Thursday, September 13, 2012

Go ahead and judge

I have been doing dog rescue work for a long time. I can't even begin to guess the actual years- and frankly my head hurts so I can't. But a long time. Years. I started with a small rescue, and did adoptions, and then intake, and then adoptions and intake and everything in between. Personal differences made me leave. Fast foward to a year later and a few like minded people get this great idea to start up a new rescue. It will be nothing like before. I was in with two feet and all heart.

And now I am broken. Done.

Rescue is not just a thing I do in my spare time. It consumes me. I worry about the dogs in our care, and I worry about the dogs I've had to say no to. And it isn't only the dogs you have to worry about. People. People are not my cup of tea. I am not a people person. People stress me out. People are unpredictable. And People are mean.

Despite the mean people, and general difficulties of dealing with dogs that people throw away- I love it. It means so much to me to see the happy endings. I can recall most of my own foster dogs adoptions. What we do matters. And it matters big time. To the dogs, and the people who love them. I am passionate about it. I will force spay and neuter down your throat any chance I get. I will flag every kijiji ad I see that looks like it could be a mill, or someone looking for a stud. And I will educate people in what I belive in at any moment. I believe that all dogs deserve love. And a chance at a happy ending. I have had some pretty amazing dogs come through my house and my heart. Each of them shared a lesson before heading to their next stop.

In this particular group I am so grateful for the core bunch of girls, and the few amazing foster homes we have. The foster homes who put up with crap (sometimes literally), down to the gal who checks the phone line. The people who understand about patience and understanding I can't jump the second you say so. We do have some great people. We are lucky.

Rescue has a way of opening your eyes to what is really important. Most of my adopters aren't sports people. They are people looking for a buddy. Someone to lay on the couch with. Someone to be there when they get home. Someone to play with their kids. They love the dog for who they are, not what they could be. And I will take that lesson with me wherever I go.

Last week I helped a devastated woman make the decision to euthanise a dog she loved. He was a hard case- a dog who had suffered trauma his whole short life. He bit someone badly. His unpredictable behaviour was escalating. And for that he payed the ultimate price. But he died in the arms of someone who loved him. Me. His owner could not. So I did. I held him and told him he was wonderful and that we all loved him. It was incredibly sad. Heartbreaing. And then a war of words erupted. Threats, phone calls, emails, facebook. Full of very angry people. How dare we murder this poor dog. It was exhausting, and awful. We were blamed. Even though it came down to the owners decision. We stood by her- and took the beating so to speak. I am barely recovered from that and tonite more drama.

This time over an adoption fee. It is so freaking trivial I cannot even believe that this is what has brought the mighty amanda down. A foster home who wants a deal. On a dog that cost us $3500. A dog that we took out of the shelter because she failed their temperament test. A dog that we then had to repair a cruciate on. A dog that has been sitting in a foster to adopt, or maybe not, or maybe we will home for about four months. They don't want to pay. Because they bought some food when they couldn't be bothered to email and ask for some. Our adoption fee is $300. Not that much in the whole scheme of things. Worth a fight even? No, not really. The guy was just willing to give the dog back. But a friend of his is mad. Like pointing finger, and harsh words mad. I'm sorry but the judging of things you know nothing about. That is worth an argument. I couldn't help it. I replied. In a not very professional way. It was innappropriate really. But does it really matter at this point? No. Because I am done. We are done. We will take care of the dogs we have. But no more. I am tired. I can't fight anymore. It is too hard.

Instead I will help dogs one at a time when I can. In an unofficial way, which will be more expensive, and more time consuming. But easier. The only person I'll have to talk to is myself. lol. It will be so hard to say goodbye when that last Windy City dog is adopted. Knowing we are leaving a hole in our community. But a person can only take so much. I say good luck to the next group who wants to step up. Walk a mile in my shoes and then judge me.

I am a strong person. But inside I am just like anyone else. Made of blood, and sweat and tears.

Edited to Add:

Maybe I'm being overly sensitive. Maybe I'll feel better in the morning. Maybe for once my inbox will be empty in the morning. 


andrea said...

