On that hot Tuesday morning of June 7th, I never expected to be digging a grave. However during that time, I learned many things about the earth, the animals, and myself. On the top surface of the earth, we cover dirt with various materials such as grass, concrete, sand, etc, yet we are just masking dirt. Dirt in its purest form builds, attracts, and sustains life. Then why do we insist on laying it? I understand that there is a saying that, “all flesh is grass,” but I like to think of us truly as dirt.
As I was digging a grave for a goat named Luigi and a chinchilla named Jesse, I realized that I have never truly contributed back to the environment like I did this week. My efforts have always been material or at face-value. There was never any substance to my work. At SC C.A.R.E.S. I truly believe I was making a difference.
When building a wall for turtles, renovating a sanctuary for wolves, or simply shoveling a grave, I was slowly digging away at my materialistic views and transcending my naive perspective.
As sad as creating a resting place for these animals were, they really taught me to value of life. Luigi and Jesse’s grave were alongside a hundred or so other animals and that was really disappointing to see. Skip and Cindy, the owners, have a real compassion for these animals, so I was glad to contribute in any way I could.
Through Austin Peay State University, I learned that teamwork is essential when completing a goal. After completing a communication theory course, I utilized various skills when communicating to both animals and humans. We were persistent and driven to help out Skip and Cindy where ever they need it.
I will be forever grateful for this experience, and I encourage anyone that wants to be involved with SC C.A.R.E.S. to donate or volunteer. Incredible work is being done for the wildlife in South Carolina and any contribution would be helpful.
Aristeo S. Ruiz
Austin Peay State University