No matter who you are, you have exactly what it takes to spread kindness all over the place. You don't have to be perfect. You don't have to have gobs of money. You don't even have to have a lot of time. The Beatles were right. All you need is love.
Perhaps you don't think anyone wants a friend like you because you're not perfect. I know exactly how you feel. I have a missing tooth and my breath smells like fish. Sometimes I bark at people for no reason. One time I picked a fight with a very nice Golden Retriever just because I felt like it. I have shoplifted treats from a pet store. I'm ashamed to tell you what I did to a squirrel. You might think that nobody would be interested in having a friend like me, but the truth is that people love me even more when they find out that I'm imperfect—because they are imperfect too.
Maybe you think you can't afford to give someone the gift of kindness. I can relate to being strapped for cash because I'm just a dog. I spend most of my allowance each month on essential things like food and poop bags. One time I wanted to take valentine gifts to a couple of dogs that lived at a domestic abuse shelter, but I was flat broke. As luck would have it, my grandma sent me some money to use to 'do something nice for somebody.' I couldn't believe it! I bought two dog biscuits at the local feed store for 31 cents. Then my mom helped me tie a red ribbon around each of them. It doesn't take a lot of money to make someone feel special.
Is it hard for you to find time to do a kind deed? I understand completely. I used to have quite a bit of free time before I became a pawthor and published my autobiDOGraphy. Nowadays I spend a lot of time doing book signings, answering e-mails, and updating my website. I don't have a lot of time in my busy schedule to visit nursing homes or children's hospitals, which actually works out fine since I failed out of the therapy dog program anyway. These days I'll carve out 15 minutes here and there to make a card for a soldier or a child battling cancer. I usually make the cards out of construction paper, and then I write a short message and sign it with my paw print. (If sending 'happy mail' is something you'd like to do, check out www.HugsAndHope.org and connect with terminally ill children who need cheering up.) It's amazing how spending just a few minutes to send a card can really make a person feel special.
It doesn't take much to make somebody feel special. Sometimes all you need is 15 minutes and 31 cents. The smallest act of kindness can make somebody smile for a long time.
Chipper is a therapy dog dropout and author who lives in Bailey, Colorado. Her autobiDOGraphy, which teaches that you don't have to be perfect to make a difference, has been featured in American Dog Magazine and Mile High Dog. To learn more about Chipper, visit www.ChippersFriends.com and follow her on Facebook: www.facebook.com/ChippersFriends .