How distressing .. one of these would be bad enough but two so close together is brutal ...
Hang in there and really rethink if you are done or if you could simply do an intake break and give yourself some time ... fosters wanting a free adoption is understandable in many ways ... and the rescue needing the fee is also totally right ... maybe on the formal foster contract have the bit about they still pay XX adoption fee in bold? (We actually usually do a donation instead of fee- many of our foster homes donate more than the fee) Of course they still sign the adoption contract.
Don't walk away too quickly - regroup, assess make changes ... but, if you are anything like me, your heart needs rescue - not as much as the rescues need you - but still it's in your blood. Take your time.
Hang in there

Cindy said...

I'm so sorry to hear that your gift to those many dogs, was ruined by a person(s) who are more concerned with themselves then the actual animal.

The greatest gift and hardest thing for a rescue person to do is to put a dog down. No one can understand that until they are in your shoes-I do and wish I was close enough to offer a real hug.

Thank you for all you have done for the dogs. Your passion is great and many more will be saved and loved because of you.


penni said...

No good deed goes unpunished. I am so sorry, Amanda. There are foolish people out there, and stupid people, and mean people, BUT there are great, kind, and caring people as well. Balance them out when you are able.

Tammy Taylor said...

Just sending a hug...take some time, I think you really needed.

I do not know any more than what you have posted but what you have posted this year has been full of changes and strong emotion. Lots for a person to handle.

onecollie said...

wish I could help, but I am weak, I can't do what you do everyday.
You are a born leader Amanda, whether you want the job or not, you are the one people go to for advice & help with difficult things, people forget that you have a life too.
sorry you have so much shit to deal with.

K9 Chaos said...

I work in rescue too and I totally know what you are talking about. And about the aggressive dog...I have been there too. Some dogs you just can't fix no matter how hard you try. Don't feel bad about taking a break (or about the dog you couldn't fix..I know personally that this is easier said than done). Rescue work can tear you up and spit you out....sometimes all we need is a break to build ourselves back up so we can go at again! =) Take Care!

^..^Corgidogmama said...

This was beautifully written and so heartfelt, I teared up while reading your words, feeling your frustration and pain... described so well.
Your efforts and the group's efforts have given dogs homes and love and understanding that without you or the group, would never have known any of these things.
Bless your heart for caring so much about our four legged friends.

oddman said...

Would actually hug you, but I know you too well. :))

Here's a huge virtual 'HUG' from me, and a big sloppy kiss from Andre too.

You are an awesome person! I admire you so much, and support you, in all your decisions. You'll figure out what will work best for you.


James said...

Hi – Will you please post a link to your Blog at The Dog Community at Our members will love it.
Members include: Dog Owners, Breeders, Trainers, Rescues and Lovers.
It's easy to do, just cut and paste the link and it automatically links back to your website...
You can also add Photos, Videos, Rescues and Classifieds if you like.
Email me if you need any help or would like me to do it for you.
The Dog Community:
James Kaufman, Editor

Chantelle said...

Hi there,

Came across you post randomly and I must say that how you are feeling right now, and wht you are going thorough, is heartbreaking.

For someone who only wants to make a difference in the life of a dog, and to be treated with such disrespect, is very sad.

You and I actyually sound a lot alike (minus the operating a rescue part). There are two quotes I have hung up on my wall over my computer; they help me get through the tough days and I hope they help you...

“A successful man is one who can lay a firm foundation with the bricks that others throw at him.”
~Sidney Greenberg


”When you come to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on.”
~Franklin D. Roosevelt

Do whatever is going to make you happiest, best of luck.


I need orange said...

I, too, am involved in rescue. When we run up against mean people and stupid people and whacko people, I'm always thrown for a loop.

Then I remember -- if there weren't mean people and stupid people and whacko people, there wouldn't be hardly any dogs in rescue in the first place....

I don't think it excuses the people who are supposedly good guys who are stupid/mean/whacko, but I am reminded that SO many people are stupid/mean/whacko that it is obvious that such people will be on both sides of the rescue fence.


As for putting down the dog -- some people think every problem is soluble, and that you are not giving enough when you are forced to act on the realization that the problem before you is not one that has a good solution.

Those people are just wrong.

And for them to abuse you for the sad reality that that dog had insoluble problems, well, see the above: mean/stupid/whacko.......

Sending you much sympathy. Apologizing, on behalf of humanity, for the plain cold fact that there are so many stupid mean whackos amongst us.