Nobody’s Dog

Originally posted by Anna Dudkowski’

Imagine you are a Rescuer. You are passionate about what you do. You help as many animals you can, and then some. You care and you are responsible. You work hard, try not to upset anyone, try to make a difference. You try to help. What you see gives you nightmares, but you still go back into the pens for the animals.

Imagine after years of staying silent when you see filthy pens, untreated animals and staff who stand over you, and you take it because you want to walk away with the next dog under your arm, or the next cat in a crate. You make mistakes and get threatened, and no apology will ever put you on an even footing again with the Shelter management. The hostility increases – and you realize that one false move – and the door will slam in your face – and the blame will be placed at your feet despite your very best efforts not to rock the boat.

Imagine trying not to show your tears when you find out the dog you wanted to take has been killed, or is denied to you – and if you fight too hard for their life – you will again be shut out – and branded a troublemaker. You become a master of patience, understanding and outright subtefuge – just to keep the peace – and save the next dog waiting patiently for you. You are asked to tango, you do the two step and end up dancing with the devil. You loathe that you are made to feel like a poor relative – and must bow and scrape for every single scrap thrown your way, but do it anyway, dismissing it from your mind as a hollow victory when you eventually leave with the animal in the back of your car.

Imagine finding a shelter staffer who empathizes with you. You communicate through eye contact and silence, almost in code as they lead you to the animals they want you to help that no one else has told you about. How they have a look of bleak resignation on their face – and you know the next time you come they won’t be working there because they too have tried – and failed.

Imagine being accused of causing trouble, being difficult and to blame for someone else’s mistakes. Imagine being yelled at, abused via email or over the phone as you try and defend yourself – knowing that every word you say is a nail in your coffin – and eventually it comes. You are no longer welcome to save lives.

If you can imagine all of this – then you will be walking in the shoes of every Rescuer I know. Imagine if Rescuers were welcome. Valued. Well some Pounds and shelters do. They are the ones who will make a difference. The rest – worldwide stay covered in silence and suspicion. And you have to ask yourself every day you enter those places and say, “Do I speak out today, or do I look the other way?” Only a Rescuer will be able to answer that one.

( text borrowed from Rescued With Love )