Wilson’s Impact

by Jamie Woodard

A year after my best friend, Wilson, a Portuguese water dog,  was put to sleep, I found salvation at the Jersey Animal Coalition. The minute I stepped into this shelter, the odors of cat litter and wet dogs welcomed me with an intensity that underscored my calling. That day I met my friend Cinnamon, a dog part of an unwanted litter. I walked by his cage and saw the discontent behind his glassy eyes. I watched him helplessly try to paw his way through his crate, trying to get outside for the first time all day. My relationship with Cinnamon exposed me to the everyday difficulties of running an animal shelter. New animals arrived daily, each with their own story. Without a home, these animals were completely dependent on us, which was a disturbing realization. A beagle needs us to save him from an abusive owner, and the runt of a litter needs to be fed until being adopted. The shelter increased my awareness of the world’s cruelty, but also exposed me to ways to help its victims.

Jamie Woodard is a freshman at Georgetown and a 2013 graduate of The Peddie School.