Sunday, September 22, 2013

Balancing Compassion and Reality

Summers at the SPCA are challenging.  We have more dogs running at large than any other time of year and we have an unmanageable number of stray and unwanted cats.  How does one cope?

Our staff is full of compassionate and caring animal lovers.  Why else would they work for low wages with great emotional strain?  So it becomes a daily battle to walk the line of compassionate care for both the animals and the individuals who we deal with.

It can be difficult when faced with individuals with unrealistic expectations.  I have many answers go through my head when people call or come to the shelter.  here a a few examples I have been faced with and the thoughts I had.

You don't want your 12 year old cat anymore because it isn't getting along with the rest of the cats?  Did you take it to a vet?  Don't want to spend the money? And you want us to find a new home for your cat?  Is that fair to a 12 year old cat?  Our shelter is completely full.  If you bring in a 12 year old cat it will be euthanized.  Is that your first choice?

Your dog jumps on you and your visitors and you can't deal with it any more.  Did you try a dog training class?  You don't have the time?  Then you shouldn't have a dog because there is some work required.

Your five year old child will not take care of the guinea pig.  Does your five year old cook her own meals and wash her own laundry?  If not, can you really expect a five year old to take care of a living creature without adult supervision?

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