Recently, I have been struggling with an issue internally. Much like a pebble in a rock polisher, I have been throwing this issue around and around with no simple answer coming to me. After much thought, many tears, and 17 years, I have decided to quit animal rescue. I must say with a heavy heart, I am completely burned out and I have had enough. I can do no more at this time. This has been a decision that I have not taken lightly. I know what animal rescuers do is important, and I mean no disrespect to anyone. I only have to think about myself right now and the animals and people that share my life with me.
I have taken on more dogs and cats then I want to because of pity, guilt, sadness, and because I love to "save" lives. To rescue an animal feels damn good! It is very self serving though, and unfortunately, there comes a point when you have to take a step back and ask yourself, "Why am I doing this? Am I being fair to my family? To my animals?" At this point I would have to say that I am not being fair for a few reasons:
1) We are overwhelmed with the amount of time and energy that goes into running our daily life here. (Not so much the farming aspect, but more the domestic livestock i.e. dogs and cats....) The Reluctant Farmer and I spend countless hours cleaning our house, and just when we think we are done then we start all over again. I fear that our relationship will struggle because of the overwhelming demands of our dogs and cats. In the past I have not listened to my partners when they have expressed their feelings over my rescue cases. In the end it has been my unwillingness to compromise that has ended my marriage and several long term relationships. The Reluctant Farmer has expressed frustration and I will listen. I will not jeopardize this relationship for anything. Period.
2) My house is no longer a place where I can just relax and unwind due to the constant chaos that has become my home. I learned 9 years ago that I am not able to live this way. It is not good for me.
3) The amount of money we spend on dog and cat related expenses in a month is equivalent to my mortgage payment! That is money we could be taking and applying to our debt instead and securing our future.
4) I am tired of hearing the same excuses from owners, and watching as the animals suffer due to their owner's stupidity. It is affecting me and my attitude, and not in a positive manner. I am becoming very jaded and I don't like how it feels.
5) If I listened to my animals, and I frequently do, they are tired of being "rescued". The word "rescued" leads to negative thoughts and connotations that I don't wish to place on my animals. I prefer to think of them in a positive light and refer to them as "adopted".
A friend asked me if I thought I could walk away forever, and I don't know that this is forever. I do know it is for right now. I may at some point, after I have what I consider a more manageable number, volunteer to foster or transport but until I am down to 2-3 dogs and 2 cats this household is full and I need some much deserved downtime. Thanks for understanding.....