‘. . . there will come a day when we won’t remember all the things we bought, or the cars we drove, but the people and animals important to us.’
I think this MayDay for Animals will be a poignant one. This one is to honour, remember and celebrate every rescuer in this country and the voluntary work they undertake. A worthy group. A network of people bonded together by a need to alleviate suffering and to rescue animals from cruel situations. They are the co-operative net that is trying to prevent the total collapse of animal welfare in this country! What would animals in need do without them? Everyday I am privileged and humbled to not just witness the heroic and spirited work they face everyday whether on Facebook or in real life, but also in private groups you witness the constant planning and plotting to rescue animals that can not be shared publicly; you are in awe of their pooling of what little resources they have, whether it is financial or actual space. Their frustration and exhaustion draws your tears and casts you onto a platform of complete disgust and anger towards the authorities casting these rescuers into the very crisis they won’t fix or even attempt to.
The first MayDay for Animals in Ireland was for all the animals who suffered terribly on the Myshall Puppy Farm. I think the pictures that came from this place are etched forever within us. It’s important we never forget because to-date no sentence has been handed down to the owner.
There is another protest planned outside Cavan County Council’s offices – they continue to license factory-like puppy farms who blatantly deny animals the 5 freedoms which are legitimised in our animal welfare legislation! It is either apathy or for financial gains that they are turning their backs on the puppy cries from tombs or dark kennels! What else could it be?
In the fields of medicine to heal or help we must first diagnose, and in psychology, to alleviate mental disturbance or stress, we must look at what is really going on! So, in the turbulent field of rescue work, how do we fix this? What is really going on in this country that we have come to this point of ‘no return’. It seems like the animal welfare crisis will be a battle that will outlive our lifetimes. We are lucky to have so many empathetic and selfless people taking on those who are without any of these qualities! Will the next generation be the same?
There is a real sickness within someone who has no regard for the suffering of another! Yes, it is a diagnostic criteria for sadism. So are we now living side by side with many sadists everyday of our lives?
What do we do as everyday ordinary people? We keep reporting people who break the relevant law! We try get someone to intervene; we never give up! Never. We must get those people who are authorised to enforce the law, to do just that!
I often hear the words, ‘Catriona, you could have been something!’ or ‘you’d have a new car only for what you put into animals!’ or ‘Are you crazy?’ I never reply, because I know my answers. I am something to them; I have never been so fulfilled only for them; I am not crazy, because I have a real purpose in life. With rescue work, you don’t have time to stay inside your own head with irrational thoughts or unnecessary worries! You are constantly living in the present, day by day. In rescue even when you are alone, really alone in the dark night, sometimes on your knees crawling through a ditch – you are never alone, because somewhere else, there is another rescuer driving through the night to maybe catch a frightened dog, there is a rescuer maybe loading a horse abandoned on the road or there is another one setting up a trap to catch a cat who only arrives somewhere at 2am. Yes, there is sometimes a friendship that does not require names or meetings. The rescue friendship requires none of that. Friendships can be formed through a common cause and saving lives is probably the most worthy one. I count this as my real job, my other ‘paid job’ is secondary!
I remember about two years ago, a fellow rescuer had absolutely nothing left to buy hay. I read the post out loud to another rescuer. Both of us had empty pockets that week after spending what we had on various things like hay, travel or vet fees. But, we checked a PayPal account set up for rescue work and we had twenty euros left and without thinking we sent the twenty to her! The following week we ran into a huge transport bill to get rescue horses to safety and the first money we received to help – was thirty euros from the rescue we helped the week previously! Yes, it’s constantly juggling, sacrificing, and thinking out loud! But look at all the rescue dogs walking in the sun today; look at all the rescued and pound horses in green paddocks today, and look at all the neutered rescued cats curled up in gardens or in baskets! Isn’t the juggling worth it?
On May the 1st I will be flying many white ribbons for all the rescuers who helped me rescue animals! I will be celebrating the inspirational work of every rescue who keeps going when there isn’t one cent left in their accounts or not one space; whose constant mantra is: room for one more!
Please, this MayDay, remember them! x