference in the lives of people and in the lives of animals. After all, dogs had always been a large part of my life, from the time when I was a little girl growing up in central Oklahoma. I thought that my “purpose” would somehow include my love of singing, writing, travel, and of course, working with animals.

Then, something happened that shook my entire core. The “love of my life” dog, my Nicholas, was diagnosed with terminal cancer. He died thirteen months later. I became quite concerned for Bear, our remaining Cockapoo, who was six years old. Bear had been Nicholas’s shadow and now that Nick was gone, Bear wouldn’t even eat. Our vet suggested that we get another dog to see if that would encourage Bear to eat.

I found an online ad for a Bichon Frise and when we arrived at the place it was a nightmare, like one of those puppy mills you read about or see on the television news. I decided to delay my search for my “purpose” as I needed to tell the world about the horror I had discovered right in my own backyard.

I had even a bigger fight ahead of me than Nicholas’s cancer. This was a fight that would take years. I did research and then I spread the word on the Internet. People began to listen and we formed a small group of Bichon Frise lovers called Small Paws Rescue.

I started out sending the latest news on our rescue efforts to about twenty-five people. Within a few months we had grown to a group of several hundred. Some had Bichons and some had other breeds of dogs.

I felt bad about the delay in finding my “purpose in life,” but after all, I was now on a mission.

A few years passed and my rescue stories were being read by more than six thousand people in twenty-eight different countries. National media outlets began asking me to do interviews and to film episodes for Animal Planet.

It took me a while to realize that I had not only found my purpose in life, but each of the desires of my heart had been included as well.

Yes, losing Nicholas was part of this journey. If I hadn’t lost Nick, I wouldn’t have found myself involved in this magnificent obsession called Small Paws Rescue, along with some of the finest people anywhere. Now my days are filled with helping people and animals. I travel this beautiful country attending Small Paws Rescue functions.

Because of this awesome and wonderful gift to me, in the past thirteen years, Small Paws Rescue has rescued more than 8,000 Bichons and has made a difference in the lives of thousands of people, too.

I’ve been made whole and complete, and what more could any person ever ask? The sheer joy of doing what I do overflows from every pore of my body, and I can never repay this wonderful gift that has given my life purpose.

You too can find your purpose in life, and the desires of your heart. And look behind you. You may even be followed by a few thousand small, white, fluffy dogs.

~Robin Pressnall

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