there is an unspoken syndrome in down and dirty rescue that rarely gets talked about.
Carol · May 1, 2011
i think it is the precusor to the big, dark fall..that point where you slip from effective rescue down into the hell of warehousing and hoarding.
most humans have the natural inclination to retreat into hiding when they are hurt. a few take the other road of becoming the hurt-giver..but most just try to get away. it is fight or flight i suppose.
i will tell you why rescuers are so vulnerable in this...it is because they are out there standing toe to the front line. and they are not just out standing there 10 days out of 100 or 8 hours out of 24..they are out there every minute of their rescue lives. everyone has an opinion, everyone has a better way, even the folks who have nothing to do with rescue can and do add their 2 cents worth...thru judgements, teasing, bad jokes at the rescuers expense.
i think of the oldtime rescuers i know who long ago retreated behind their self fortified fences. they don't like people, they don't trust people because people hurt them over and over again. think about dedicating a good portion of your life to something like rescue and literally giving it everything that you've got and then taking the little and big, the intentional and the thoughtless jabs, year after year after year. it wears you out and soon the retreat begins...animals are nicer and safer and easier to trust than any human being is. when an animal hurts us..we know exactly why..it is expected, it is predictable, it is rational, it is easily understood because animals have clear reasons for hurting you. people will just do it for no reason at all.
it happens to all of us..i highly doubt there is a single person who has been in rescue for a decent amount of time who isn't carrying countless scars from other people's pokes and jabs. it goes with the territory i guess.
but i see a real danger in the retreating back behind the castle gates to lick our wounds and to remove ourselves from the possibilities of being hurt any more. eventually you start coming out less and less. eventually you stop letting others in. one day you find yourself alone in an island of furry bodies without many human friends.
and then the trouble begins...and this trouble is not only not good for the rescuer, but it spells disaster for the animals in that rescuers care.
i have tried to outsmart this...i have seen it happen too many times to really good rescuers who end up retreating behind the personal safety line. i know the pain that pushed them there...they were doing something so good and so right and yet they were being hurt so many times for it all.
i watched what happened to others and i developed a strategy...i rescue animals and i work a fulltime job....i believe there is safety in diversity. i try to shrug off the things that hurt and keep my eye on the rescue ball..but believe me... sometimes it's hard. i have made every inch of my home and property grand central station...there is no where for me to hide. i actually let people who sometimes hurt me (within reason) continue to take the odd poke at me or my life... (i do get rid of the big poisonous snakes in the grass, they are far too dangerous to keep hanging around.) and even for the little ones...each time a new poke is forthcoming, i do remember the pokes from before. i try not to let it push me into hiding just so i don't get poked any more.
i am amazed at the level of thoughtless cruelty and unkindness that is not just levelled at animals, but at people too. i am stunned at times when i see basically good and nice people do or say things that are really hurtful and unkind. and they don't do it because they are fighting for something or they believe in much of any thing at all..i don't think they even know why they do it...they just do it sometimes.
rescuers are soft hearted people..this is why we get sucked into rescue in the very first place. the tough as nails, the helmet and armour and big freaking shield are just a disguise...underneath it all...we bleed quite easily..it is a freaking hard and easily judged life.
but the final (and smartest) part of my strategy to not retreat behind the hiding lines...is to surround myself with kind and caring and thoughtful and responsible people...as many as i can possibly find. they are the army who protects me from the pains and the arrows in rescue life. they are the ones who soften the sometimes harder blows so i can still stand mostly (but not always) unafraid in the light.
thank you all for not only the good wishes today but for every day helping me not to hide away in the dark of the night.