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:
1) 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.
2) That we, somehow, don't get our hearts broken.
3) 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? Our hearts are
completely torn out and we just can't kill one more. 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. No forever home.. nowhere. 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 there
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 do?
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. They're breaking into a million
pieces this time.
Will you talk to the woman who brings in a blind, 10 yr old
bad skin and says "Don't kill her! Find her a good home!" Oh
puhleeeeze. We can't find homes for the healthy 1 yr olds, who's 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 it's 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 disposition of your favorite one if you don't want to know. We are,
after all, 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
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."