I’ve decided to take a break from fostering.

It’s not that I’m fed up with the unruly dogs. It’s not that it’s taking up too much of my free time. It’s not that it’s too hard to let them go. It’s not a feeling of helplessness that no matter how many I save so many more are dying.
It’s the other people in the rescue. It’s the constant negativity. Every conversation is problem-oriented. Animal rescue brings me so much joy. I can’t understand why everyone is so focused on the negative instead of how good it feels when we change that negative into something better.

And it’s not just the negativity. Then there is the complete lack of compassion for humans. When a person returns a dog the immediate reaction is to assume they are stupid, worthless pieces of garbage. There is no moment to consider any other possibility. I am of the mind that until proven otherwise, I’m going to assume the best. Assuming the worse doesn’t change anything that has happened or stop something bad from happening in the future, it just puts mean, negative energy into the group.
Sometimes people are garbage. But even so, should we spend energy talking about what a piece of garbage that person is or should we be happy that the dog is no longer with them and focus on how to help the dog?

Is anything accomplished by wallowing in the negative or bashing other people?
I feel like I’m being dragged down into a black hole of despair every time I get on the private facebook group.

I suppose by writing this I, myself, am wallowing in the negative and bashing other people. I just don’t know what to do. I don’t know how to distance myself from the energy I don’t want in my life. I know I can’t change the people around me but I can change the people I choose to be around. But if I’m no longer around those people can I still rescue dogs?

I’m reminded of a quote from the incredible, the incomparable Amy Poehler  “I want to be around people that do things. I don’t want to be around people anymore that judge or talk about what people do. I want to be around people who dream, and support, and do things.”

I know I’ll go back. I know that no matter how bad it gets, helping the dogs feels so good that I’ll put up with the humans who make me so upset that I can’t eat. I just need to refresh, reboot, and refocus. It just sucks that people have to be so mean.

If you have any advice or motivation, I welcome it enthusiastically.

4 thoughts on “Refocus

  1. My sister fosters dogs and I really admire that people do that. I’m snuggling as I type with my 6 month old puppy that I adopted from a foster program and I am so obsessed with her and so grateful that she didn’t die at the pound. That being said, I will never forget when a family returned a dog that my sister had been fostering. Her organization spent so much time hating on these people that I found it really strange. They almost didn’t let me adopt my puppy because when asked if there was any situation where I would need to give up the dog I said if she was aggressive with my 4 year old. Apparently they think under no circumstance is it ok to not keep an animal so I hear you on your frustration!

    • Thank you! Every time someone understands my frustration the pain and confusion is a little less. Sometimes people in rescue forget that there was a time they didn’t have a huge support group helping them deal with difficult animals.
      I’m sorry if anyone made you feel unworthy. I’m sure you’re a wonderful adopter.

  2. Last week I messaged the rescue we got Winrey from to tell them how happy we are with her. After about a month of really awful behavior (that I’d been keeping them up to date on), we managed to work through the worst of it and make her a real part of our family. When I sent that message, the glowing thanks I got was just overwhelming. They see some of the ugliest cases I’ve heard of – dogs just abused and neglected to an insane degree. And finally, they had a story about a family that took in a biter and actually worked with her instead of giving up.

    I got 2 things from the experience – 1) you are making a HUGE difference in the lives of animals. Every dog you help save – not home, save- gets a better life because YOU gave it a chance. Horribly behaved, scared, whatever, you didn’t give up on them. And 2) in the midst of all the returns, you will find the good families. The families you want to focus on and remember every time someone gives up to soon.

    It sounds like your rescue has lost sight of the animals in the midst of some bad people behavior. If you really want to try and change it, I would just try to be the beacon of happiness – remind them of the good families, only talk about the animals, ignore them when they say ugly things and change the subject to the dogs. But I think it’s a good decision to step back and re-energize yourself. I know your tolerance for crazy people is low…but let your love of the puppies overwhelm it whenever possible.

    I don’t know if that was helpful. But you’re pretty amazing, and you shouldn’t forget that.

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