i have been trying to wrap my head around no longer "owning" saints. it is a bit of an adjustment and don't get me wrong..i truly believe it is a good AND the right thing.
however...for me personally, it is the end of an era. i grew up and was christened in the down and dirty age of rescue..the age where "real" rescuers gave up almost everything...friends, family, privacy, comfort, financial security, sometimes even basic necessities, like running water or electricity...and some times, eventually......even their sanity. deprivation was their badge of courage, rescue was NOT for weenies!
i never made it all the way to that kind of "real" i wasn't giving up EVERYTHING! i watched those guys really suffer some days and said to myself... "no freaking way am i living without a flush toilet, a hot water bath or a working washer and dryer!" and i kept my job..it helped keep me somewhat sane plus i needed to work to pay the mortgage (and i actually love my job.) i also managed to mostly keep my family intact and my kids and grandkids all still like me! i gave up a lot tho..but not like the old timers... the animals got 99% of saints and i got 1% of a home...which included..half a ( half eaten) bed and a 5x6 foot bathroom (which everyone uses) but with a bathtub and a washer and dryer, (if i can slip in my stuff between saints loads of wash.) honestly..it was enough and way more than my past mentors.
but really..giving up stuff and space wasn't really that hard. the lack of privacy wasn't exactly easy but whatever, i got used to it over time.
giving up self respect..that was a hard one at times, i mean sometimes swallowing my pride and just accepting that folks would define me whatever way they felt they had to. it was like being stuck in limbo in the court of perpetual judgements and opinions of you.
because here is the thing...once you become the figurehead of a fairly successful rescue, once your name is irrevocably linked..all kinds of interesting things happen.
depending on perceptions and experiences...sometimes you are a saint, sometimes you are an ass, sometimes you are on someone's pedestal until they kick it out from under you. sometimes you are the kindest of all compassionate souls but to someone else you are a raging haglike toad. unfortunately you do sometimes over hear conversations, and sometimes someone whispers not so nice shit in your ear. sometimes you hear of people making fun of you, or telling anyone who will listen that you really do have angel wings underneath your flannel shirt and halos woven into your hair.
the bottom line is you are burdened with all kinds of labels and judgements..good, bad, friendly, not friendly, some downright ridiculous and some outright ugly and all of it from a far larger than most people's average world. many of these definitions of you floating out there are impossible to live up to and some just plain fucking hurt.
this is something i do share in common with the old time rescuers...they had to carry this kind of shit too.
but here is the thing...rescue no longer has to be like this. it no longer has to be all or nothing, an individual's heart, mind, future and soul no longer has to be handed over in order to save animals....the future holds a more balanced way now as caring for animals becomes more socially acceptable than it used to.
people can actually get paid now..as in a real job now... in shelter care and animal welfare. animal welfare and shelter volunteers can spread their wings and get so much more involved and hands on in so many different ways and still balance it with their other home and work lives. no one HAS to be St Francis or the horrid troll under the bridge, no one has to be the crazy cat woman anymore..folks can just be normal people working together to do an important job.
it is a totally different future coming our way and it feels a little alien to me...(yes..a tiny bit of that rescue rebel in me is a wee bit sad...it has been an interesting kick ass/ass kicked adventure.)
but the practical, common sense part of me, after almost 20 yrs of this shit, says...its about time and thank freaking god! it is now ok to be normal in rescue.