11.06.2014

The reason for living

Twice in the past week I've had people question what I do.  I've had a rough week given the euthanasia of a cat I was working with whose behavior made it not possible to find placement for him.  He wasn't mine so it wasn't my decision although I understand it.  But of course it was heartbreaking and I sat in a great deal of sadness when it happened and wished his little soul peace and love in his travels.  I came home that day and cried in bed for a a while.  In the meantime, Simone is doing better and will be up for adoption very soon.  So I feel grateful and that makes me immensely happy.

Simone

^ Simone's first bed ^

There seems to be a sentiment that if something makes me sad, I shouldn't do it. If something takes a lot out of me, maybe it's not worth doing.  I understand that I need to take care of myself but I also understand that my purpose here is to help others and working with animals is the most hands-on way I do that.  If I had to stop doing so, the loss I would feel would make my life fairly pointless.

I honestly believe we're here to help reduce suffering for others and that we all do that in different ways.  I actually started this blog partially as escapism from my work with animals.  I needed a place where it was still "helping" but wasn't draining. But that means a lot of times I just don't bother talking about feelings behind the causes.  Often it's not necessary. But sometimes it is, if only to remember that we all do our part and pay the price in whatever way it manifests.  Maybe I'll start talking about that stuff more.  Even if sadness touches this blog - which I never intended - I'm still glad to have it. 

4 comments:

  1. I know you are pretty private about where you work. But, I am honestly envious that you get to work with animals, even if it is hard. I am sure you are making an incredible difference in the lives of so many.

    I work in a non-profit setting, which is a must for me for a variety of political reasons, but it is not in a field am particularly passionate about. I figure non-profit experience is non-profit experience and hopefully someday this will transfer to more animal centered non-profit work for me.

    Keep up the amazing work and I would love to hear more about it (the ups and downs) and how one can transfer over into the animal world.

    N

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    1. Thank you! I do try to keep work off the blog for a few reasons - 1) professionally it's just the right thing to do; 2) it's got a lot of depth to it and sometimes I feel like I'd have to explain miles of backstory that I'm not really privy to share. Thirdly, legally these are not my animals. The majority of my job is office-type work in service of programs that help animals. The minority is hands on or sometimes field work. I think the balance helps, honestly. I think being able to be around it and learn about programs but not have to be on the front lines all the time helps me handle it mentally. I don't know how shelter staff do it since they have to be in the thick of it every single day.

      I fully understand re non-profit work and I think the experience often transfers over. I think volunteering for causes that you're more aligned with is always helpful. (I ran a small 501c3 non-profit for feral cats before I started my job at my current agency and it helped me better understand the climate of animal welfare so I wasn't coming into it completely blind.)

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  2. So many of the most important, worthwhile things in the world are hard and sometimes painful. I hate to think we'd vital work out of fear of pain.

    Thank you for blogging. Reading your blog over the years has given me plenty to think about, and your example has straightened me out more than once. I know it's tedious taking photos, typing essays, fixing broken links, all that thankless behind-the-scenes junk---- but it makes a real difference.

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  3. Thank you for the poignant post. I totally agree with your point that just because something is sad doesn't mean we should necessarily avoid it.

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