As the title of this post implies, it's about the person(s) in your life who you depend on the most. I wrote this section of An Animal Rescuer’s Guide To Staying (Relatively) Sane because I've come across many times in animal rescue when a strong support system was essential. The first time this happened to me was the first time I tried to rescue an animal.
In my last post I told you that my failure to have a network and my lack of experience cost the kitties I was trying to help dearly. As a feral kitty, the mom had apparently never been vaccinated against feline distemper virus. Since she had no immunity to it, she had none to pass on to her babies. A few weeks after I discovered the kitty family under my apartment and started trying to catch them, they all got sick. I didn't realize this at first, of course, all I knew was that I couldn't find them and they didn't show up to eat the food I had been putting out for them. It wasn't until my boyfriend thought to look for them in the crawl space under the apartment that we found them.
They were all very sick by that point, so sick that even the mom didn't run from us when we picked her up. We took them to a vet, but only Longstreet and the mom recovered. It was a hard blow for my boyfriend and me, and we turned to each other for comfort. Without that support, I think we both would have been in a really bad place. Unfortunately, when it comes to animal rescue, situations where you can't do much are all too common. You need a shoulder to help you through those times.
Resources; The Shoulder:
The shoulder is the person you call when your heart is broken or when you have the cutest story that you just have to tell someone. This is the person that you can call at two in the morning when the stray that you have been trying to save for a month has just died. This is the person who will listen when you call for the sixth time for the day to describe the cute antics of your newest rescue. This is the person who will come over and clean your house and make you soup when you are sick. This is the person who will help you pick up the pieces and put them back together when you have broken. This is the person you can pour your heart and soul out to, and who will love you just the same. This is the person who knows where all the bodies are buried because they helped you bury them. They may be a spouse, a significant other, a parent, a sibling, a good friend, or someone from your network. Regardless of who fills this role for you, do not try to go into rescue without them. Rescue is an emotional roller coaster. You will need someone to hold the barf bag for you.
You need to keep track of your resources. In order to be successful in rescue you need to be organized. Make a list of all of the physical things you need (supplies, etc.) and where you are most likely to be able to find them, the cheapest place to find them, and a back-up place to find them. For the people, make sure you keep a detailed list of names, addresses, and phone numbers. Keep both of these lists in a prominent place, so that you will know where they are even in an emergency (when you may be in a panic).