To Selfless Compassionate Saviors of All Creatures Great and Small: God Bless You
By Rebecca Stroud // July 5, 2015
THE ANIMAL ADVOCATE
This column is dedicated to all the devoted individuals who do a job many avoid like the plague; a job that has its terrible downsides, yet some of the most joyous rewards on earth.
Be it an employee or a volunteer, it is indeed a fact that there is much emotional turmoil involved in the hands-on care of shelter and rescue animals. Loving these creatures day after day, simply to see some of them euthanized for lack of space and money, unattended-to sickness, or inflicted injury is devastating.
Especially heartbreaking is the knowledge that they didn’t have to die in the first place; that they needn’t have ever crossed the threshold of the shelter’s door if only people would step up to the plate and take the full responsibility that comes with pet ownership.
To be honest, one of the heaviest crosses to bear when working with abandoned animals is dealing with an apathetic, self-indulgent, selfish, or uncaring public.
Rarely do animal caretakers run across someone who has tried everything in the book to keep their pet. As a rule, it is quite the opposite.
There are the ones who bring in litter after litter of pups or kittens, refusing to listen to the steadfast and constant mantra of “spay/neuter, spay/neuter” repeated repeatedly by humane organizations.
Even more upsetting are backyard breeders and puppy mills; those who think they will make a killing in cash on mating two purebreds over and over again, not knowing or caring anything about what happens to the animals after the money has been paid.
Another group shelter workers just love to see are those who are moving and supposedly can’t take their animals with them. In my opinion, that’s the biggest load of crap I’ve ever heard. There are many pet-friendly landlords in existence and I speak from personal experience.
In between owning our two homes, my husband and I rented three times with nary a problem at all in bringing our dogs, and very large ones at that. So it may take a bit more effort, so what? When pets are family members, it’s a non-issue. And therein lies the crux of the problem.
On an hourly basis, shelter workers see the darkest side of the human race as the plaintive wails of abandoned pets fill the kennels inside or the drop-off cages outside; animals relinquished by the irresponsible, ignorant, negligent, or cruel with little more than a shrug and an attitude.
It’s no wonder that many humane caretakers burn out. Tired and angry and seemingly helpless to stem the tide of desperate creatures dumped by so-called ‘mankind,’ it is very easy to become very cynical in a very short time.
And yet most would never dream of giving up for three specific reasons: that thumping tail; that deep-throated purr; those eyes that light up at the sight of the ones they instinctively know truly love them.
So, to those who – day after day after day – live and breathe the rarefied air of selfless compassionate saviors of all creatures great and small, God bless you…and thank you.
Comments or questions? Please send to RebeccaStroud@aol.com with “The Animal Advocate” in the subject line.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Rebecca Stroud is a former newspaper reporter and columnist. She is now an independent author who has published numerous books and stories, including The Killing Sands, Murder 9.0, Dragon’s Moon, Devil’s Moon, Do Unto Others, The Animal Advocate, A Three-Dog Night, Zellwood: A Dog Story and Jinxed.
In addition to writing, Stroud is an editor and avid animal lover. She lives in Cocoa with her husband and their adored catahoula-boxer mix.
To contact Stroud, e-mail RebeccaStroud@aol.com