Awhile back, I adopted a dog from a local shelter.
The “Before” photo is one that the shelter posted to Facebook when he was first found wandering loose. When efforts to locate his owners failed, a local groomer saw the photo and offered to clean him up–free of charge–in the hopes that someone would be likelier to adopt him.
When the staff apprised her that I’d already met the dog and agreed to take him home, the groomer said she’d give him a complimentary makeover all the same. And, she did just that–a few hours before I arrived–so that he was ready to go when I picked him up.
What struck me most about the experience was the number of parties impacted by the groomer’s efforts. I can’t be certain what goes on in a dog’s mind, but he seems ecstatic about being clean. Moreover, it’s probably easier for the shelter to find homes for tidy-looking dogs than bedraggled ones. Plus, it eliminated one of the errands (and expenses) on my end, which is particularly helpful in the midst of a string of vet visits and pet store runs. Lastly, it may help the groomer in an indirect way, as I called three people within an hour of picking up the dog raving about her thoughtfulness.
Later, I wrote the groomer to relay my thanks and the epiphany she’d inspired for me. In her reply, she noted that–in 20 years of grooming strays–this was the first time anyone had thanked her.
Her reply was remarkable in two ways:
#1. I can’t believe no one had ever written her before. I suppose it’s possible folks don’t know. Perhaps they assume the shelter has a groomer on staff or that the adoption fees cover the cost of a visiting groomer. I want to assume that it’s just an oversight. But, still, it’s hard to imagine.
#2. What’s harder to believe is that she kept on giving her time for two decades without any acknowledgment. Presumably, the dogs appreciate it. But, still, that’s a long time to put in work that goes unrecognized.
I was just completely in awe–of her effort, of her perseverance, and the rest.
Plus, my dog emerged from his time with her lighter in both appearance and spirit. (As proof, check out his After picture.)
All of this left me wondering where–like the groomer–I could put my resources to use in a way that makes the largest impact. After some mulling, I started putting together a benefit album highlighting some of the bands with whom I’ve wanted to work–but haven’t been able to find the right project.
On my end, it was fairly simple to arrange, as I’ve already put together a variety of compilations for this site. For the artists involved, the album creates an opportunity to reach a new audience. Lastly, all profit from the album will go to charity–helping a handful of organizations that provide aid to communities impacted by natural disasters, famine, and the like.
You can pick up a copy of the finished 14 song compilation–The Road Ahead–below for $10. I hope that you love it, and–if you don’t–I hope that you write me for a refund. (My contact info will appear on your email receipt in case you need to reach me. And, I don’t want to you to hesitate to ask for your money back just because this is a charity project. In following the groomer’s example above, I want this to feel like a win for everyone involved–the bands, charities, and listeners alike. So, if the album doesn’t keep your interest, please let me know.)
On the whole, I’m looking for a way to showcase some of the music for which I’ve been seeking an outlet, while raising money to help folks who–like my four-legged housemate–found themselves laid up by forces beyond their control.
If you can get behind that, you can pick up a copy of The Road Ahead here.