This summer, I traveled back into my adolescence. I wore knee high socks and mismatched outfits, I made string bracelets, I jumped up and down at the thought of dirt pudding for dessert, and I wore a fanny pack (fanny pack Fridays, duh). I played every sport possible, I listened to Ariana Grande on repeat, and I let thirteen-year-old girls call me Weenie Piscopio for 26 days straight. This summer, I worked at a summer camp.
I worked at camp for 5 years and this intelligent young woman at my graduate Alma Mater (University of Pitt!) summed it up so nicely. Work at camp while you still can y’all, it is something you will not regret! I may have spent my summers at camp in Washington, but the takeaways are the same, no matter where you are in the world.
Sometimes it takes the voices of children to speak truth to power, especially when it comes to the evils of racism.
Without question, the widespread police brutality and abuse, both in Ferguson, Mo., and around the country, has elevated the consciousness of young people across America. But many others still are laboring on the illusion that we are living in a post-racial nation following the election of President Barack Obama.
teach the babies
These are some of them, most were golden retrivers and labradors, but also included german shepherds and other breeds. Sadly most are dead now, while many people forget them and don’t spare them a thought.
As people lay dying, trapped and hurt, a team of nearly 100 loyal and courageous search dogs put their lives on the line to help humans. Without them, many more would not have survived, yet few people consider them.
In such a chaotic, terrifying, hot, acrid-smelling, smokey and loud environment, countless human lives depended on their ability to focus, listen, respond to their handlers, and work tirelessly. Stepping over cracked glass, hot tarmac, through flames and thick smoke, being winched over deep ravines, they battled on to seek out survivors and bring them aid.
They worked around the clock, day and night, searching, sniffing, over and over. Not only did they search, but they comforted - many eyewitnesses speak of how the dogs would stop and sit by newly-recovered victims, giving them a sense of hope and relief, before moving on to look for the next. As the situation became desperate, and the rescue workers and fire teams became utterly distraught at the amount of people who were recovered dead, these dogs brought them comfort, sitting with them on breaks, letting them grieve.
Many of these dogs are old, and have passed away. Let us remember the courage and loyalty they showed at such a horrendous event. They didn’t have a choice, but nonetheless they did what was asked of them and helped save countless lives. Don’t let their bravery be forgotten today either, or their determination to be a ‘good dog’ despite the scary and dangerous environment around them.
And let’s not forget that these dogs actually became depressed when they kept finding dead bodies; they thought they were failing to save people. The workers helping had to hide in the ruble just to let the dogs find a living person and lift their spirits.We gave our dogs a button to sniff,or a tissue, and they bounded offconfident in their training,in the power of their sensesto recreate the body,but after eighteen hours in rubblewhere even steel was pulverizedthey curled on themselvesand stared up at usand in their soft huge eyeswe saw mirrored the longing for death:then we had to beg a strangerto be a victim and crouchbehind a girder, and let the dogsdiscover him and tug himproudly, with suppressed yaps,back to Command and the rowsof empty triage tables.But who will hide from us?Who will keep digging for ushere in the cloud of ashes?—“Searchers” by D. Nurske
"So many people think that practicing an art is a good way to make a living. Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven’s sake. I’m talking about singing in the shower, I’m talking about dancing to the radio, I’m talking about writing a poem to a friend."
—Kurt Vonnegut (via liquidlightandrunningtrees)