Friday, October 12, 2012

Preaching to the Choir

Don't Blame Me

Animal rescue volunteers are tireless. They transport unwanted and injured pets from shelter to veterinarian, from veterinarian to groomer, from groomer to pet store to be shown to adopters, and then back again to the veterinarian clinic to board or into their own homes. They go to adoptathons, events, fairs, festivals, parades, and anywhere else where they can show the dogs and cats that need homes. It is a rare weekend off for many of them.

They also answer calls from people who think they have "rescued" an animal, but have really just picked one up and want someone else to do all the work in finding it a new home. Or they hear from people who want to give up their pets for mostly silly reasons. Sometimes they talk to people who have a lot of dogs or cats roaming their neighborhoods, dropped there by irresponsible Neanderthals.

We listen, we give the best advice we can, and we wish them luck because we know they are in a hard spot and want us to sweep in and rescue them and the dogs and cats, but most often we can't because we are overwhelmed already with homeless animals.

What is most disturbing is when we get cussed out by these people when we can't do their bidding. I recall one woman who wanted us to come get several dogs that she and her neighbors had coaxed into their yards -- homeless dogs that had been roaming their neighborhood for weeks. When I told her we had just brought in eight dogs from area kill shelters and were now full, she pitched a fit and said we never helped anyone when they called and she would tell everyone that we were liars and do-nothings.

I still remember this because she was so full of fury and aggravation and I couldn't cut through it to make her see that we were on the same team. I was not to blame. I had not dumped dogs in her neighborhood. She was calling a group of VOLUNTEERS. We weren't paid to do any of this work with rescue animals. We used our free time to do whatever we could to keep as many dogs and cats as possible alive and in good homes. But this woman was screaming at me over the phone line as if I was the enemy.

Want to vent? Go the your area pet store and stop those guys and gals who are parading their unneutered dogs around. Yell at them to get their pets neutered! Scream at the people who have adult female dogs that are still intact. Berate people who are thinking about allowing their female dogs to have a litter of pups or to "stud out" their male dogs.

When you lecture rescuers, you are preaching to the choir.