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.