What do you get when you throw a bunch of people together who are very passionate, outspoken, opinionated and generally like animals more than people? A lot of different ideologies, pointed debate, scorn, finger pointing and drama.
Welcome to the rescue “community” folks.
Working and/or volunteering for any rescue or shelter is hard work. It’s often physically demanding, dirty, thankless and emotionally draining. Those who commit to it are all commendable, every last one of them. It’s not an easy thing to get up in the morning knowing that dogs or cats on your watch are going to die and there’s not a damn thing you can do about it. Quite frankly, it sucks. The success stories get us through, but for the most part, the failures sting more than the successes can salve. All that rage boils up and oftentimes, it’s vented in the wrong way, at the wrong time, on the wrong people, for the wrong reasons.
It’s hard to keep a positive attitude. I know there are days that all I want to do is just post pictures of perfectly adoptable dogs smiling big doggy grins and stamp a great big watermark on the photograph, “EUTHANIZED” and scream at the world – do you get it now? I loved him! I loved that dog and he was sweet as can be, and I would have cherished him for the rest of his life, but now he’s dead on some cold metal table somewhere, taken out with the rest of the trash like his life was worth nothing. And then I take a deep breath, like I just did, and I stop myself (because I could have gone on, Lord knows I could have gone on). Who am I blaming with this tirade? Simple. Everyone.
The staff blames the volunteers. The volunteers blame the staff. The public blames the board, the board blames the volunteers. The volunteers blame the public. The donors blame the board, on and on and on in this endless cycle that never stops. But somewhere in this pattern of playing the blame game, there are animals getting lost.
And who should I blame for that? Well, no one. It’s human error. It’s understandable, it makes a lot of sense. We all want to be the voice for the voiceless, and sometimes our voices clash. But maybe it’s time to do what dogs do best for awhile and listen. Wag more and bark less, as the bumper sticker says. I don’t think the conversation should stop, we need conversation to change, but the insults, the fighting, the name calling, that needs to stop. We are, after all, a “community”.