“I have never been at a point in life doing that which has me so fulfilled, yet so shattered at the same time.” ~ A note received from a fellow volunteer upon the loss of a dog
To My Fellow Rescuers:
This week has been a tough one at the rescue, full of unexpected loss. Some were the beloved companions of our fellow volunteers. Those, we understand, grieve, and celebrate for the time we had together.
Others, sent to us too late, were with us for too short a time. We did not even have a chance to know them. We grieve their loss equally – but we cannot understand.
Because we take dogs regardless of their age or health, we are increasingly sent very sick and frail dogs pulled from shelters by rescue organizations and then transferred to us with scant – or inaccurate – information.
Armchair rescuers, whose only effort is social media, feel good that these poor pups were “freed.” The stats of the shelter and other rescue organization look better for not having euthanized an animal.
Don’t get me wrong: there should be a special place in hell for people who leave their devoted, but aged and sick companions in a shelter to die. But a note to my fellow rescuers: putting a dog that is obviously in its final days through a one or two day journey “to safety” is not the humane thing for the dog. And it takes a human toll on the volunteers on the other end who are helpless to do anything but to let the dog go peacefully – if we even get that chance. We may only have known the dog for hours or days, but we still carry the weight of that loss.
We help hundreds of dogs on their journeys home each year. There are countless canine lives saved and human lives touched. There are miracles, and, along the way, there are inevitable losses – and yes, even rare failures. We’re strong, but we’re not Teflon. Our hearts break, too. So please, fellow rescuers, act with your heads as well as your hearts – for the dogs’ sake if not for ours.
Sometimes we lose; sometimes we fail; sometimes we cry – and that is the price of trying.
Sometimes we know, sometimes we don’t
Sometimes we give, sometimes we won’t
Sometimes we’re strong, sometimes we’re wrong
Sometimes we cry
Sometimes it’s bad when the going gets tough
When we look in the mirror and we want to give up
Sometimes we don’t even think we’ll try
Sometimes we cry
Well we’re gonna have to sit down and think it right through
If we’re only human what more can we do
Sometimes we cry. ~ Van Morrison