So, my lights were out and I was trying to sleep because I spent almost all day recovering from one of those 12 hour migraines, and I need to wake up at the holy crack of dawn tomorrow to get to the 5k for Cauzican (Please come see our dogs!).
But I sprang back out of bed to write. Why? I had just read this post by my friend over at Tails of a Foster Mom and felt the need to respond. I admire her for making the decision to volunteer at a kill shelter.
The first time I went out to work at Wakulla County Animal Control, it was rough. I am not sure I was much help. I was clueless. I just helped Betsy photograph the dogs a bit. Plus got to spend time with this pup, who was adopted in a second!
But most dogs aren’t that lucky. How do you stay sane when you spend time, bond with a dog, bathe it, walk it, hug it, kiss it and see it put down ? Can you stay sane ? It’s hard not to lose your mind.
It never gets better. But you cannot stop. You better not stop because sometimes you are the only hope that dog has. I remember the first time I saw Onyx.
Naturally I gravitated to his kennel. That day I spent all morning with only him. I walked him, bathed him, walked him again, talked to him, hugged him, kissed him. When I put him back in his kennel, I put down a huge treat and a bowl of water. I don’t even know if that’s allowed but no one was watching :). When I turned to write on his kennel card, I was crying. This puppy should not be allowed to die. I drove myself insane over the next few weeks until he was pulled by a rescue and saved.
Anyway my point of this whole rant is, the only way you can keep your insanity quotient in check, is to repeatedly tell yourself that you gave this dog happiness. Even if it were for a day, or a few hours, that dog knew true love, and a caring heart. You can’t control everything and you can’t save every life. You can try your very best.
Michelle from DoggieDayz told me this after that first day at WCAC. It’s the only way to not go crazy. It takes a lot of work and I haven’t fully mastered this technique yet. But I am trying. Trying to compartmentalize, even detach to a certain extent. So that I stay sane, and so that I can keep doing what I do. What we all do. All the volunteers. All my friends. The solution in my mind, is not to avoid the shelter. It is just to try to stay sane.