Thursday, October 25, 2012

On Letting Go

Piper, just one of many dogs I have loved.
I prefer the term "letting go" over quitting. I don't think of myself as a quitter. So it's hard to say that I am quitting. Instead I shall say Letting Go. Or maybe even Doing What is Best for Myself.

I officially have quit (theres that word again) Rescue.

No drama. Nothing horrible happened. Except that I don't care enough anymore. I don't have it in myself to pour my heart into "the job." It is time. Rescue exhausts me. Emotionally. Mentally.

It's one of those things that you either need to be "all in" or not at all. That is evident by the inability to keep (or get) good volunteers. It is hard to balance life and rescue. Not many can do it. I did it for a long time. I've been involved in rescue for 8 years or so. Starting one, and then walking away from it when personal, ethical differences made it impossible to stay. And then starting this one a few years ago with a few like minded friends.

This decision did not come lightly. It is not one of those things that is easy to decide. Lots of factors play a role.

I will be the first to admit I am a control freak. Rescue doesn't really work with that. I can't be in control each step, and yet I feel that it is my job to ensure that each step is done properly. Letting go, and delegating have never been my thing. Because even when it isn't my job, I still take responsibility for it. I feel full responsibility for each and every dog that I intake into our system. From the time they get dropped off, to the time they are adopted and everything in between. So when something goes wrong it feels as though it is a personal failure. Even if it really has nothing to do with me. Combine that exhausting mentality with the people.  I have never been a people person. And I am at the point where dealing with the people makes me angry and frustrated.

a baby Neena....
I love dogs. And I believe in the cause. Every dog deserves a chance. I have contributed to the happiness and quality life of hundreds of dogs. I remember every dog that stayed at my house- even if it was overnight. I remember countless happy faces (both human and canine) on an adoption. I am grateful to have been able to help as many as I did. Rescue dogs will always hold my heart.  But at this point I am just going through the motions. My heart, my passion is not there. Rescue is never-ending. There is always one more dog, one more sad story. I am tired.

The guilt is almost as bad as the decision itself. I feel tremendous guilt. The guilt of walking away from the people that started this rescue with me. Leaving a few also-nearing-the-edge-of-burnout people to deal with even more crap. It's probably the worst part at this point. Giving up is hard.

The guilt of giving up on a cause that I used to fight for. The guilt of not being able to help. There are SO MANY dogs that need help. Good dogs. Dogs that may slip through the cracks... It is tough. A hard decision. I think of all the dogs I've helped, and loved. All the work the WCCR has done. It is astounding that such a small group of dedicated people can do that. I am sad to not be a part of that anymore. But it is for the best.

Along with the guilt comes relief. Relief that it is not my worry anymore. But that same feeling just makes me feel worse.  :(

I will still help out when I can, on a much smaller scale. I don't want to get the emails, the phone calls, and the heartache. I want to be like everyone else, and just pretend that someone else will fix the problem. I will always take the hardluck cases as long as I have the space and time. Leo will stay with me until he is ready to find a home. He is getting there...slowly.

The decision has been weighing on my mind, and my heart for months.  But my own mental health and happiness needs to take a front seat. For once. And so life will go on. No one is irreplaceable. The rescue work will continue. Without me. I will hopefully be able to move on from the guilt. And work on building back the person I am.


colleen said...

I still love you :)

^..^Corgidogmama said...

Amanda this was so beautifully written and expresses every emotion that you've gone through in the journey to this decision.

You've left your mark. You still will. Doors close and windows must do what your heart tells you to.

You're one heck of a know that, right?

Jenilee said...

Thanks doG you were in rescue to help two crazy border collie's rescue ME! You'll always help dogs one way or another...sometimes you have to let go to start the next chapter, I know there is more to your story!


Jen said...

I have nothing but respect for rescuers, past current and future, who dedicate that level of time and emotion to the dogs.

I'm not sure I have that level of caring and dedication; or I do, and I would burn out quickly and become very unhappy. Either way you slice that, it makes for not a long rescue career.

K9 Chaos said...

I work with a BC rescue. At one point I was transporting dogs long distances, fostering 2 dogs in addition to my 4 at the time (2 of which were senior dogs), and answering phone calls, e-mails, etc. About 6 months ago I took a few steps back for my health and sanity. It was very hard and I felt guilty. I cut out everything but answering e-mails, contacting shelters, and the very occasional transport. For a while I felt guilty, but I got over it for the most part. What felt good was that it opened up more time for me to spend with my dogs. Quality time, especially with the seniors one of which I lost a couple of months ago. There will be a little guilt always (at least for me), but you stepping back opens up a space for someone else to step forward.

andrea said...

no guilt!
gratitude from me for all you have done - and will do in whatever way works going forward ... even being rescue friendly trainer is HUGE!