as i start looking far down the road to my own retirement..there are things in my head that i need to pass on. no one needs to repeat bad history or make the same mistakes.
some of the best lessons i learned that helped me run a successful rescue were what NOT to do by watching those who came before me and some of the lessons i learned all by myself by fucking things up!
so here are a few thoughts on do's and don't's...
there is a mystical entitlement issue in rescue.."i rescue" therefore i should be allowed to xxx..you should give me a discount (or even better a freebie) for xxx...i should get special privileges
like special treatment for whatever.
rescue is not a badge of entitlement or a free pass for ANYTHING.
honestly..i have heard of folks going on vacation and asking for hotel discounts because they run a registered charity!
our vets and many of our suppliers kindly give us a discount...i didn't ask for it..they chose to give it and they choose how much of a discount. the only time i actually asked for a special discount was for PAC..the ex bomb sniffing police dog. we took him on because once he retired he was no longer eligible for RCMP K9 medical care...one of his meds retailed for $500 per month..ouch. when we put him into permanent foster care with the RCMP officer who raised him from a puppy until he began active service... we asked one of our clinics if we could purchase just that one med at cost and they generously agreed.
i can guarantee you that if i battered our vet clinics, our suppliers, our service providers about every single penny, squeezed out every single possible discount, guilted them into it because we were "almighty rescue"..no one would like working with us very much.
so rule one...no begging, no guilting, no entitlements..a gift is only a gift if it is freely given without emotional arm twisting.
and rule two... when something is given..be grateful...every single little bit helps and it all adds up.
rule three...be gracious...don't expect or demand perfect..people make mistakes, shit happens, murphy's law exists..no need to freak out and rub folks nose's in it. work around bumps and potholes and smooth the road whenever you can. and if you do happen to lose it over something on a bad day..apologise the next day and be extra nice. you don't have to be perfect either but you should at least try!
rule four..stay humble...do not walk onto the rescue stage and expect that everyone is going to fall all over you and give you anything you think you deserve...like boundless respect, limitless help, accolades or acknowledgement. we are only little fish in a very small pond..not really all that important at all.
rule five..earn your place..thru hard work and responsible, reliable, honest and ethical actions. don't yell it..actually do it and eventually your actions will be heard.
rule six...stay sane. if your mind is spinning constantly with a bunch of dark and negative thoughts..it is time to get out of rescue before your grasp on reality wears out.
rule seven...everyone around you is not stupid! let that really dumb thought go.
rule eight...don't even think of going at rescue alone...build a strong and effective team to share the workload.
rule nine..know your own strengths and weaknesses...pay attention to your own list and leave others shortcomings alone...no one likes being nit picked.
rule ten...be ready for the hard shit and have the ability to problem solve effectively AND intelligently without sobbing and falling down.
and finally and most importantly...
rule eleven..don't hate. anyone. ever. hate will ruin your soul.