one of the hardest things in rescue is separating the truth from the fantasy. people lie to us about everything and it is hard to not become jaded and expect lies in most human dealings.
but when people lie...they usually lie for a reason.
they mostly are just telling stories to make themselves feel better about whatever it is they are doing.
so when an owner turns in a "stray" that really is their own pet, or when they say the owner has died when the owner is alive and well before you...they are lying to protect themselves from being perceived as a bad human being for abandoning their pet.
but people do not just lie when getting rid of their animals..they lie to get animals too. they will tell you what a great home they are for any homeless pet, that they have the experience and means to provide a wonderful home to a new found friend. these lies may be more lies of omission..like they neglect to tell you that they got rid of a dog last year, or that they have far too many animals than they can care for well or that they live from paycheque to paycheque and can't afford even a minor vet bill. most folks will not tell you if they suffer from personality disorders which makes it difficult to get along with others..including rescues following up on adoptions and they will not tell you if they have issues with substance abuse or mental health problems. pretty much anyone applying to adopt a pet is going to tell the adopting agency that everything is wonderful and great in their world.
they do this for two reasons..one because they WANT that animal and two because they are afraid of being negatively judged.
and people do not lie just when surrendering or trying to acquire an animal...sometimes they lie to the rescue so they can be involved. maybe they make up stories about all of the great things for animals they have done, or maybe they make huge promises of wonderful things yet to come but the truth gets a bit of a fuzzy-up to move things nicely along. and rescuers lie to the general public when we tell them how wonderful we are but when in reality..our animals really need to be rescued.
almost all of us re-write history in some form or another because it hurts to stand on the line and admit to being not so great..or downright horrible. it feels much better to tweek things a bit so we become the heroes or at the very least the innocent and blameless victim.
this is human nature...it is how we continue to live with ourselves when we are a far cry from perfect.
lying used to enrage me..it made me want to rub the liars nose in the truth to just get them to admit what they really were doing.
now..i really don't care.
just like all dogs will bite in the right (or wrong) circumstance to protect themselves...humans will lie to do the same.
but here is what I have learned about myself in terms of lying...if I have to lie about something, if I have to re-write it, if I have to pretend that I am innocent and go to all kinds of lengths to convince others of the same...then what I am doing or thinking is probably wrong and I know it deep down but still want or need to do it anyway.
my mother once told me that if you strip away every single mask or cloak of hiding or coping from the multiple layers that we humans wear..that act of stripping away that armour of protection would leave us all naked and most likely insane.
so I try to leave other folks shields in place as much as I can and instead of calling them out on untruths, I usually try to ignore them and peer around the edges of their stories instead to get what I need.
it is not my job to fix other people..it is my job to fix myself if I can. I have my own shields and masks to hide behind and until they are gone, I am just the same as everyone else.\
liars run rampant in rescue...not just in the people we meet but in ourselves too.
however...a rescuers job is to protect the animals at all costs and for our part we can only do this is we are willing to take the risk and speak the truth.
rescue is not always easy and rescuers are not always good. we have our shining high and darkest low moments like everyone else on this earth.
we all could do better..not just with the animals but with ourselves too.
and if we are not afraid to honestly speak of this...the animals we all love so well, will be far better served.
all of us need to quit wearing lies and try wearing more of the truth.
maybe we can learn to use the truth as a shield to protect ourselves too.