Some of the most beautiful things to happen in my life recently have come from being more present. I have had to learn how to stop thinking, “This is too good to be true” or ,”It might be going good now, but just wait, the bad times are always just around the corner”. Writing this blog post to share the success of our monthly pet clinic with the SCVMA as well as to share some of the moments that touched my heart, causing me to reflect on the many blessings in my life. I am grateful to be in a state of mind where I am able to have an opinion, such as the importance of spaying and neutering pets, without obsessing on how to reach others so that they may share my opinion. The reality is, and always has been, not everyone is ready or will ever be ready to agree with my viewpoint – and that’s okay. The majority of pet owners truly want what is best for their cat or dog and are open to learning how to accomplish that goal.
Two of the nearly 200 pets who came to our clinic on Sunday arrived in an Access Van. Both had to use walkers and had their cats in carriers. I could see that the cats were nervous so we found a safe spot for them to wait until a veterinarian could meet with them. Upon examining one of the cats, the veterinarian stated the cat was ill and suffering greatly. The kindest option would be humane euthanasia. Amanda, our senior counselor at the Pet Support Space, took the time to explain the process and to listen to the cat owner who, understandably, was really upset. Amanda coordinated a plan for humane euthanasia. I watched from a distance as vet techs hugged and comforted the owner during her time of loss. We may not have known each other well, but we all know what it is like to say goodbye to a beloved pet who is suffering. Everyone involved allowed themselves to be vulnerable in the moment, shedding tears because they genuinely cared.
A similar case involved an 18-year-old Chihuahua. I had been texting with the dog owner’s daughter who explained to me that her mother, who was battling cancer, felt she just could not give up on her senior dog even though he was struggling to eat, could no longer walk, and was most likely suffering. The family realized their little dog was near the end of her life, but it was important to get a professional veterinary opinion and ask some questions. Unfortunately, they could not afford a veterinary exam. As she drove into the clinic, I greeted her and walked her over to the station where she would receive the free veterinary exam. I don’t know what the outcome was because there were more cars lined up waiting to drive in, but that was my job: to keep the line moving to the five stations.
However, I did see the pet owner on their way out and she thanked me. I stopped and became aware of the good feeling I was experiencing. While the situation is a sad one, my ability to care about this little dog and her family, without feeling as though I had to take care of the situation or make everything okay is something that I could not have experienced a year ago. Whatever decision she made or will make with her family is up to her and I trust it will be the best decision for them. I have put a lot of work into myself to not see situations as right or wrong as this limits my ability to be of service to others limits my degree of happiness. To see that I always have choices brings me joy and opens my mind up to seeing situations differently.
When running DDR, I have always been mentally and financially prepared for a time when donations and grants might stop coming in. I went through life as if all the challenges of the program were riding on MY shoulders. It was up to me to “make things happen”. My underlying fear was constant. It was not until I made myself vulnerable by speaking and writing honestly about my fears that I made the conscious choice to ask for and accept help from those who want to support DDR. People like you who believe in the vision that I have for real and lasting positive change. How will those changes continue to happen? One pet owner at a time, one day at a time. Because we all need help sometimes.
Do you identify with this post? Have you or are you experiencing compassion fatigue? Email me at Lori@downtowndogrescue.org I always enjoy reading your comments.
Grateful always for your support,