to all who visit shelters and spend one on one time with animals. this is so utterly important to the quality of their daily life while they wait for their forever home.
BUT....be careful. be fair and kind....and understand their homelessness and abandonment from their point of view. some of them lost something when they entered the shelter...some of them lost a family they loved. some of them never had that at all but they find it in the wrong place. they don't need to lose anything ever again so make sure you do not become another loss.
i think it is a bad idea to focus in on one animal and let them fall in love and then leave them, day after day, week after week. they think that they have gotten someone to love them and save them again, but when that one or two or three hour visit is done, they are abandoned again.
we have been thru this with copper a couple of times and then with phoebe just recently and i finally just "got it".... what we were actually doing to them by focusing too much on them individually. they were becoming in their minds abandoned, each time their very special friend would leave. and i am sure it happens to many animals in the shelter system who make a very special connection with the people who care about them.
so i am thinking that this is a hard one...they need that extra one on one time...but how do we balance it for them so they enjoy it without becoming desolate when it ends. we want them to be happy and feel "gee that was fun and nice" but we don't want them deeply mourning when it is over and their friend has gone home for the night.
i think it is about balance. and understanding that sometimes too much love in the wrong place, at the wrong time, can actually hurt. i think practicing inclusiness vs exclusiness can help to keep them on solid ground.
it is good and important to spend good quality time with them but keep a couple of things in mind...all shelters have alot of lonely animals, so spread yourself around. they see this sharing, they understand others get to haveone on one time too, they don't get twisted up by exclusive focus and feel abandoned if the focus is not on them. keep it light and happy, try not to feed into their emotional loneliness and pain....encourage them to have fun, encourage them to look on the bright side, encourage them to make a healthy adjustment to shelter living while they have no other choice.
i think mo and nicole should run a workshop on this. they are the experts at having favorites and spending time with them without leaving them crippled when they leave.
there is a thing called "killing with kindness" especially where shelter animals are concerned. and i think the way to avoid it is to be aware that it is a huge risk. so if you are one of those special people who takes time out of your life to care for homeless animals..... remember that their home is currently a shelter, and their family is the staff and volunteers. help them all to not only accept this, but to find some happiness and safety and enjoyment in the sharing without feeling abandoned at the end of the day.
and that is my thought for today.