I live in a small house and yes, I probably have too many animals; it suddenly got smaller. We bought the house when we had no animals, and lack of wardrobe space was my biggest worry for the masses of material with tags I had accumulated. Today only six of the animals are mine, and the rest are long-term fosters or cats from a rescue where they couldn’t go back to. I often put up posts asking for foster homes but they never come and so it’s a case of ‘getting on with it’ and making the best of a small space with many animals. It’s ironic how people say ‘you can’t take another one’ – well, they never even take just one from me. But, just because I do, doesn’t mean they have to. I’m learning to manage that trigger.
So, a catio twelve feet by eight was put into the garden to give the rescued cats a sense of normality. It took away half the garden from the dogs. So they are given two 45 minute walks a day. The day starts at 6:00 (we are trying earlier) to make sure all the rescues start the day with a clean disinfected space, their meds (if prescribed) and food and toys. Is it easy? No! Is it necessary? Yes! Would I have it any other way? Definitely, yes! But. . . Rescues are overloaded and I think in this house we are reducing the burden for one of the bigger rescuers. The craving for a house out the country is unbearable at times and I find myself stalking other people’s country houses and imagining ‘if only…’ I have now decided to stop ruminating over the people whose selfish and disturbing behaviour feeds into the vicious cycle that is rescue. We exist because their moral compass doesn’t. We exist because a lot of animal owners have serious psychological disturbances, so much so, they use animals to transfer and project their issues onto. We exist because of the greed out there. The greed that says to them, ‘I have to have. . .’ And so they use animals to feed their insatiable selfish needs and wants. Unless you meet them in a therapy room or until the laws are consistently enforced, their behaviour continues with great ease.
This week I had a conversation with someone about ‘if you bring kids into the world…’ well, sometimes you have to deny yourself many things as they have to come first. Time is one of them. I chose or gave in maybe, to foster and rescue and when you sign up to do those two acts, you have to ‘roll with it’ and what it entails. Some rescues do a great job rescuing and then they do a very poor job of maintaining the welfare and well-being of the very animals they have given refuge to. Fortunately, there are just a few of them. It’s not easy to take care of a lot of animals but you make it manageable. You have to manage your own life better to compensate for the time that needs to be given to them. This is another area I’m working on. Yes, you can easily get lost in the rescue world; you can quickly lose sight of ‘your life that was, before rescuing’. It becomes akin to some far off tourist destination that suddenly you don’t mind if you never visit again. Sometimes I find myself even boasting to friends of my life before rescuing – I’m not sure why! But you miss it less and less because your love and drive for animals and their welfare takes over. There is an Arabic word called ‘Zahir’ which means when you become so obsessed with something you forget about everything else. This state is no good for the animals and it is a state I and others must try and avoid ‘full-time’! How do you do that? You move with ease between the two worlds: the rescue world and the world your family and some friends (those that survive your Zahir!) exist in. You stop resenting when they too need time or even when you have to go to work or even go out and socialise. Animals can survive without being a ‘Velcro Rescuer’. If you don’t mind yourself – well, they one day will suffer from your complete love and devotion for them. You will be a shadow of yourself and shadows are of no use to anyone. So, there are times when you have to come off FaceBook, there are times when you have to go out, dress up, and feel human. And there has to come a day when you stop being a tourist to your own life!
It’s hard to be positive amidst the terrible stories of animal cruelty. I’m thinking of the family cat shot in MoonCoin in Kilkenny. I’m thinking of Tiny who was stolen from his loving home in Tipperary. I’m thinking of all the animals held somewhere where their welfare is at risk. I’m over thinking about the recent seizure in West Clare. What could have been is haunting.
The last few days I’ve watched a horse I feed and love dearly limping badly around her field. Unable to halter her meant the vet who came could not examine her. A friend tried but she was not entertaining a human coming near her. This is a mare who up until recently would place her head on my shoulder as I stood by her gate. The last few days she has tried her best to hurt me with kicks and bites. She is angry. The trust I built up with her was snatched by her ‘owners’ and replaced with ‘fear’ – literally overnight by something they did.
On a positive note, my friend visited her yesterday to find her as the previous night at 1am I couldn’t and in my efforts to, I fell down a slope in her area and smashed my phone.
A modern day frustration is unable to answer your i-phone or make a call thanks to a few screen cracks!
But she let him pet her! She’s on her way back to trusting again. And that is gold.
This week I’m also grateful to friends in my life that keep me grounded and that is no easy task! I’m grateful to you for reading this and you never know, this blog might just make the finals in Ireland’s Blog Awards 2018. But we’ll take the shortlist for now!
Typing this at the vets with a little kitten called Joey on my lap purring! It’s really great to be able to be here for kittens just like him. It’s great to just be here.