It’s my Grandfather’s birthday today. He would’ve been 101.
When you say to an animal shelter or humane society employee “I could never do your job, it would break my heart. I love animals too much” or words to that effect, it sounds like you are saying:
*That we don’t also love the animals, even though we’ve taken minimum wage (or no wage) jobs in order to work with homeless animals. For many of us it is our life’s work.
*That we, somehow, don’t get our hearts broken.
*That in order to do this job one has to be either cold hearted or an animal hater.
Your declaration leaves us with some questions. If you can’t do this job, who will? Someone must. When we’ve euthanized the 500th kitten for the month because there are no homes available, will you take the 501st? Our hearts are completely torn out and we just can’t kill one more. You already have enough pets? We understand, we do too. Our cages are over capacity; our foster homes are all full. Do you have a solution? If so, please tell us, we hate this part of the job.
Right now, at this moment, there is a dog or a cat in a shelter employee’s arms and there is nowhere on earth for this creature to go. There is no cage space, no foster home, no forever home… nowhere. It is a heartbreaking feeling.
There is a really nice yellow lab mix named Jake. He’s three years old, healthy, housebroken, loves kids. He loves everyone! But, he can’t find a home because he’s quite generic looking, not really flashy and he’s not an eight week old puppy. (“I want a dog to grow up with the kids”). We’ve had him there for months, but can no longer justify taking up valuable cage space for a dog that’s showing no signs of becoming adopted. What would you do?
There are ten dogs that came in today. We have two open runs. Who has to die? Walking through the kennel, having to choose which ones have no more time is the worst part. It breaks our hearts. If you know of a way to keep Jake alive and still be fair to the other animals, please tell us. We’ve grown so attached… it’s our hearts again, you know. They’re breaking into a million pieces this time.
Will you talk to the woman who brings in a blind, ten year old peek-a-poo with bad skin and says, “Don’t kill her! Find her a good home!” Oh puhleeeeze. We can’t find homes for the healthy one year olds, who’s going to adopt a ten year old, unhealthy dog? You? No, not me either. Because we can’t get this owner to face reality and allow us to euthanize right away, the dog has to spend her last 24 hours on earth in a holding cage, wondering what happened. But, we held her as often as we could and tried to comfort her! It’s quite unlikely that there is someone that wants an elderly dog that needs a few hundred dollars worth of veterinary care, but maybe you’re right. Our crystal ball is broken, but if you think she can find a home and you want to save her, please go back to the kennel and pick which young healthy dog has to give up its space here.
Okay. You can’t work at an animal shelter. Not everyone can. Can you help in other ways? Can you buy us a bag of food when you buy for your own pet? Can you come in and talk to the cats? Walk the dogs? When you come back next week we won’t tell you the final disposition of your favorite one if you don’t want to know. We are, after all, a compassionate group and we understand about broken hearts. Could you go to your friend or neighbor and offer to get their pet spayed/neutered? Could you trap one of those stray cats in your neighborhood and get it vaccinated and neutered? That will be one more free-roaming cat that’s out of the reproduction loop. Maybe you could just send a check to say “thank you”. Anything at all would help.
I know you mean well. I know you mean to say, “I couldn’t work here because my own emotions get in the way of doing what has to be done for the animals, thank you for doing it.”
I came out of the apartment to find one of my neighbors staring out the door. She asked if I’d seen what was done to her car. I hadn’t. Turns out some low life maggots had stolen the wheels and left it up on blocks. Blocks!
I know you’re wanting to smile, but don’t. It’s not funny. This is a sweet old lady who is of retirement age but still has to work to pay the bills. A woman who came out of her home to go to Church and found that some good-for-nothing, should’ve-been-a-blowjob asswipes made it impossible for her to do that.
Taken from my friends page at http://ruffian706.blogspot.com/2007/08/happy-birthday-mt.html:
“Today is my good friend MT’s birthday, so happy birthday to you! You survived long enough to have the privilege of your age no longer starting with a “2”, so congratulations–in another 10 or so months I’ll be right behind you. I think you and I might be the only two people in the world who are happy to reach that milestone.
“At any rate, it’s been, what, five years now since The Nameless Evil was late for public skate but it was so obvious which two people didn’t belong amongst the high school dudes and chickies that we didn’t need her around to make the introduction. Five years, jeez. Five years full of ups, downs, foot surgeries, shoulder surgeries, mmmmonkeys, tears, smiles, hugs, antidepressants, anti-inflammatories, Lower Wildcat backwards, ffffourty-nine, new relationships, new heartbreaks, ciclon, vodka fireballs, ham-cheese-onion-pickle sandwiches on potato bread, 8 cats, 4 tempcats, Buffalo, 9 residences, Patrick the Starfish, and pork fried rice stuffed in a pickle jar. (Just the rice in the jar, not Patrick.) And oh yeah, some hockey in there somewhere too.
“And through it all has been the comfort and knowledge that I have found in you a true, lifelong friend…even if we had to work out a few kinks along the way.
“Just before my birthday this year, someone told me that age 29 marks one of the great times of transition in life–that you truly begin to become the adult that you really want to or will be. I can definitely say that I’ve seen that happen in you over the past year. It hasn’t been an entirely easy year, but as it’s progressed I’ve seen the seeds of real happiness finally firmly taking root for you. My wish for your birthday is that they continue to flourish.
“And by the way, nice lederhosen.”
Thirty doesn’t bother me. I’ve been looking forward to thirty and leaving behind the unremarkable shit that was my twenties. I’m now at a place where I like myself and my life, I’m living by my rules, for me, and I wouldn’t change much, if anything.
What I think will bother me more is being an age that I can remember my parents being. Like thirty six. I was seven when my parents were thirty six, and I remember it. I remember my dad running up the stairs and my mom playing ball outside with us. I remember daily life. When I get to thirty six, I’ll be at an age that I remember my parents being, and maybe that’s part of the definition of old.