It is a generally acknowledged truth that help in a common sense represents one of the greatest contributions to our planet’s universal happiness. Especially nowadays, with the numerous opportunities for voluntary work and practising good deeds seeming to be as seizable as never before. With the echoing dominance of media, sensitisation, and donation appeals, it seems that these are no longer solely accessible for the mindfully engaged among us; and yet, quite frankly we rarely assimilate the given information, not to mention react actively as a consequence. Perhaps, we have already reached the desperate point where even a cry for help is absorbed as a monotonous and trifling tape of information; reaching compassion in our passive mind would be more beneficial than a committed and active will-power.

Being guilty myself of this passiveness, my aim is certainly not to act as some reproaching moraliser. However, I want to share a story that has not only given me an insight into the broad spectrum of needed help, but also reveals how easy it can be to alleviate someone’s worries and pain.

What most people among us are not aware of is that helping to mend somebody’s life does not necessarily involve making donations. Thus, my help resulted in saving the lovely Aghi from starvation, and placing her in a warm-hearted and caring family. Aghi is a dog, found as a gaunt and spiritless creature in a bay of a Greek Island. Discovered by animal rights activists, she was taken into a shelter where she progressively recovered and regained her dog spirits. However, this place was only a temporary solution, with two main hurdles still to overcome: finding a permanent adoptive family, and, consequently, a means of transporting Aghi to her final destination.

After several weeks of spreading ads through social media and invoking help, the animal rights activists eventually succeeded in finding a family for Aghi. In agreement to all the entry requirements for pets, which according to the UK request that the dog is microchipped, vaccinated against rabies, tapeworm treated, and in possession of a pet passport, the last remaining impediment represented the dog’s journey to the designated family in Germany. This is precisely where a friend’s and my help intervened.

Apart from lifting the pet’s box, the check-in, drop-off, passport carrying, and the reclaim of the box, this all constitutes a necessary aspect of hauling a pet over a country’s border. Flugpate is the German term referring to this kind of animal-friendly support. Based on my experience, the responsible animal rights activists take care of all the tax costs, meaning practically only passport and box carrier are the tasks of the Flugpate. In that regard, this voluntary deed is perfectly combinable with your holidays, it theoretically only encourages you to think about one more luggage. As plain as the procedure is, it still represents a vital part to achieving the final goal.

Opposing views might claim that one should remain critical, as shady reports, in relation to drug dealing business, reveal the most filthy ways in which they might operate, such as the involvement of pets. Retaining a critical mind should certainly be a lifelong prerequisite, although too much scepticism will never lead to success.

Thus, why get involved as a Flugpate? Clearly, selfish individualism plays a leading role in our current society, and people are less likely to get active unless they are taking something from it, preferably some paper proof, a moralistic looking picture, or a certificate decorating their curriculum vitae. However, are not the benefits we grant to somebody else more valuable and persistent than the ones designated to ourselves?

First, it is not only an outstanding opportunity for all the dog lovers out there, but also an occasion for supporting and motivating the animal rights activists, rendering them a valuable reason to continue with their projects. And finally, this experience should be an inspiration for everyone to explore their altruism, because nothing feels more authentic than a grateful smile… or a wet, healthy nose shove.



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