I Could Never Work Here! by Anonymous - (permission to crosspost)
When you say to an animal shelter or humane society employee "I could never do your job, it would break my heart, I love animals too much" or words to that effect, it sounds like you are saying:
1. That we don't also love the animals, even though we've taken minimum wage (or no wage) jobs in order to work with homeless animals. For many of us, it is our life's work.
2. That we, somehow, don't get our hearts broken.
3. That in order to do this job one has to be either cold hearted or an animal hater.
Not true, not true -- we are human, we love animals, and our hearts break too. Your declaration leaves us with some questions. If you can't do this job, who will? Someone must. When we've euthanized the 500th kitten for the month, because there are no homes available, will you take the 501st? Our hearts are completely torn out and we just can't kill one more. Do you know what it's like to hold a purring kitten or a puppy who is licking your face - while you insert the needle that will take its life? Or a faitful dog, who knows what's coming -- who sits calmly, looks you in the eye and GIVES YOU HIS OR HER PAW so you can administer that lethal injection??!! We DON'T want to do this!! But those of you who abandon your pets, or who get "tired of them", or who panic when their pets get sick, or "are disobedient" (what???) or "eat the plants" (hey, pets will be pets!!!), or who DON'T want to pay for their medical care -- or whose "children outgrew them" (what??? Are our pets disposable fluffy toys?? NO!) -- those of you who bring your throwaway pets into our shelter, are holding that needle with us, and pushing it in just as much as we are. And we hate to do this, day after day, killing innocent creatures who only want to give and receive love!!!!!
You already have enough pets? We do too! Our cages are over capacity, our foster homes are all full. We, the shelter workers, have anywhere from 3 to 6 or more pets, many of them "Throwaways" -- all of them loveable -- whether they are healthy, sick, blind, lame, beautiful, "ugly", slim, fat, mixed breed, purebreed -- it does NOT matter -- they are ALL deserving of a good life, love and happiness.
Do you have a solution to this world that so carelessly throws out its animals? If so, please tell us, we hate this killing part of the job. Right now, at this moment, there is a dog or cat in a shelter employee's arms and there is no where on earth for this creature to go, but to death. There is no cage space, no foster home, no forever home. Nowhere.
It is a heartbreaking feeling to know that this animal will have to DIE, right here, right now -- and we DO NOT WANT TO PUT THIS ANIMAL TO SLEEP, BUT WE HAVE NO OTHER CHOICE!!! PLEASE SPAY AND NEUTER YOUR PETS and give them the love and care they deserve and need for the REST OF THEIR LIVES!!! That means anywhere from ten to 18 or more years -- some of which will be "in sickness" as well as "in health.". Please shoulder YOUR part of your responsibilities of caring for a pet!
There is a really nice Yellow Lab mix here at the shelter named Jake. He's 3 years old, healthy, housebroken, loves kids, loves everyone! But, he can't find a home because he's quite generic looking, not real flashy and he's not an eight week old puppy ("I want a dog to grow up with the kids" Yeah sure, and then you dump the dog when "the kids 'outgrew' him".......). We've had Jake here for 3 months, but can no longer justify taking up valuable cage space for a dog that's showing no signs of becoming adopted. What would you do? There are 10 dogs that came in today. We have 2 open runs. Who has to die?
Who has to die? Walking through the kennel, having to choose which ones have no more time is the worst part. It breaks our hearts. If you know of a way to keep Jake alive and still be fair to the other animals, please tell us. We've grown so attached -- it's our hearts again you know -- they're breaking into a million pieces this time.
