Puppy Forum and Dog Forums banner

1 - 12 of 12 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
109 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
This is mainly just a rant/rambling but I'm sure many here can relate.

Anyway, my wife and I just adopted our first dog together back in April. We have since become somewhat involved with the rescue we got the dog from as well as the local shelter (donations, volunteering, etc.). And lately I'm just wondering if I'm cut out for this. I consider myself a pretty tough guy for the most part but I've always had a real soft spot for animals.

It's just so hard seeing all of these animals who deserve great homes (and I'm talking mainly about the shelter now), and knowing that most of them won't make it. Last month, our local shelter had 350+ intakes and just shy of 250 euthanized animals. That number is just staggering, and very sad.

Now, there is this little dog at the shelter whose time is almost up. I feel a real connection to her for some reason. Maybe it's just because I feel so bad for her? She looks sad most of the time (until you get her outside), like she knows her time is almost up. And the poor thing is certainly not the prettiest dog you'll ever see, so I just know if I don't take here no one else will. She's been passed up time and time again.

So my problem is this, I can't decide whether or not to take her. My brain is telling me no (not the right time for a new addition) but my heart is telling me yes. And I'm wondering if by taking her I'll be setting a dangerous precedent of getting too close to these animals and before I know it I'm going to end up with a house full and extremely overwhelmed. That's why I'm wondering if I'm cut out for volunteering.

I guess my question to those who volunteer is this, how do you put your emotions aside in these situations? I realize there's probably no magical answer. But do you just get used to it after awhile? As of right now it feels like a lose-lose situation. I feel I'd be doing the animals a disservice by stopping volunteer work just to spare my feelings. But on the other hand I don't want to be routinely depressed over situations I can't control either.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10,186 Posts
I have no advice for you, but I do sympathize. I still feel terrible about the dogs we didn't take 7 months ago. Picking one dog felt like condemning the others to death, and I feel guilty for it. I also feel guilty because I know I could, in terms of time, space and finances, foster a dog, but I don't because I couldn't handle it.

I really respect you for helping at the shelter. It's a wonderful thing you're doing.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,116 Posts
Is it possible for you to become a foster? Or maybe focus on administration needs and applications for the current animals the rescue has. That way you could stay connected to the animals who get to start a new life instead of the ones who don't make it. I volunteered at a shelter before but at least I had the comfort of knowing there was a VERY low euthanasia rate, I can't imagine what it would be like with the odds you are describing.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12,761 Posts
You're cut out, but maybe your energy should be refocused. Instead of putting your energy into the animal(s), put your energy into advertising these dogs to the public. The rescue may be doing what they can, but there likely is a gap that you can fill. And, since you're familiar with the dog(s), who better to speak up for them? I trust you'll be more encouraged, if by your efforts, the out-take numbers are improved.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,122 Posts
I don't any one ever really gets used to it, and so far, it's still hard on me, BUT the it's all worth it to me when one gets to go to a new home.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
41 Posts
There are tons of ways to help even if you are not in a position to adopt (and you can only take in so many dogs anyway!) Shelters and rescues are always in great need of volunteers. Shelters need people to come walk the dogs, interact with the dogs, sometimes help clean and stuff as well. Some need volunteers to get good photos of the dogs (photos help them get adopted) and maybe even help with a web page or Facebook page.

Rescues are ALWAYS in need of foster homes but there are again, many other ways to help. They need volunteers to help drive here and there (bring dogs to appointments, transports, pick up donations, etc. etc. etc.), help at fundraisers, help with the website, with taking photos of the dogs, with more administrative tasks, etc. etc. etc.

