Our need to be right is sometimes so desperate that it’s willing to step on hearts, minds, esteem, to win that coveted title, ‘I’m right!’ and we all know the silent second part to that loaded statement: ‘you’re wrong!’ What is it with some people and pedestals? Isn’t it lonely and cold up there!
In the rescue, animal loving world however, we do crave certain owners to admit they are wrong so they will do things better, we wastefully wish those in authority would see the wrong and implement the law, and we hold our breaths with hope that the judicial system (if wrong doers actually get there) will set precedences.
But personally I hate the words: right and wrong. And you try go for the win win (habit of highly successful people) because if one side wins, the other person loses, and we can easily be on either side. However, again that feeling gets thrown out the window when it comes to animals: a lot of people do terrible wrong doing when it comes to animals whether consciously or not. You still hope the person you feel wronged or potentially could wrong an animal will say: ‘you know I hear you (when you express concerns) or you know I could have done things differently or will do them differently.’ So much can be said and achieved without that bullet called ‘wrong’. But sometimes people can do things that hurt deeply, or put an animal at risk and you really want to scream ‘that’s wrong!’ or ‘You can’t do that!’ And then when they see no wrong, they try defend the indefensible, and when you challenge that, they often dig deep for ammunition to ‘punish’ you for simply not agreeing with them.
Today, I was on my knees, trying to pull the legs from underneath an ill pony to try get him up; I was alone so I tried to lift him using the base of his tail. And my phone pings and someone tells me what I’ve done over the last ten years is wrong and basically all rescuers are ‘s@@@e’ which is a very inaccurate generalisation. How many of us would be without family members only for rescuers? There were so many wrongs outlined that I actually took a minute to get my breath as their accusations began to blur all I did that was not wrong.
In counselling we don’t pull away some way of doing things from someone unless we can offer something to replace it. You can’t tell people you can’t do that or this, or you can’t think this or that without suggesting other things to do or other ways to think about things that are more beneficial. Often people not in rescue have all these theories and judgements how we should operate, but yet never will offer another practical way of doing things. They definitely will not say ‘I would let them die!’ because if it wasn’t for feeding they would or they would be the walking dead. It’s horrific to watch and I have. I have seen emaciated ponies struggling to move; I have seen carcasses beneath them. I have set in the blackest nights, on freezing ground, holding foals as they passed away. I rang all the numbers that are meant to help: nobody did or does. I’ve gone into areas when the Guards refused to help, and I can say this: I have a type of trauma from what I witnessed or the threats made to my life. Six men surrounded me on one occasion when I fought for a foal they bet up, they told me they would rape me and kill me. Another man told me he would have me ‘fixed’ but would sit under a camera in supermacs and have someone else ‘fix me’. I could go on. You see, rescues are often the last people left that offer hope for abused animals. Ask anyone who has rang the welfare number in the department of agriculture to make a complaint or ask anyone who asked a Guard to act, you will be met with ‘they did nothing!’ Well, in 12 years one Guard did help me get a dog out from a life of hell.
So this person told me all I did and was doing is wrong in the worst kind of way, never once acknowledged all the work that saved lives or alleviated suffering. Never acknowledged all the photos they sent to me of starving horses over the years for ME to do something about. The person they view as doing everything wrong.
When I post an animal the authorities have let down or won’t do anything about I get lots of messages offering money to buy the animals but you exhaust all other avenues before you have to walk down that one. You see our country is OK with animals suffering and dying. Death from starvation is a slow painful one. And you feed to keep them alive hoping that one day they will be seized or sold on to a better owner. Or the perfect scenario is a surrender which often happens. Yes, I have bought horses, and exchanged hay for a dog chained to a fence who was used to a life on the couch before being sold on DoneDeal. In the last 10 years, I have bought 5 horses/foals and rescued well over 140. What happened some I reported and didn’t buy, some died and some barely lived. Anyway today I was blamed for Dawn’s death. Because we fed her herd. We didn’t sever her tendons. But we did go and get her back to put her to sleep in the end. We went to an area where we were at risk. No Guards ever attend when you go to these types of areas. She had been sold on – whether we feed or not, some will be sold on from this area covered with carcasses of dead horses because they starved to death. We had to buy back Dawn from the person who bought her. He was a child!
I’m not saying I’m right but I’m doing all I can to alleviate suffering, to save lives. If anyone can come up with a better solution in the absence of law enforcement please share it with me. I am open to it as right now I’m barely managing with the level of cruelty crossing our paths here. We all know the law isn’t enforced; we all know rescuers are picking up the pieces. What I didn’t realise until now is this: how cruel people can be – cruel when they know you are surviving on little sleep, lost the roof over your head because of rescue work, know how you have knocked on doors that refuse to enforce the law. Knowing all that – they still fill their mindless chamber with wrong and shoot and keep shooting.
But all I know is this, if you the reader was starving, I would feed you, if you were suffering I would try help you, and if money could buy your freedom from pain and suffering, I would give you all I had. Like lots of you reading this would.
Yes, today, I was put on a dart board and the person typing the words had no regard for the affect, no regard for the pony fighting to live here, no empathy. All because I didn’t want a dog to go to a friend of theirs. All because I expressed upset that this person would want a dog going there. A place that could shut the sanctuary if it ever got out I sent a dog there. And because I did that, I got punished. I had problems, issues…. (gaslighting) – even though I clearly said what my issue was: disappointed and shock.
One day I brought a vet to see a pony eating ragwort and he said the pony will die here: offer them a few quid, he says. I didn’t have to in the end when I told the owners he was dying. So you see when most of us see a dying animals, we will want to do something about it. Even that vet knew it was futile ringing authorities. He said, ‘they don’t want the hassle!’
I don’t want to be right. I don’t want to be wrong. I don’t want to rescue either. I don’t want this life: I don’t have a life. I’m that person ‘someone do something!’ that at least tries. Like lots of people out there. So when a person tells me all these things I did wrong, I think of all the horses, donkeys, cats, dogs, rabbits, pigs that I rescued, rehomed, or have here and they are my ‘right’. They are my right to say ‘I did something right!’
After all is said and done, I’m left with these words that the sender can’t take back. It’s like writing them on a piece of paper and tearing into pieces and throwing them out the window: it’s hard to take them back.
I’m not just tired anymore, I’m exhausted, I’m not just poor, I actually have nothing. I had a promising career, now I can only work two days a week. The last decade of feeding, transporting, rescuing, vet fees would have bought me a small house. It cost me a house. The work continues; it will always. But it’s terribly cruel to be hated for trying to help animals cruelty treated or let down by humans. To be hated is actually exhausting. Hate often grows from seeds of right or wrong. And that’s why in most cases it’s better to find that place between right and wrong and meet people there.