Rescue Journal

burnout manifests itself in different ways for different folks.

Carol  ·  Mar. 1, 2010

in rescue, for has never affected my feelings or caring for the animals here. but where is does get me is in my dealings with people.

by nature, i am not aggressive, assertive yes...but not aggressive..(there is a big difference between the two.) i have fairly good social skills and my parents instilled in me a very strong streak of politeness. i truly do avoid being mean, ugly or rude. so ripping off people's faces, verbally beating the crap out of them...has never been my style...burnout or not.

lately i have found an ever growing desire to just let things slide..what is the point in discussing or educating or seeking out solutions when folks already have written a script on what they want to hear? i spent over an hour last week carefully composing an honest but not hurtful answer to a "i know you are full but do you have any suggestions?" email about surrendering some elderly cats here. i explained the reality of the very real difficulties experienced by senior cats in any kind of shelter anywhere. i made several different suggestions that included everything except booting them out of the house. but that was not what that person wanted to hear from me...yes or no would have been fine, let's not mess things up with a reality talk, no matter how long it took to carefully write.

i am not even sure any more what is the point in being honest...people do not want honesty..they just want you to agree with what they say and do what they want you to do and be who they think you should be.

i got an email today about a senior dog needing rehoming because a baby is on the way..and again there is that sentence..."i know you are full, but what can you suggest?"

honestly, what i want to say is..i suggest you pull your head out of your ass and give it a good shake and think about what you are just about to do are about to fuck up the life of your dog who loves and trusts you because you decided to start a family and apparently you do not consider the dog worthy enough to have a place in that family?

i could take another hour and carefully craft another honest but gentler answer about how wonderful it is to have a long term family dog while your child grows up and how you can make it something special for everyone....but i am tired tonight..much easier just to say, sorry we are full nd i am fresh out of suggestions. best of

i don't mind taking the time to send a thoughtful reply, if they in turn to take the time to read it and think about it for awhile. maybe they will still decide that what they want to do is what they will still do...but at least they have a better understanding of that decision....and i don't feel like they were a waste of time.

people make choices, that is their right..hopefully those choices are well thought out, informed and not based on fiction or fairy tales. and hopefully people are open minded enough to look at other preceptions, to weigh differing perspectives that might not be as simple or easy or black and white as what they want to believe....and maybe they will give a tired old rescuer a break and not make her choose between trying to educate closed down minds or not even bothering anymore.

maybe folks could preface emails and telephone calls with some kind of label....i am interested in finding a responsible solution and will consider any and all suggestions....or..... i just want to get rid of the dog or the cat, will you take it or not? (then i don't have to think very hard, i just have to type.....yes or no.)



I like the 'how about pulling your head out from your ass" response the best. For people who are so arrogant to ask for advice, but all they really want is for people to agree with them and justify their actions....then this is the perfect response.

Tell it like it is.


Carol, you are absolutely right about people not wanting to hear any actual suggestions. 99% of the time, they have already made up their minds to just get rid of the much easier.

However, everytime you send one of those long, gentle e-mails you are communicating to these people that there ARE other options and that, regardless of whether they read or absorb your e-mail, they are not guiltless in what they are about to do. Your e-mail reminds them that some people do NOT view animals as disposable and, at the very least, I bet a lot of them go away feeling a little crummier about getting rid of their animal. Sure, they'll still do it but I think there will be more of a blemish on their conscience than there was before they got your e-mail. You represent a point of view with your e-mail and simply the fact that you took the time to write it conveys a strong message to these people.

I liken it to being vegan. I don't actually have to say anything at a meal. Just the simple act of NOT eating animals conveys my position to people around me. Now, they may not care a whit about animals or have any intention of ever giving up meat or eggs, etc. But my presence reminds them that some people DO have an issue with the killing of animals for food and sometimes that's enough to just make a small ripple.

Similarly, you don't believe in the willy nilly disposal of animals and through your e-mail you show these people that there is another way. You don't allow them to be ignorant. And when people lose ignorance they also lose the ability to be blissfully unaware of the consequences of their actions.


What a drag to get these kind of calls and how friggin sad for the dog. I had a long road of infertility and my ex walked in with a sweet puppy one day, to take the edge off the sadness of my not getting pregnant. Of course, I loved the dog, and after a few years, finally got pregnant. I was ecstatic. The only thing I worried about was Kayla(my dog) feeling left out when the baby came. I spoke to a dog trainer about my concern and he advised me to lay the baby on the floor
and allow Kayla to smell him. This way it would be Kayla's baby, too- not just mine... well, it worked out just fine. He was right. Kayla was never jealous of my son, only protective. No one got shut out.
With a bit of effort and care these situations can work, if they choose to try.


Yes Carol, I'm in complete, total, unparalled AGREEMENT with you! (Sorry, this makes me extremely angry too :(

Yeah, the more time I spend with animals, the less I love humans - and I do NOT like that - but but...

But end of day, it's for the animals and we just have to swallow the pride, blind the eyes.. yes, it's FOR the animals, bastards. Not for you guys.

Seriously, what are you teaching all your young kids about loyalty? If a life who has been pledged to you can be disposed at at the smallest of reason or convenience?!?

I mean I'm not an idealist. There are breeds which seriously might have problems with kids. I know. I owe 2 Border Collies. But that does not mean that they don't even get a chance to prove themselves able to cope with kids. My 2 BCs are COMPLETELY kids adoring. None has ever even thought of chasing any. But then again, each BC or dog for that matter is different. But still, whatever the case, that dog (yes, that one you are conveniently throwing away) gave of his life to you for last how-many-years. The least you can offer him is a chance. Dammit!