I feel so compelled to share the encounter I had with a young man from India while at this year’s Jacksonville Beach Oktoberfest. Have you ever met someone and had a conversation you couldn’t stop thinking about? I never expected that to happen to me at an event that was beer focused and full of Halloween festivities.

This inspiring individual entered my booth and caught me off guard. He began by asking me what so many others asked, “What is it that you do?” I of course grabbed my flyer and shared with him my vision and mission to be a humane educator creating compassion for people, animals, and the environment. And his reply was, “Why?” “Why would you do such a thing?” I then asked him why he asked such a question, thinking you never answer a question with a question, but something told me he was looking for answers.

He proceeded to tell me that he is from India and his dad is a veterinarian. While visiting our fine city he observed that no animals are running free. He continued to share that he noticed if an animal is roaming at large someone seems to take the time to stop and pick them up and find a caregiver or home for them. In India animals (pets, dogs and cats) run free and no one cares for them. There is a distinct difference between a “house” pet and an animal that lives on the street and you never combine the two. My booth was focused on cats and he shared that cats are not even looked upon as a pet, but more of a nuisance.

As I continued to speak with this man, he expressed his awe in how much people care for animals here (in our Nation) and how we go to greater lengths to not only help, but to educate in efforts of change. I don’t even know this fellows name. I just know that he shared with me insight into a world of animal and people compassion that I didn’t know existed. Spreading compassion is a global need and that young fellow from India captivated me to never give up on the commitment in my heart.