Hey Everyone!! :-)
I'm back with more of the Animal Rescuer's Guide To Staying (Relatively) Sane! :-) Today I'll be starting the Some Things You Need To Come To Terms With And/Or Remember section. It's basically common sense, but sometimes we all need to be reminded of the obvious. :-)
Speaking of reminding, I was going through some old pictures and was reminded of this cutie. He'd gotten a little bigger in this picture, but this kitten came to me when he was only three weeks old. His favorite pastime was attacking toes...especially first thing in the morning. As a result, he was dubbed "The Creature Who Lurks Under The Bed" or Creature for short.
Creature had a shaky beginning. One of my neighbors at the time had obtained him from someone who was giving out kittens in front of a local grocery store. He was far too young to be separated from his mom, but one thing you'll learn in animal rescue is that ignorance is rampant. Unfortunately, my neighbor was equally ignorant and was trying to feed him adult dog kibble. Since Creature was just a baby, he wasn't able to eat the large pieces of kibble.
Even if he had been able to eat it, dog kibble doesn't have the right nutrient balance for cats. Cats who are fed dog food exclusively will eventually die from a nutrient deficiency, so if you have cats please feed them cat food. Kittens especially, as growing babies, need to be fed properly.
The end result, was that Creature wasn't doing all that well when my neighbor came to me and asked me to take him. But a couple weeks of mushed canned kitten food mixed with kitten milk replacer and goat's milk perked him up again. Once he had recovered and was old enough to be neutered, Creature went to his forever home.
Some Things You Need To Come To Terms With And/Or Remember:
1. You are human. That means you cannot be everywhere at the same time or do everything for everyone. If you try, you will burn out. Plain and simple. You must know your limits and be able to enforce them. Which leads nicely into number 2.
2. You MUST learn to SAY NO. This is a vital skill in rescue. When people find out that you are a rescuer they will ask you to do the most absurd and impossible things. Say no. If someone asks you to take an animal when you are already at capacity, say no. If someone asks you to take an animal that is of a species that you are not familiar with or not comfortable with, say no. If someone asks you to drop everything you are doing so that you can run over to their house immediately and pick up some puppies that they have because they bred their dog and she died in labor and now they have these newborn puppies that need constant care and attention and it is inconvenient because they want to go out to dinner but of course they couldn’t think of paying you anything to cover the care of the puppies because they are just so broke (yes, this actually happened), say no. Saying no is an essential skill for a rescuer, so learn how to do it. Don’t let anyone guilt you into taking on more than you can handle. You have ABSOLUTELY nothing to feel guilty for. Anything you are doing you are doing out of the goodness of your heart, not because you are responsible for doing it. So when you are doing all that you can, that is enough. Realizing this is sometimes easier said than done, but no less important for that. Just remember, if you try to help too many or too much, you won’t be able to help any at all.