i had forgotten that today thirty douglas college vet assistent students were coming for a tour...i remembered an hour before arrival when their instructor called to confirm. since renee and i were in maple ridge with gilligan and teek...this was sort of a biggy oops. we got home about 5 minutes ahead of the students so that was sort of good.
these large tours which we do with each new incoming semester are hard on our staff..it is several hours of a lot of people literally squeezed into our small spaces right in the middle of the busiest part of the saints morning work. but the students always seem to really enjoy it and i think it is important for them to get a real life glimpse of the inside of a busy senior and special needs rescue. these tours are always hands on, up close and personal, face to face contact with the animals that i am talking to them about.
today's tour took a bit of an odd twist with me choking back tears. i always try to give several opportunities for any kind of questions during the tours. one of the students asked what was the story of the dog in the painting behind me...i turned and looked and my eyes met pepper.
i don't lie, i don't fabricate, i do not gloss over, i do not assume that people can't handle an honest answer to an honest question. i said to those starry eyed innocents with dreams of kindness and compassion and helping animals in a more perfect world...that rescue is not always pretty or nice, that animals are like people..sometimes assholes, sometimes messed up, sometimes unbelievably good and kind. that sometimes we who care for them make mistakes, miss some cues, can add to the mix of a disaster brewing and are knocked to our knees reeling in the wake of a sudden and violent tornado...and launched into the tale of pepper, jazzy and darby and the heart break that ensued.
probably not what any of them were expecting this morning when they arrived eagerly anticipating the warm and fuzzy tour but pepper, darby and jazzy deserved that their end of life stories be told as the stark, bitter and undeniable truth.
i find myself lately pondering the sometimes petty people shit that occurs universally in animal welfare/rescue. and i think sometimes we do not take seriously enough what our actual human roles are. no one put us here to be popular, to be always be right, to have more power, to save the world, to stoke up our egos, lay stake to our territories, to impress those around us with our knowledge or the job that we are supposed to do. however we got here, it was to do one thing only...to take care of the animals, pure and simple. we do that not only by doing the best that we can day in and day out but we do it by owning up to our mistakes, sharing our stories with honesty and integrity so maybe someone else can learn from our tears, our fears, our regrets and our doubts and not just from our happy tales of wonderful.
pepper, jazzy and darby will never be swept under the carpet and hidden from view, they are the sometimes nightmare side of rescue..the dark side where sweet dreams do not always come true.
anyway..i shared the story and it is up to them what they do with it. maybe one day that so very sad story will help someone else in a difficult time and bring forth something good.