Will you talk to the woman who brings in a blind, 10 yr. old dog with bad skin (and whose fault is the bad skin???? What has she been feeding it? When was the last time a veterinarian saw this dog??! Doesn't this woman know that she is responsible for her pet's health and welfare?) -- and she says "Don't kill her! Find her a good home!"? Oh puhleeeeeeze. We can't find homes for the healthy 1-year-olds -- who's going to adopt a 10 year old, unhealthy dog? You? No, not me either. I already have four dogs that were considered unadoptable. Because we can't get this owner to face reality and allow us to euthanize right away, the dog has to spend her last 24 hours on earth in a holding cage, wondering what happened. But, we held this little scared, blind dog in our arms as often as we could and tried to comfort her... because you can't. It would break your heart. It's breaking OUR hearts, too! Every day, over and over again!!
"Wait!" you say, "Someone might want her!" It's quite unlikely that there is someone that wants an elderly dog that needs a few hundred dollars worth of veterinary care, but maybe you're right. Our crystal ball is broken, but if you think she can find a home and you want to save her please go back to the kennel and pick which young, healthy dog has to give up it's space here.
So -- OK. You can't work at an animal shelter. Not everyone can. Can you help in other ways? Can you buy us a bag of food when you buy for your own pet? Can you come in and talk to the cats and give them love? Walk the dogs? Give the animals some love?? You know, it might be the LAST time they ever feel such love from you. Today may be their last day on earth -- these healthy loving animals that NO ONE wants, and that are taking up cage space that some other unwanted animal will soon need.
When you come back next week we won't tell you the final disposition of your favorite one if you don't want to know. We are, after all, a compassionate group and we understand about broken hearts. Could you go to your friend or neighbor and offer to get their pet spayed/neutered? Could you trap one of those stray cats in your neighborhood and get it vaccinated and neutered? That will be one more free-roaming cat that's out of the reproduction loop. Maybe you could just send a small check to say "thank you". Anything at all would help.
I know you mean well. I know you mean to say "I couldn't work here because my own emotions get in the way of doing what has to be done for the animals, thank you for doing it." Trust us, every day we leave, every day we come in -- our hearts break, again and again.
Please, spay and neuter your pets! Spaying or Neutering won't make them any less "manly" -- it won't make them any less protective. You want to witness the "miracle of birth"? Rent an instructional video. Because -- what are you going to do if something goes terribly wrong with the birth process? How good a "kitty (or dog) MidWife" are you???
If nothing goes wrong with tbe birth process (there is always a GOOD chance that it could) -- what are you going to do with the kittens or puppies after the "kids have outgrown them" or "the kids are tired of playing with them"? Are you going to give them away "to a good home"?? Even if it really is a "good home", how many of these good people will spay or neuter these babies when they become adult cats or dogs? The odds are that most of these "good homes" are not. Do you know how many pets get KILLED by abusive adults or children, in "good" homes?? Do you know how many Dog-Fight breeders use these "free to a good home" pets as BAIT for their killer dogs??? Or are you going to dump these unwanted kittens or puppies in a vacant lot like so many people do? We get the "lucky ones" that are found -- almost every day of the birthing season. BUT most of them go through our front door and then are carried straight into the killing room - because there are SO many of them, and there are not anough homes for them all!!! And our hearts break, all over again!
PLEASE PEOPLE -- SPAY AND NEUTER YOUR PETS!!!
Please realize that pets are not to be given to others on a whim -- SO MANY "gift" pets end up killed at shelters, or killed on the streets where they were dumped. Please realize that pets are NOT to be treated like disposable toys -- that having pets is a responsibility that must be given as much thought as you would when adopting a new member of the family! Please realize in all seriousness that pets should be treated like beloved members of the household, which they ARE -- and let them live with you in safety, health and happiness until the day comes when, in old age, when they can't go on any longer, THEN their souls can leave their little bodies.
May the day come soon -- when ALL animal shelters become under-utilized because there ARE plenty of homes for these little furry angels, AND when humanity cares so much for the other living beings that populate this world, and when humanity realizes that we ALL resonate with ALL of creation -- and so, we get to know, respect and understand those other lives that populate this earth with you -- that humanity will finally know and ACT the TRUE meaning of the word Man"KIND".
"Until he extends the circle of his compassion to all living things, man will not find peace" Albert Schweitzer