ARNO is a no kill shelter that houses dogs and cats. I began the day by walking the small dogs. I was surprised to find how well behaved and kind-hearted the dogs were. It was very relaxing to walk them up and down the street, even while having to clean up behind them. After a quick lunch break we were back to work and this time it was kennel cleaning time. Anthony and I volunteered to clean the feral dogs kennels. Though the work was dirty, the results felt good. When we finished, the leader of the center showed us two of the feral dogs that were brothers. She was working with them to get them acquainted to humans. Though one dog was still very afraid, and would shake if you entered its cage, it's brother would bark and get in your face. The lead took in some treats and sat down with him. We watched as she broke off a piece, stuck it partially in her own mouth, and the dog would gently take it from her and eat it. It really showed us how dedicated the workers there are to making sure these animals have a bright future. With the little time we had left at the shelter, I got the chance to meet Buttons: the cutest little puppy you could ever meet. He was full of love and was so willing to share; I may have made a plan to sneak him back to Minnesota...
After a filling spaghetti dinner, it was time for a slam poetry event. We are fortunate to have a Hamline alumni right here in New Orleans who is a slam poet, and he organized a slam event just for us. The many poets that performed were full of energy and life. They opened their hearts and told us all about their stories and struggles. These were people that genuinely cared about each other and making the world a better place for others going through similar things. After the performance many of them stayed after to talk to us and get to know us better. The artists were very down-to-earth and humble.
Overall, I cannot believe how well this trip is going. Yes, there have been bumps in the road, but we have come back from them with such grace, and they have only brought us closer together. I believe we show how much of a difference you can make when you put your differences aside and work toward a common goal, such as helping those in need.