The gut-wrenching choices. The taboo issues we do not all agree on or talk about. Dog rescue workers and animal advocates face considerations of life and death on a daily basis. We cry ourselves to sleep many nights as we wrangle over "what-if?" and "if only. . .”. Yet, we rarely seem to allow ourselves to discuss the inevitable with one another. Questions such as:
What constitutes "quality life" for an animal? Are there instances in which continuing life actually extends suffering?
How do we decide which animals to pull from the shelters? (Choices that may ultimately determine who lives and who dies)
How do we balance quantity of lives saved over quality of lives saved? (boarding? multiple animals per house? animals who do not get along with one another? severely ill animals?)
How do we set limits for ourselves that are in line with our families and best practices. (how do we select whether and how many dogs to foster in our home? how do we make choices for the good of our our own health, our family and our current furry family members?)
What do the animals themselves think and feel?
Answers to these questions fall along a spectrum, with individual opinions varying from one extreme to the other. TABTO seeks to facilitate and encourage reflection around these difficult issues as they are essential to the quality and efficiency of our efforts. From our own experience and observations, it is clear that burnout in such an emotionally intense field of service is likely, as well as high stress that leads to compromised health, challenged relationships, and quality of life challenges for us as individuals.
Let’s be sensitive and kind as we all have varied points of view that matter. Let’s try to find common ground and respect one another. Let’s be forgiving like the dogs and kitties we all love.