Before I share my awesome experience at peta2, I’d like to tell you a little about myself. A long story short: Because of complications at birth, I have a C1-C2 incomplete spinal cord injury. I cherish every day that I live. If my injury had been a complete instead of incomplete, I would be paralyzed from the neck down. Fortunately, I’m not paralyzed at all, but because I have been in a chair my whole life, I have automatically been judged and labeled. Therefore, I have been prevented from doing a lot of things, but I’ve never let people get me down or stop me from doing the things I want to accomplish. I have never asked, “Why has this happened to me?” I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason. I will say that I have asked, “What is my purpose here?” Fortunately, peta2 has given me the answer.
I have never asked, ‘Why has this happened to me?’ I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason.
A peta2 staffer said, ‘Well, we accept you here.’ It was exactly what I needed to hear.
When I was 16, I visited peta2.com and watched “Glass Walls,” in which Paul McCartney says, “If slaughterhouses had glass walls, everyone would be vegetarian.” Right before my 21st birthday, my wonderful mom gave me the idea to volunteer at peta2. The next day, I went in and filled out some paperwork. You can imagine my shock when I was asked to start volunteering that day—I was ecstatic! I had tried to work and volunteer at many local animal shelters but would never hear back from them. I was scared of getting the same reaction from peta2, scared I wouldn’t be accepted for who I am. Once I got here, a peta2 staffer said, “Well, we accept you here.” It was exactly what I needed to hear. From there on out, I couldn’t put into words how welcomed I felt at peta2.
After less than two weeks of volunteering, I was offered a paid internship as a part-time receptionist. I was overwhelmed with happiness. Since I’ve been here, I’ve had many great experiences:
- Answering the phones—we get up to 100 calls a day!
- Helping the staff in any way possible—which I am more than happy to do!
- Meeting Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA’s beautiful president
- Going out with PETA’s wonderful Community Animal Project—I visited dogs who’ve known only life on a chain outside. We gave these sweethearts food, water, straw for warmth, and, of course, lots of love!
When I was younger, I LOVED animal-rescue shows. I would tell myself, “I’m going to do that when I get older!” but thought I physically couldn’t. I still watched the shows and pictured myself saving all the animals. Good thing I did. Now peta2 has made my dreams a reality!
Thank you to everyone I have met at PETA. No matter where my life journey takes me, you all will forever have a place in my heart. ♥
Do you want to help animals like Ashleigh has?