this is for the rescuers out there who might be like me...
Carol · Dec. 5, 2010
i don`t mean that you have to actually be rescuing..or running a rescue like saints. i mean that in your heart of heart you feel inside yourself those intrinsic, deep into your very soul, animal rescuing traits.
it messes us up in so many ways..my ex once said he thought for me it was like some kind of addiction. and that is where it messes us up the very most..in our relationships with others.
i got an email today from a fellow rescuer, asking my opinion on something. and i have been thinking about something i said back to her...about how many friendships i have made and lost in rescue because of the decisions that i have made.
now contrary to what my ex believes..our marriage did not fail because i rescue animals. it failed because we were not a good personality match..the animals were just the straw that broke the camels back..ok...the ton of straw that broke the camels back...but that back was weak for a whole lot of other reasons.
but rescue will take it`s toll on the family relationships that most of us have. a surgeon will always answer his pager, a fireman will run at the sound of the bell and a rescuer will almost always want to choose the animals and if they don`t..they will always feel bad.
the reality remains that hard core, deep down rescuers will always have problems with keeping healthy, holistic relationships..it is the very nature of the game. we love animals, it is in our basic cells... and we don`t know how to (or mostly don`t even want to) turn that deep cellular yearning off.
here is my perspective...
having good relationships with my friends here at saints is easy. we all love these animals, we became friends while loving these animals, we have 130 plus someones to love in common. but...saints builds walls around these relationships..it is kind of like a maze. because the animals are at the core of our friendship and because there are so many of them that we all do so love..they become the only real thing we talk about on a regular basis...oh sure we do talk about other things, like their own animals or other rescued animals, or other animals needing rescuing or animals we saw on TV.....but we rarely talk about anything not relating to animals or rescue to some degree...when we are together it just seems to flow.
i think it is almost impossible to have good friendships with rescuers not associated with the rescue you are with. at some pôint conflict is going to arise..over an animal, over politics, over choosing sides in ongoing battles..because of competition, because of basic philosophies and beliefs, because you cannot always support a friend in rescue who is publically behaving in a not very nice way...because of a thousand other reasons out there.
i have a couple of long term friends in rescue..but we are very careful not to walk on certain roads..we keep an unmentioned and not discussed distance between us so that when we do need each other, we have a safe place to go.
and it is almost impossible to form new friendships in rescue because of one very simple but constant thing. people are forever defining us to others..they are interpeting from their perspective of us to others out there. so even those who have never met...are pretty sure they know someone from what they have heard.
as to personal relationships..a couple of years ago i was teasing folks about me being a plant. that was because i had long ago decided not to ever invest in any deep personal relationships again..i like my life, emotionally it is full between my family and saints. but the assumption was made by a few that because i was alone here...i must therefore be gay. i am not sure how not having a man in my life automatically makes my sexuality suspect. but even that premise was wrong in the first place...if i had really wanted either a male or a female partner in life..i would probably not be alone...being alone did not mean i was gay...and it did not mean i couldn`t find a partner either..it meant i did not care to invest in having one.
relationships are hard for rescuers because of who we are and what we do and where we actually want to be in this life. i think a healthy rescuer actually has to like sometimes being alone. i like my freedom to do what i want, when i want to do it. i like not having to feel guilty because my rescue heart messes up my partners day. i sometimes, but not often... miss having those long time and wide open friendships that shared a hundred things in common..not just one very big one.
but i don`t think i am alone here in this...i think many people in the animal rescue world feel somewhat the same things that i sometimes do.
we don`t like to talk about it cuz really how can you be a healthy person, if you have trouble having normal healthy relationships...and well..i don`t really know..but i truly believe that you can.
it is not that we aren`t capable....it is mostly that we are just too busy or too focused or have too much responsibility and we accept the reality...that if animals are a huge part of your life...other parts of your life might just have to shrink.
anyway.. i was just thinking out loud here, trying to pull somethings together for myself,......it might not actually make a great deal of sense.