Rescue Journal

so lets talk about hoarding and collecting and rescues gone astray

Carol  ·  Dec. 3, 2007

because those ugly words torment me sometimes...not just from the outside world but from inside me too. i wonder if people realize how much i worry about crossing the lines into hoarding, collecting and sheer insanity. i wonder if they realize how afraid i am of me?

i could so easily be a hoarder...not because i do not want them to have homes because i do. but because i do not trust easily...i love these guys and i want the very best for them. and if i am not sure, or if my gut is saying no...then they are not going.

i know in my head that i am not a hoarder because NEVER have i denied ANY animal the right home. i have sobbed in the driveway as they leave...and i am crying for me because i KNOW that they will be fine, that this home is perfect...but i am not always fine when they leave. i just lost someone else, not to death but to a new life without me.

and i worry about collecting too...because i LOVE old wrecked animals. i absolutely adore them and worship the ground they walk on. their faces are the mirrors to their entire life, their hearts are in their eyes and they place their beloved heads inside my hands.

there are animals here that i will not place elsewhere...some because they cannot go back out into the real world and survive. some because they are too close to dying and i am their life. some are too sick and would need a vet home to manage their care to keep them comfortable. some like ellie-mae are just mine. she is my best friend and i am her best friend too and there is no reason that she cannot stay here where her heart is at home. (and i am pretty lucky there are not too many homes looking for a 700 pound pet pig) but out of the handful that cannot go, or i will not let go....there are so many more that could have a home if the right one came for them. do i collect these unwanted ones?...hmmm...i don't know. i know i turn away many each week...but i pretty much hardly ever turn away the pound dogs if their time is up. but i take them sight unseen, i take them whoever they are as long as they can be happy here. i take them because i cannot bear that anyone dies alone and unloved. i will let families prematurely kill their beloved pets, and not take in those. a happy life stolen early to me is not such a bad thing. i will take in animals whose families have never loved them, have never made them feel special, whose entire existence has been one of invisible and unfulfilled need. i want those guys to feel love for once too.

have i gone astray? have i gone too far and taken in too many? well, i don't know. they all have plenty of good food, they all have their areas cleaned every single day, they all live a better quality of life than many animals owned by most of society. they all get one on one attention and group fun stuff walks in the snow, and swims in the pond and pizza and picnics, and many get to sleep in my bed with me.....they all get whatever vet care they require to feel good. spritely is lucky she is here...there are few homes or rescues that will support a single horse whose food, vet care and medications costs almost as much, each year, as a brand new ford focus (i saw a sign at a dealership offering 2007 focus' for $11995....that is pretty cheap, i might get one when my van gives out) and do i squirm at her cost? of course i do, it is hard to come up with that money. but..when spritely came here, i told her...whatever you need to be happy and comfortable, you shall have. and the same is true for them all.

what happens if i can't keep my promises? what happens if people don't support this reality dream?...again, i don't know. so far, some how the guardians of sick and aged animals and their slightly insane caregiver have managed to keep hope afloat. i know i will never be able to quit my job tho, and i will probably never be able to retire and my income will always be needed to fill in the holes. but that is ok...if it gives them what they need, if it gives them a home when there is no other, if it to some degree softens the utter unfairness of their lives, so be it. money is meant to be spent. domestic animals are meant to be cared for. and i have nothing better to do anyway.

but i worry most about going too far...not someone elses too far...but mine. the too far that does not care for them well, that one that does not meet their needs, the one that does not see their unhappiness, the one that is more about me than it is about them. if that too far ever happens, it wipes away what saints stands for forever, and that is what stops me dead in my tracks from taking that last single step too far....but....i will go to that last single safe step. (then i peer over into the abyss and go...holy shit carol, step back abit please.)

in re-reading this post, i have to add a couple of other sides to this coin that i am well aware of...

firstly, hoarders, collectors and rescues gone astray usually live in some form of denial...and the possibility exists that i am in denial also....which is why i worry about it all the time.

and secondly...i have taken in animals that i did not have to take in...animals who were not going to die if i did not offer them a place...the americats are a perfect example. BF would have looked after them well. i took them because i wanted to work with FeLV cats again, i took them because i wanted other people here to have the opportunity to learn about them and not be afraid of their illness and to have the chance to love them too, and i took them because i felt i had something of value to offer to knowledge, my experience, my dedication, my committment and a very cute room!

not all of the saints were waiting for euth...most yes, but not all. some i just felt needed to be here and that saints would be a good place for them to come to.

just had to be honest that not everything is always black and white...there are alot of grey foggy areas i swim thru too.



We will always have senior animals in our family from now until such a time that we can no longer care for our family members properly. Mabel-Mae and Mollie have brought such exquisite joy to our home, incontinence, sketchy health, the occasional bite and all.
Our two little canine SAINTS, and SAINT Brodie the hedgehog are only three of the many animals you have let go because you knew they could be happier somewhere else. Hoarders don't do that. Hoarding is a mental health issue, and although we all know you are nuts, you aren't that kind of nuts.
So you have Ellie-May, a 700 lb lap pig. She brings you some much needed joy and laughter, and God knows, there are days when you need some of that. What's more important is that you bring her joy, happiness, security and a freedom most pigs will never know. You do it for Ellie, she's not a toy for you.
You don't hoard, you don't collect, and anyone who says you do should start actually helping to find homes for unwanted seniors, and stop talking about it.

Chris T

Carol - you are not a hoarder. You let them go to the right home even though it kills you. You deem very few animals as palliative/sanctuary animals and you usually have a darn good reason for doing so. Even though the last thing we needed was more dogs, Mabel and Molly have wormed their way in and are holding on tight. Seniors are very special. I understand your fondness for them. Initially I thought I could not do seniors but my mind has been forever changed.