December 5, 2012

Time to turn the page.

This past year I have been consumed with handling foster & intake for the rescue.

I've spent much of that time being polite and smiling at people who are some of the crappiest human beings on the planet.

People who, for years, have made a living out of breeding their beloved dogs over and over again, only to ask the rescue to take the dog when they can't take care of them anymore. They love the dog, you know, but they just don't have the means to take care of them in their elderly state. The dog would be better off with people like us, they say.

People who have had their dog for 15 years, but have now had a baby and suddenly "don't have time for it" anymore. The dog is depressed and would be happier with someone "who has time for it" they say. They love "it" so very much, but need "it" gone now. Can you please pick "it" up today? 

People who can't afford to fix their dog's broken limb and when they surrender the dog, won't give us the leash or collar because they want to keep it for their next dog. Forget about even asking for the dog bed - the one thing that might make the dog feel just a little bit better about being abandoned.

People who put their drug use before their dog's welfare. Feeding the dog and providing them with the very basic necessities of life gets in the way of their fix, so they stick their dog in a cage for 24 hours a day.

You want to tell these human beings that they shouldn't even be classified as human beings. They're animals, but not really, because most animals would never do this to their human. Except you can't, because although this is volunteer, you have a title at the end of your name.

And then there's the rescue politics that I won't even bother getting into.

You waste your days trying to extinguish fires and avoiding land mines, but without fail you always end up stepping on one and blowing yourself up, and then you spend the rest of the day putting your pieces back together like Humpty Dumpty.

It's exhausting, discouraging, heart breaking, and all of those other -ing words.

I've realized that at the end of the day, this isn't where I want to be.

So I waved my white flag, told the rescue I was burnt out, and stepped down. This is my last week as intake coordinator.

People keep asking what I'm going to do with my "retirement". Randie thinks I'm going to be lost, and he's probably right -- at least in the beginning. But it'll be a good opportunity to re-evaluate some beliefs I've clung to for the past two years, get rid of that anger and sadness that I've been carrying around like a sack of moldy potatoes, and take on some new challenges.

We have a new "challenge" arriving on Sunday in the form of that white-bearded muppet I showed you a couple of weeks ago. I'm going back to what made me oh so very happy in the beginning -- fostering, something I haven't done a lot of this year -- and we'll see where the road takes us.

18 comments:

  1. I felt your pain reading this. You're a good writer. And you're a good rescuer.

    You'd think the hardest part of rescuing and/or fostering would be dealing with the dogs (cleaning pee/poo, waking up in the middle of the night, waking up early in the morning, stopping fights over a treat, letting go of your foster when it's time for adoption, etc); but no, the hardest part is dealing with the a**holes. I totally agree. That's why I, knowing myself, just help out in the best way I can, which is to take care of the dogs, or participate in the fundraisers. I don't deal with people that well.

    (((hugs))) and job well done, Mel.

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    1. Thanks Stephanie.

      It's funny how so many people who get involved in rescue aren't overly fond of the general human population (myself included) yet the reason why so many walk away from it is also because of people.

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  2. I don't know how you did it as long as you did. I couldn't stand those people (no disrespect to people who truly have unexpected life changes and can't keep a pet).

    I hope your break from intake worker will give you the time to foster and help the pups that are truly the victims in these cases.

    Take care and hugs!

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    1. Thanks lady! It's only been a few days since I stepped down and already I feel a million times lighter, happier, and oh, the time I have now to spend with the foster monster is so damn wonderful.

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  3. I support you all the way with this decision Mel. Good Luck and keep smiling, you have changed a lot of doggy lives by doing what you do!!! They will never let you down. Keep up the great work and thank you for bringing Sonny into my life, I love him so much!!! (You posted his Loyal Rescue adoption link on Facebook on November 4th 2011 which was my birthday - Best birthday gift I could ever ask for). The animal rescue world is the best and someday I will foster, I believe it is very rewarding!!!

