|Warren needs a family|
But a lot of other things have happened over the last couple of weeks... so I thought I'd share some of that with you.
I've been working at Lucky Dog each day... feeling like a shell of a person. While I was physically-capable of completing the daily tasks here, my body just felt heavy... or numb... or both. My mind felt foggy... or empty... or both. I just wasn't... me.
My grandparents' accident happened on Christmas day, which was one of my busiest work days of the year. On that day, I had so many boarding dogs in my care, as well as all of my rescue dogs, and they each needed me. They needed me to be... me.
Maybe I wasn't "me" that day --or many of the days that followed-- but I refused to let my dogs know it. It just wouldn't have been fair to use my pain as an excuse to deny their needs. I'm here to take care of them... not the other way around.
I won't lie... I was really struggling on a personal level, but the bottom line is this: my clients trust me with their "babies." I trust myself with my own "babies." And I've earned that trust... because I do take my responsibilities to these dogs so seriously. I'm always here for them... no matter what. No matter how heartbroken I may be... no matter how sick I may be... no matter how exhausted I may be... I never abandon them.
|Sonny needs a family|
But, in addition to the ever-present holiday craziness around here, this also happens to be the time of year when everyone decides to call me about a dog in need. And obviously, it's the time of year when I'm least able to help them... with absolutely no space to do so.
Often, the "emergency" is simply a stray dog that wandered up to someone's home. Or a litter of puppies that someone dumped on their doorstep. Or a family pet that suddenly needs to go... today, right now, this second.
When people make these "desperate" calls to me, do they care about the insane amount of stress I'm already dealing with this time of year? No. Do they appreciate everything I'm already doing for dogs in need? Not really. Do they accept any of my offers... to do everything in my power to help... other than physically taking the dog? Nope.
Do they care that it's my "Christmas" too? Negative.
Despite the fact that I have little left to give... I always offer help anyway. I'm told: No. Despite my increasing financial burden... I offer to pay for all of the dog's food, vet care, etc... if they can just foster the dog, or help me find someone who can. I'm told: No. Despite my personal overload, I offer to use my time and energy to find a loving home for the dog, if someone can just foster for me in the meantime. I'm told: No.
|Warren wants a forever home!|
So, after my help is repeatedly rejected, I'll kindly say, "This dog wandered up to your home. Not my home. Your home. And even though this isn't really my problem, I've still offered to help you in every way that I possibly can. Even though I'm extremely overwhelmed at the moment, I've still taken time out of my day for you, and offered to help you find a wonderful home for this dog. Even though I don't have the money, I've still offered to pay for this dog's food and vet care, so you don't have to. And even though I didn't have to offer any of that to you, I still offered, because I want to help this dog. I'm sorry if my offers weren't enough for you, but honestly, this is all I have left to give."
I pause... and wait for them to feed me a load of excuses, give me a hateful guilt trip, or rudely hang up in my face. Or all 3.
But what those callers don't know... is that I'll spend the rest of the day... beating myself up, because I couldn't do more. I'll cry, for the dog I couldn't help, and the people who didn't care. And I won't sleep that night... because I'll feel as though I failed.
Then, I'll get up the next morning. Go to work. Get another call about a different dog. Have another rough day.
So... in addition to my stress at work this holiday season, and the constant worry over my grandparents' life-threatening situation, my burden was further increased each day... because there are just too many dogs in need... and too few people willing to help them.
Honestly, one person can only take so much.
|Sonny wants a forever home!|
We have feelings. We have hearts. We feel pain.
But... few people seem to care.
We have needs. We have families. We have... lives.
Yet, we often deny our own needs, families, and lives, over-and-over again... so others can get what they need, be with their families, and live their lives.
I am an animal rescuer. I am also... a person.
So, when you call me (or someone like me), because you have a need, please remember that I have needs of my own. When you want my help, please understand I may need your help, too. When you are busy, please keep in mind that I'm pretty darn busy myself. When you have a crisis, please realize that I may be dealing with more than one crisis in my own life. And when you feel inconvenienced by some animal at your home, please know that your call is an inconvenience to me.
My dogs always do...
*If you'd like to help Lucky Dog Rescue, donate today!