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Are You Ready to Help When Others Need You?

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Are You Ready to Help When Others Need You?

Many of you wrote to me last week about my article on Random Acts of Kindness. Most people agreed that it is the “doer” of the good deed who reaps the most benefit. One reader remarked that when we are supposed to do something and don’t, it weighs heavily on us. I started paying more attention to areas where I can help because of a terribly painful experience when I chose not to help.

It was this tragedy that woke me up to the realization that I don’t have to save the world, I just need to act when something comes across my path. Choosing to ignore helping someone because it is inconvenient will weigh heavily on us for the rest of our lives. This is what happened to me. The searing pain of living with the knowledge that I could have saved a little innocent kitten, but walked away instead, has always haunted me. But it also changed the course of my life.

About 25 years ago, I went along with my sister to visit her friend’s pottery studio in the coastal town of Half Moon Bay where I lived. On the fence was an abandoned kitten, sneezing and shivering. My sister’s friend said she was hoping someone would come along and take care of her. I secretly wondered why she wasn’t taking her in but didn’t know her well enough to suggest the possibility.

Being a life-long lover of cats, I yearned to take her. The resistance I had came from my (former) husband who was allergic to, and hated cats — always a bone of contention between us. In those days I was a total people-pleaser, afraid of rocking the boat in my already rocky marriage. Feeling horribly torn but too spineless to do what I knew was right, I walked away.

The searing guilt of not having taken the kitten tore me up inside.  I prayed continually that someone else would come along to help, trying to justify to myself my “impossible” situation. I finally called my sister and asked if she knew anything about the kitten. She told me that her friend called and said that it had crawled up into a truck engine that night to get warm and suffered a gruesome death the next day.

The news hit me like a body blow. How could this happen?, I railed at the universe. Why didn’t you send someone to help? I then heard the answer loud and clear, “I did send someone, and it was you.” It was for me to do, and I walked away. And because of my cowardice she was dead.

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Read more: Guidance, Inspiration, Pets, Spirit, , , , , , , ,

By Erica Sofrina

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Erica Sofrina

Erica Sofrina is an Internationally recognized Speaker and Teacher and Author of the book Small Changes, Dynamic Results! Feng Shui for the Western World. She is also a life coach and motivational speaker and is the founder of the West Coast Academy of Feng Shui. She has run a successful business as a Professional Organizer, Interior Designer and Certified Feng Shui Consultant for over a decade and resides on the charming coastal town of Half Moon Bay in Northern California. Find out more at


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7:47AM PDT on May 23, 2013

I hope there will come a time when I can depend on myself to do the right thing. I am very bad with anything that requires assertiveness. I think I will continue to be that way, and I am not exactly promising that I will change that. But for where I am emotionally at this time, my goal is to keep doing good things in the future rather than figuring I am a lost cause & not even trying any more.

8:35AM PDT on May 22, 2013

Thanks for saving the puppy and all other animals.

10:05AM PDT on May 1, 2013

thanks for sharing :)

6:16AM PDT on Apr 5, 2013

YES! Me and older sister, we are willingly to sacrifice our time to help helpless stray animals that need us.
I mean,there are many other people who are doing this also. So we can see that after all, there are tens of millions good and kind-hearted people in this world!

10:23AM PDT on Mar 29, 2013

What a beautiful story, thanks Erica.

4:10PM PDT on Mar 27, 2013

Thank you for this important, sad, happy, touching story. I can really understand why the little puppy loved you so much!

11:01PM PDT on Mar 25, 2013

Thank you to all for your wonderful comments and insights. I read every one and appreciate all of you who take the time to share your thoughts. I know some made comments that they wish the story had been about a human I had helped, I do have many that are about people. I posted one last week. You can read these at

I am happy to say I ran into the woman who took the puppy a few years later. She said she took it home to her parents house, they had three other dogs and this one was supposed to be hers, but her father loved it so much that she gave it to him and it became his number one dog. As to his proclivity for humping everything in sight, well.....I didn't find out how that ended.

2:52PM PDT on Mar 25, 2013

thank you, I will try to keep this in mind.

1:41AM PDT on Mar 25, 2013

We have all been in a situation like the one you describe, and we've probably all failed to act in those few seconds. You are right, you can't save the world, you can only do what you can do, and that has to be enough. Thank you for sharing your story, Erica :)

5:08PM PDT on Mar 24, 2013

Thank you for sharing your story, you certainly did right thing the second time around!!

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