Being thankful is a simple concept but can sometimes be elusive in its application. Daily gratitude is something I try to practice but sometimes life just gets in the way. I get instantly annoyed when someone cuts me off in traffic or open the mailbox to find that dreaded jury summons. (Yep, I just got mine last week. Ugh.) In reality, those tiny nuisances will not matter in 30 minutes so why do I get so aggravated? I have a roof over my head, food in my pantry and loved ones there to help if I don’t. I should feel grateful and blessed every second of every day, right? (Well I’m not Mother Teresa.) So when does this ingrate feel grateful? Answer: when I walk through the doors of the main shelter or the mall adoption center. Suddenly, I am surrounded by countless pairs of beautiful, soulful eyes who only want what I take for granted: a home, food and love. It is a beautifully humbling experience. Every. Single. Time.

At HALO, gratitude takes on a new meaning because we rely so heavily on our community for EVERYTHING. From bleach to blankets, our loyal supporters always show up for our call to action. Each day we are humbled and blessed by your generosity and selflessness. But I think I can safely say on behalf of the other HALO staff and volunteers that we are never more grateful than when a shelter animal finds their perfect family and they finally get the home and love they deserve.

Recently, I asked a few of the HALO volunteers and staff members what they are thankful for this Thanksgiving:

“I am thankful for being able to do something I LOVE with my life…looking forward to each day and the sense of accomplishment I get as each life is saved and I watch the vision of HALO grow. I am grateful for my friends and family and and the support they give along this journey. I am most thankful that I have been gifted the opportunity to see MIRACLES happen every day.”

– Jacque Petrone, Founder & Executive Director

“[I am] Thankful for second chances, and for community support that has allowed us [HALO] each year to increase the number of animals getting second chances. For the thirteen years HALO has been around, we are able to give dogs and cats the opportunity to live and overcome obstacles. There is a better way, grateful for the chance to put that phrase into action.

– Rebecca Grohall, Social Media Coordinator

“I am thankful for having found HALO and being given the opportunity to be involved in their mission of making Indian River County no-kill! I am also thankful to be surrounded every day by like-minded people who feel more like family than they do co-workers. And, of course, I am thankful for both of my fur babies – one of which came from HALO!

– Marina Harvey, HALO Office Manager

“I’m thankful for the ability to contribute to the animal rescue efforts in our community by doing something that I have a passion for.”

– Amanda Jess, HALO’s Rescued Treasures Thriftique Manager

“I am grateful that rescue has been such a large part of my life and passion. I am grateful to have found HALO and a rescue that believes as I do in no-kill. Grateful for the wonderful people that I have met on the rescue journey and the friendships that have continued and will last an eternity. Grateful that I am able to give back to something that I strongly believe in and makes each day a sunny one.”

– Margaret Wall, Director of Development

“I am thankful for having my four legged best friend there for me whenever I needed her growing up and teaching me the only ones you can trust are DOGS. Thankful for getting my dream job without going to college. Thankful for finding love being exactly where I am. Thankful for having my HALO family and friends that are just as compassionate about other (furry) lives as me!”

– Kasey Kristiansen, Animal Welfare Administrator

“I am thankful for finding my passion/purpose in life – although it was a bit late in my life. Rescue is not a path I would have ever thought of taking but from the first day I walked through the doors at HALO I knew it was where I wanted to be.”

– Jan Howington, Vice President

“I am thankful for the opportunity to put everything I have into something I love, for the chance to learn something new every day and for being a small part in helping turn an amazing vision into a reality previously thought unattainable.”

– Cathryn Bootes, Administrative Assistant

“I am thankful for a retirement that allows me to do what I really want to do in my life which is to help the animals. HALO has become my purpose in life and has given me a reason to smile and cry happy tears every time a kitty is adopted. I am thankful for the new friends I have in my life because of HALO and for finding the sister I never had (you know who you are). I am thankful for my husband who loves me enough to be me. 

– Pam Burns, Volunteer

For me, I am so very blessed and thankful to have found an amazing group of people who are just as crazy about animals as I am and who will never tire of all of my pictures and stories about my fur babies. We are the rescue mafia – once you’re in, you’re never getting out! And I am happy right where I am.

From our HALO family to yours, we wish you a very Happy Thanksgiving surrounded by your loved ones (two- and four-legged). We are so thankful for YOU and your continuous support of the no-kill movement!