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:
|a.||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.
|b.||That we, somehow, don't get our hearts broken.
|c.||That in order to do this job one has to be either cold hearted or an
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? 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 no where on earth for this creature to go. There is no
cage space, no foster home, limited admission shelters are full. No forever
home. No-where. It is a heartbreaking feeling.
There is a really nice yellow lab mix named Jake. He's 3 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 here for 3 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
There are 10 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. Hearts are breaking
into a million pieces this time.
Will you talk to the woman who brings in a blind, 10 yr old Pek-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 is going to adopt a
10 year old, unhealthy dog? You? No, not me either. I already have four
dogs that were considered unadoptable. 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.
Ok. 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? We are so busy
running the place that we often don't have time. When you come back next
week we won't tell you the final destination of your favorite one if you
don't want to know. We are 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."
There are over 27 Million unwanted animals in US shelters each year...