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    1. Oh yes, how could I ever forget that! Funny, I posted Sonny's Petfinder link on a whim because a friend was fostering him and mentioned that she wasn't getting very much interest. Who knew that you were out there waiting for him!

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  4. Mel you totally hit this dead on. As your sidekick or "rescue husband" I totally understand where you are coming from as I too have decided to step down after being completely burnt out.

    I do remember some of those crappy a holes you wrote in your blog. The one who wouldn't give me the leash or collar because he wanted it for his next dog. Or the person who I called on the phone who was a crack addict *sighs*

    There were a few other dooozies that you didn't mention as well. This is a full time job for anyone and stressful to boot as you have to be super nice and able to smile, nod, agree, and sympathize when all you want to do is scream :)) The experiences I had in the rescue were rewarding and I will miss the doggies dreadfully. I am so happy you are going back to your "roots" and doing what you do best. Making the doggies the best doggies and most well cared for in Ottawa. Because you are an amazing pet owner, friend, caring partner in crime and above all foster parent. Best rescue wife I ever had! I couldn't have asked for a better friend to enjoy my 10 months with the rescue.

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    1. Pam Mayhew12/07/2012

      Andrew - thanks so very much for your work on behalf of the dogs. It sounds like a very challenging 10 months, I couldn't do it - my mouth has lost it's "mute" function and I'd be getting myself in trouble all over the place! Take care of yourself.

      Pam

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    2. ... And I couldn't have asked for a better hubs. Sushi on me!

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  5. Bogey and mom12/07/2012

    Ultimately doing what we like is doing what we do best! You are a champ at fostering and finding the perfect fit between dog and owner so stick with that! Look at this pairing...we love you for what you gave both of us. Congrats on deciding to put you first.

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    1. I am so so so glad you commented on my blog that day. It's funny how things just work out, and we find what we need in the most unlikely places.

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  6. Pam Mayhew12/07/2012

    Once again, Mel, a big thank you for all the hours of work you've put into HH in the past year. I totally understand your burn out, not too many of us can do that work for any length of time, if at all. I've had sleepless nights this week worrying about that little lost dog out in the freezing cold in Ingleside, cried a few tears, and I've never even met him! But for you, multiply that worry/sadness a hundred times, and that's what you've been doing for 12 months. No wonder you are suffering burn-out. Take good care of yourself, and enjoy the new foster.

    I will continue to enjoy reading your blog - you are an amazing writer! Through that, there may be healing.

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    1. I started this blog when my very first foster was having difficulties with finding his forever home, but it certainly has become therapeutic. I haven't had as much time as I would have liked this year to write, but that should change. :)

      And, you too have been an amazing help to pups in need. HH is very lucky to have you.

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  7. Good luck and thank you for all you've done. I've been a fan of your blog for months and it's always been a true reflection of my own thoughts and feelings as I get pulled more and more into rescue (although I don't do intake -- I mostly do adoption counseling and training/consulting -- so it's not quite the same. In some ways more aggravating, in most ways a lot less so).

    And oh, do I ever hear you on rescue politics. Ugh times a million. You think "why can't we all just get along and do what's best for the animals?" but (a) a lot of those politics are based on deep and irreconcilable beliefs about what's "best for the animals"; and (b) there are so many crazies in rescue. So, so many crazies.

    ANYWAY. I will continue to read your blog and I hope you'll continue to write it, and I wish you the best in whatever you do next. Lots of fostering, I hope. :)

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    1. Adoption counseling.. I can only imagine. Based on some of the ridiculous stories I've heard from our adoption coordinator I think it's safe to say that you have it tough as well.

      Lots and lots of fostering coming up!

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  8. Sending healing and peaceful thoughts your way. Enjoy your loved ones furry and not so furry this holiday season and take time for yourself. I give you the understanding nod and send you a big hug. No more words needed.

    Sonia

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    1. Thanks Sonia. I think we're in the same boat sometimes.

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  9. Anna Maddix12/11/2012

    ...lot of crazies is right on the button!

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