What would I do with a million dollars?

Now that I’m a good ways into my thirties, it often occurs to me that I don’t know what I want to be when I grow up.  I think that the best way to figure out what one should do with their life, one should ask what they would do with unlimited resources.  When you think about it, your true passion comes out.

If I won the lottery and had all the money I could ask for, what would I do?

Of course, the first thing I would do is establish a nice firm foundation for my family.  This means houses and college funds.  I would make sure that my parents, my sister and her kids, and my kids wanted for nothing.  My husband also has a list of family members he would have sitting pretty before focusing on more selfish goals.  This is not an exclusive list.  I am sure there are other loved ones we would lend a hand to where possible, but I digress.

Once I’m sure those closest to me are settled, I would then focus on my true passion.  I want to take care of animals.  I thought about being a vet when I was younger, but made up a bunch of reasons why I would never be good at it and changed direction.  (This is a running theme in my life.  I’m not sure it’ll ever change.)

The biggest problem facing the pets of this world is over-population.  Animal shelters kill unwanted pets every single day.  Cats and dogs go to shelters to spend the last few days of their short lives cowering in cages, sleeping in their own excrement, scared and alone.  Then they take their last walk to whatever room, to die by whichever means.

It is simply unimaginable.

A man can commit a heinous crime and get sent to prison where he has a bed, a toilet, three square meals a day, free medical care, daily exercise, fresh air, and visiting hours.  A pet can come into the world, love his master unconditionally, and be sentenced to living the remaining days of his life in filth, sleeping on a floor, only to be gassed at the end of the week, never having had a visitor, or a kind word.  His crime?  Being a baby.  Doing what babies do.

In my eyes, this system is screwed up.  Most animals are good people, if they were to be judged by the same standards by which we judge people.  Well, dogs are anyway.  Cats just ask to be left alone–unless they want your attention, in which case, you better give it to them…

So, when I grow up and win the lottery, I want to save animals.  This starts by sterilizing them.  All of them.  If I had unlimited resources, I would open a no-kill shelter, and hire vets to sterilize all the animals that come in.  Not only would they spay and neuter the shelter animals at no cost to anyone, they would also spay and neuter pets at no cost to the pet owners.

I might also figure out a way to make spaying and neutering more affordable across the country, not only in my shelter.  I could start by looking at the costs incurred by those procedures.  I believe the greatest costs are the medicines used to sedate the animals and manage pain following the procedure.  If I had unlimited funds, I would buy the company that makes those drugs, and supply them free of charge to vets across the country.  I would turn it into a non-profit and hold fund-raisers.  Animal advocates everywhere would help me raise money to make spaying and neutering a free service, something that all pet owners could have unlimited access to.  The government would give the company grants, instead of pumping the money into shelters that kill the animals.

Doing all of that would have other benefits. Vets would have fewer costs, and might be able to lower charges for other procedures requiring the surgical drugs.  Animal owners would stop letting their pets have unwanted litters.  The cost of owning a pet would be lower, allowing more people to own pets, helping to give homes to more homeless pets.  Government money that now goes into euthanizing healthy animals could go to supplementing the care of animals, allowing pet owners to take better care of their pets.  Vets with lower costs and more clients could hire more help, creating more jobs.  (Okay, now I’m getting a little optimistic.  But seriously, what if?)

If I had my own shelter, I would be able to help all the homeless animals in my community.  I could help control the feral cat populations and implement TNR (trap/neuter/release) programs across my state.  I would have open outdoor sanctuaries for cats, both tame and feral.  I would make sure the dogs had adequate space to run and play together, or alone, depending on temperament.

If only I had all the money in the world.  It’s only too bad I can’t find the motivation to make a million dollars.  My husband says we need to start playing the lottery more.  So, here’s to winning the lottery!


What would you do?  What is your passion?


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