Tuesday, 6 June 2017
A few nights ago we were watching an episode of Criminal Minds and the end quote really got to me.
“To remain indifferent to the challenges we face is indefensible. If the goal is noble, whether or not it is realized within our lifetime is largely irrelevant. What we must do, therefore, is to strive, and persevere, and never give up - Dalai Lama, the 14th.”
This really hit home with me as I have always believed, and lived, under the impression and belief that while I cannot change the world totally, I can make small changes, one change at a time.
The Dalai Lama has put my life philosophy into words far better than I ever could.
I, far too often, hear the argument that the problem is too big for saving one animal to make difference. I cannot save all stray animals, but I can save one animal and make a difference to its life.
Just like no animal welfare organisation can sterilise all the dogs in an area, they can sterilise some of them, if one dog does not breed, there are 4-6 puppies less that grow up as feral, uncared and unloved dogs.
Of the four animals we currently have (two dogs and two cats), three were stray or unwanted when we got them. We have provided two dogs and one cat a loving, caring home instead of them being on the street, having to fend for themselves, possibly ending up in pounds where they would not have survived.
Did we do the right thing in “saving” them, or should we have left them to “natural selection”?
I very strongly believe that when we decided to adopt cats and dogs as pets, we interfered with the natural order of life and we cannot now abdicate that responsibility. We have to care for these animals that would otherwise have lived natural lives as either predators or prey. We played god, now we have to take on the role of god and care for our animals.
Would you like your god to turn around an say, “Tough, baby, your are on your own?”
I don’t think so, so how come it is all right to leave dogs and cats to now fend for themselves?
Take responsibility; One animal at a time – you can make a difference!
Dog & Cat Pad’s recent trip to DARG again reminded me of what wonderful people staff animal rescue centres.
I suspect few visitors to rescue centres realise how many of the staff are volunteers and how little the few permanent staff is paid. No one gets rich from working at a rescue centre.
Why do they do it then? Purely for the love of the animals and to try and make a difference, one animal at a time.
What often gets forgotten, even by the staff themselves, is the emotional toll it takes. Far too often they only realise it themselves after they’re burnt out.
You know the anguish you and your family goes through every time you lose a beloved pet, now think about that happening on a daily basis to you. Don’t think you get immune to it, you never get immune to animals suffering and you are often the one that has to make that final decision.
Of course, it is worse when the animal has been there for a while, you grow attached to it, no matter how hard you try not to.
Every loss is taken personally and you are left wondering if there was one more thing you could’ve done.
Don’t even think about their family lives. Looking after a rescue centre is not a morning job, it is a 24/7 job with late night call outs to rescue some scared (sometimes vicious) animal or to take care of a medical emergency at the rescue centre. Very few, if any in South Africa, can afford a full time vet on staff. At best they have a network of kind vets that can take care of emergencies, but the animal has to get to the vet.
So, no family life, the divorce rate at rescue centres are extraordinarily high.
When the rescue centre has a vehicle, it is mostly an older model that was donated by a kind patron and the centre has to service it, and that costs. Staff use their own vehicles and mostly “forget” to claim for petrol and mileage, they do it and will keep on doing it because it is for the animals.
To sum up, no money, no family life, high vehicle costs, why do they keep on doing it day after day, year in, year out?
Simply, they are angels!
Next time you visit an animal rescue centre, spare a thought for the staff and volunteers and maybe, take them a cake. Best yet, adopt an animal, seeing a lonely unloved dog or cat get a new loving home is the best reward!