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Discovering the Beauty of Giving: My Journey with the Animal Rescue League of Iowa

ARL Giving

January 17, 2024

Header image from Animal Rescue League of Iowa.

The streets back in my hometown were usually a distressing sight, marked by the presence of abandoned animals, looking for refuge in the middle of a world that seems indifferent. The revelation of an organization like the Animal Rescue League (ARL) has been nothing short of a metamorphosis experience. However, beyond the initial astonishment at their compassionate efforts, the unveiling of the ARL's expanded facilities, volunteers and community integration gave way to a realization: the act of giving is as, if not more, beautiful than receiving.

ARL New Facility Unveiling in Greater Des Moines

This updated facility represents far more than mere bricks. It embodies a shared vision, amplifying the space and resources available to aid rescued animals. I’m so pleased to have discovered the ARL through the Greater Des Moines Partnership’s Fellowship Program because it is one of my favorite things to do now: go, see and help.

This larger space allows for additional services, enhanced veterinary facilities, dedicated spaces for behavioral training and specialized areas for animal rehabilitation. These are all now part of the ARL's repertoire and the services go beyond mere sheltering. The aim is to holistically address the needs of rescued animals, increasing their chances of finding loving forever homes.

This monumental step forward underscores the progress made in advocating for animal rights and well-being. It serves as an inspiration, illustrating that with collective effort and determination, positive change can be realized, and the lives of countless animals can be significantly improved.

Through my journey with the ARL, I learned that giving is an exquisite form of receiving — a treasure trove of emotions, connections and a profound sense of purpose. The experience reshaped my outlook, emphasizing that the joy of giving far surpasses the joy of receiving. It instilled in me a newfound appreciation for the beauty of compassion, empathy and selfless action.

In conclusion, thank you to The Partnership, thank you to Des Moines, and thank you to the ARL and many donors who have made the new facility possible. This journey has illuminated the power of giving and reshaped my beliefs, demonstrating that true beauty lies not just in receiving kindness but in embodying it and extending it to others, especially the voiceless beings who rely on our compassion. I encourage everyone to seek similar experiences, for in the act of giving, we discover an immeasurable beauty that enriches not only the lives of others, but our own as well.

To check out events or other volunteering opportunities, visit ARL-Iowa.org/Events to see the full event calendar.

Looking for opportunities as a young professional in Greater Des Moines (DSM)? The DSM Fellowship Program is the preeminent professional development initiative attracting, developing and retaining a diverse community of top-tier graduates to the region. You can also connect with other young professionals and emerging leaders through Young Professionals Connection (YPC) events and committees.

Leonardo Perez

Born, raised and educated in the Dominican Republic, Leonardo Perez lived for a short time in Puerto Rico with his wife and kids, came to Iowa in 2018 after hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico and works here in Iowa as a software engineer at John Deere Financial.