What do you do when you find a hurt or abandoned animal somewhere?
Maybe – but I hope not – you are one of those people who can just ignore them. You walk by and – perhaps with some trouble – forget about that cat or dog or bird. Of course, it’s quite possible that you’re not always able to actually do anything. Have you ever experienced coming across a hurt, hungry or abandoned dog or cat in a foreign country, for instance? Or perhaps you were in a situation where there were just too many cases to do anything about. For me, these are horrible experiences, and I try to avoid them – among other ways by avoiding places where stray animals are rampant. I just can’t handle it.
But what if you find animals closer by, in your own country, or your hometown, and you have the chance to do something? If you’re a caring person, a friend of animals, you’ll act. Usually, acting will involve bringing one or more other people into the situation. You may enlist other people’s help because they are more able to deal with the problem than you. In those cases, by all means call someone else to the rescue. But – and this is my point – try to avoid calling in the help of a caring person for things that you can do yourself.
You see, the caring people are the ones that everyone is calling on. They are the ones who can’t say no. They help find homes for animals and they nurse them back to health. They are the ones bringing animals to shelters or to the vet. They are the ones who can’t live with the the thought that if they don’t do anything, chances are no one else will. And, they are exhausted, from so much caring.
I see all of this with my own girlfriend, Melanie. She has a day job at a vegan organization, and co-runs a cat rescue organization (check here) after hours. She’s a person who basically can’t say no to any request for her help. There are on average at least four foster cats or kittens in our house temporarily (apart from our six permanent cats and two dogs). My girlfriend will do anything to find great homes for these cats, and help them when they are wounded or sick. She’s usually at the vet a couple of times a week. As I write this, she is trying to nurse a little kitten who had been abandoned along a canal (something needs to be done about people doing that) back to health. The last few days, she has been feeding the kitten and administering medication all through the night, setting her alarm so that she awakes every three hours. And, all this is nothing compared to the heartbreak she will experience if the kitten doesn’t make it.
People who are known to care about animals, or who are running a small or larger animal sanctuary, often find animals at their door. It seems like it’s a good thing when people have at least the decency to leave animals they find in the care of someone who is caring, but it’s actually very problematic.
People like my girlfriend and many others, who are angels for the animals, are really not waiting for one more phone call from a person who found a kitten somewhere and who is asking them to take care of it. They are hoping the responsibility for all these unfortunate creatures can be shared as much as possible.
So, please don’t call in a caring person because you just don’t have the time to take the animal temporarily into your house. Please don’t call them to bring the animal to a rescue center or organization or a vet if you can do that yourself. Please do what you can do, yourself, and don’t count on someone who’s supercaring.
Let’s all take a little bit of responsibility, so that everyone can relax from time to time.