I have trouble keeping my fingers at the keyboard this time of year when coffee and my mother’s Christmas fudge are sitting on the plate beside me.

I have trouble keeping my fingers at the keyboard this time of year when coffee and my mother’s Christmas fudge are sitting on the plate beside me.

The kids, the grandkids and all their dogs have packed up and gone home, as we waved good-bye. The house looks like a disaster zone, but proof of a very good time had by all. Eleven people and just as many dogs filled the house to overflowing. Yes, my children inherited my love for dogs, so everyone has one or two or three.   

In the quiet aftermath I always become reflective. 2012 has come and gone. What a year! My mind did a slideshow. I saw faces of so many animals that have touched our hearts, of adoption and fundraising events, and so many incredible people I have had the privilege of getting to know and work with. My thoughts then turned toward 2013 and what lies ahead for Faithful Friends Animal Advocates. In January we will have our annual planning retreat, assessing the year and setting new goals for 2013. We will keep putting one foot in front of the other, working hard, educating, soliciting community support, planning new fund-raising and saving lives. 

By next Christmas we should have opened our doors to our new adoption center. What a mind blowing thought! It makes my head spin a little, but then I begin to imagine how wonderful it will be to have such a badly needed facility and how many more precious lives we will be able to save. We hope our community is as excited as we are and understands we are serious about making this adoption center a place known far and wide for being a top-notch, life-saving and wonderful place to adopt a pet for years and years to come, a long time after I’m dead and gone. 

It seems that this is a time to re-affirm who we are, what we are doing, where we are going and why. We have not been “playing” at this. This is not an organization that is going to go “belly-up,” give up, lose interest, chicken out, be intimidated, shrink back, compromise our beliefs, or allow corruption in our ranks. I have never worked with a more dedicated group of people who are determined not to betray the animals that so desperately need our help and our voice. That is what unites us. At every meeting I marvel at the diverse group sitting around the table. I am so proud to be associated with this group of people. We each have strong personalities or we could not be involved. This business is not for the faint of heart. Respectful disagreements and lively discussion are always part of our meetings. But there is always a uniting spirit that prevails; knowing we have the same heart, same goals and we are on the same team. Each person brings to the table wide variations in experience, education, talent and vocation which produce a wealth of ideas and resources. The combination has proved very productive and also provides a natural system of checks and balances. We do not pretend to have all the answers to the challenges that lie ahead in 2013 but we have dedicated ourselves to education that produces wisdom in how to proceed. The resources for help and direction with our rescue work and our adoption center are unlimited. We are not afraid to say “we don’t know” but we won’t leave it at that. 

All we do is for the sake of puppies like Mallori, who’s Christmas present was being abandoned out by Crowder College (possibly on Christmas Day)! During my after Christmas clean-up this morning a friend called to say he’d taken his dogs for a run over by Crowder College nature trails and found a blue merle puppy hungry, thirsty and shivering in the sub-freezing temperatures. She must have had a terrifying night. This beautiful puppy will be safe and warm tonight here with us. I just got a big “thank-you” slurp on the cheek! I send Mallori’s “thank you” out to all of you than ever in 2013! (Consider yourself slurped!)

Leanne Williams is president of Faithful Friends Animal Advocates.