There is a never ending stream of dogs in shelters and rescues. It's seems to have been a particularly bad summer, shelters are so full they have to put dogs to sleep and rescues are so full they have long waiting lists :(
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,511 Posts
Yeah I don't know if I could take it volunteering at a shelter where dogs get euthanized. I do volunteer with a no-kill rescue so once they pull those dogs and cats from shelters they are safe until they are adopted or cared for at the shelter or in foster homes until they die. Any medical issue that comes up is always treated to the fullest extent. Makes it easier for me knowing that any dog I bond with will be well cared for until their forever home is found, no matter how long that takes. My foster dog spent just over 2 years at the shelter before I started fostering him just over a month ago.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
281 Posts
Many of the dogs in shelters are there because the person bought/adopted the dog because of an emotional choice, not a logical choice, where they had thought it through and made sure they could actually handle a dog and know what they were getting into.
That's how you put your emotions aside. If you do adopt the dog make sure you can actually handle it for the rest of it's life and you won't have to take it back to the shelter.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
109 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
Thanks for all the input everyone.

Many of the dogs in shelters are there because the person bought/adopted the dog because of an emotional choice, not a logical choice, where they had thought it through and made sure they could actually handle a dog and know what they were getting into.
That's how you put your emotions aside. If you do adopt the dog make sure you can actually handle it for the rest of it's life and you won't have to take it back to the shelter.
Yes, I am definitely very aware of the responsibility. If I take this dog I will be in it for the long haul. She would not be going back to the shelter under any circumstances.

After much thought, here's what I think I'm going to do.... I'm going to contact a few rescues in the area and see if they'd be willing to pull her if I agree to foster and cover food/med costs myself. And if she works out in our household I'll keep her for good. If no rescues are willing, then I'm probably just going to take her anyway. But after this I'm going to make a rule that I can't take in any more until one of my current ones go (as much as I don't want to think about that).

I really can't explain it but for some reason I just feel a real connection with this dog. I'll be devastated if she doesn't make it. Especially knowing I could have saved her. I feel like I have to do something.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,779 Posts
. . . .I guess my question to those who volunteer is this, how do you put your emotions aside in these situations? I realize there's probably no magical answer. But do you just get used to it after awhile? As of right now it feels like a lose-lose situation. I feel I'd be doing the animals a disservice by stopping volunteer work just to spare my feelings. But on the other hand I don't want to be routinely depressed over situations I can't control either.
There are many facets in life that we all can face burn out . . . those that work with challenged children, or foster or are in the social work or psychology arena . . . and I believe the only way forward often is the knowledge that you are doing the best you can (and do it), and that you cannot save them all. You have to take pride in the ones that you have helped and keep them in mind. If you have saved ONE dog be proud.

Even with that in every one of those areas there is knowledge that burn out often comes early, and breaks or professional changes are often needed for the sake of sanity. I believe those working with animals also need to acknowledge and understand this and give themselves a break when it is needed.

SOB
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10,837 Posts
You don't. I work for a "no kill" rescue and even if no one is dying because their time ran out, it's not any more up lifting to see the same dog sit for months and months in the kennel waiting to be adopted or placed in foster. It's even more depressing when you know they're good dogs and there is no logical reason they're being passed over. Part of my job is putting up two, and only two (because we just don't have the foster homes for it), dogs for foster at a time and it's beyond hard to pick who gets to be put up even when it doesn't guarantee immediate foster. There are dogs that behaviorally need the foster home and don't show/do well in the kennel, but then there are the dogs that have been there SO long they just need the break.

You can definitely be the bridge for that shelter. If they don't have a foster program, find rescues that will pull if a foster exists (you) and you can start imploring other people to pull and/or foster. Facebook is great because there are SO MANY pages, like Pet Pardons, that really get dogs moving out of kill shelters. Try to make connections with pages like that and start getting the dogs out of time out there where others can see them. Transport is pretty easy to work out in the grand scheme of things, so if you do the leg work by getting the word out about the dogs you CAN help them move along.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,249 Posts
You have the exact same issue I have, which is why I stopped volunteering at animal shelters. For me, it was emotional torture to witness so many animals that deserved so much better get passed up day after day, only to end up being killed. And there was absolutely nothing I could do, because I was already doing everything I could.

I have no real advice for you. These days, it still gets to me despite not having been in a shelter in ages. I just try to concentrate on the dogs that I do have, and try to give them the best loving home I can.
 
1 - 12 of 12 Posts
Top