Wednesday, December 28, 2011

First World Issues - Animal Rescue

In case you're a first time reader, one of my passions (aside from documenting KIC's antics) is helping find homeless animals "forever homes." There can be something so soul gratifying to be able to take an animal whose chances were otherwise VERY slim and work hard to finding a home that is compatible with them and their needs. When the "magic of the universe" happens, it's pretty incredible to witness. And for my part, I've met some pretty incredible people who I am extremely blessed to call "friend" as a result of volunteering.

Animal rescue is not easy work by any stretch of the imagination. And when you become a foster parent to an animal, the stakes get a bit higher, emotionally, physically and financially. Our expenses as fosters (not including most medical because the rescue covers that) are well above $6000 each year. That doesn't include the time spent on transportation, or adoption events or crazy random situations (cat with two broken hips and a broken pelvis sound familiar?). That doesn't include the damage done to our house, or the strained neighbor relations or even the strained family/friend relations because they think I'm crazy (yes, I'm putting the blame where it belongs). Over and over and over again, we did it because on every level it was rewarding.

Recently, I've gotten hammered from several different directions that makes me realize it's gotten to be more stressful than joyful. I still LOVE the animals I have in my house (including Havoc and Mayhem) and still wish for them to find good homes, but the stress is starting to outweigh the good. People with good intentions give out my name in number in the hopes that I can help their friend/neighbor/cousin/random stranger place an unwanted animal, thinking that just because they don't want their 9 year old German Shepherd mix who gets annoyed because they won't control their 2 year old child and now she's snapped at the kid, SOMEONE SURELY wants an otherwise "perfect" dog. Or someone knows someone who has to find a home for a dog IMMEDIATELY. Only after several hours of frantic work, does it come to light that the situation isn't dire and that the animal truly DOESN'T need to be rehomed after all. Worst of all is the discrimination. "Hounds don't make good pets because they are bred to hunt." "Does that dog have pit bull in it? I can't have a pit bull, or anything resembling a pit bull, because I heard of this one time that a pit ate all of a baby's fingers." "I don't want a girl dog because I don't want to feel her teats." "I don't find orange tabbies attractive" as the tabby in question turns herself INSIDE OUT showing why she'd be a perfect fit. "Black cats bring bad luck." Sadly, I've witnessed all those statements. I could provide the statistics of all of the dog breeds I've seen get homed, but I'm sure it would fall on deaf ears.

While my "I may not be able to save everyone, but I can make a difference to this one" attitude wanes, it leaves me wondering what the future holds for me. The need to match homeless animals with families hasn't diminished because people don't spay and neuter pets and shelters are full all over the nation. And the truth is, I just don't have the time to devote to the animals now that I tackle the challenges of balancing a 12 hour work day, a much more active home life and figuring out what the plans are for our little family. But I do know that without a support system, internal and external, the Shoup Animal House doors are destined to close for business - permanently. While some may rejoice at this news, I am a conflict of relief and sadness. Overall, the entire experience has been so extremely rewarding on so many levels, it will be hard to walk away.

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