It seems as though the last month for me has been this huge learning opportunity. I'm not complaining; not even close. I mean, I am the girl with a BA and a massage diploma and I've applied to get my MSc in the fall, but this is a different kind of learning; not book learning.
My biggest sources of learning have come from building the Blogville PAWTY participation pages and the Labrador Retriever Rescue that I have recently started volunteering with. Again, both have been different lessons, but I think it's interesting to note that one can learn without even knowing it's happening.
Take the Blogville PAWTY for example. I had no idea I could actually maneuver a computer well enough to make something like this happen. I am absolutely amazed that it's all working. *Knock on wood*. However, I have also learned a whole lot about Pay Pal that I wasn't completely aware of before starting out and there are features that I should have used in order to keep things more organised. So, if you send me donations and I email you back asking what you purchased, don't think it's your fault. It's a design flaw that I will know how to fix next time. I think this experience is going to teach me how to keep very clear and concise records. See? More learning. :)
With LRRS I have learned that handling humans is way harder than dogs. Okay, not every human-I have been absolutely awe struck at the kindness and enthusiasm that this wonderful blogging community has shown towards this PAWTY and helping Dog Foster Mom-but some humans for sure.
There is one client I was asked to work with as she is located closer to me than to C. Her dog was exhibiting classic symptoms of separation anxiety, but after some probing questions I realised that it was partly separation anxiety, but also boredom. I wrote up a plan for this individual to implement to help the dog, but she decided to re-home him anyway. I respect that she knew that she could not give him what he needed, but not two days after talking to C about re-homing him she contacted me to find her a crate because he had chewed up a window sill. I told her that finding a free crate was not likely, but offered to assess him so that we could get him into a foster or forever home faster and have not heard back from her. I had also said that I could look up pet shops in her area and price out appropriate crates for her. Her non-responsiveness strikes me as kind of strange.
Second example is of a person leaving a desperate message on the Facebook page asking for an emergency foster home for an 8 week old puppy. Mr. K said I could foster the pup and so I asked her to contact me. She replied by saying that a visit to the vet had fixed the problem and that the pup was good now.
Was she giving a puppy to a foster home because it was sick?
I am so confused.
I guess I was just surprised that people try to take advantage of a non-profit, rescue organisation. After talking with C about both situations, I began to realise that I have a lot to learn about rescue;not everyone who comes to the rescue for help,, want it, or they at least don't want what you are offering.
At first, I had felt like I had failed the dog with separation anxiety/boredom destructive behavior, but I quickly realised that, as in most things, people cannot be helped if they actually don't want it. I have learned, very quickly, that I can definitely use my heart and feel for these dogs and people, but I also have to think with my brain and make informed decisions. I was all prepared to go off and find a free crate, but C made some logical arguments that illustrated to me that it wasn't necessarily my responsibility in this particular situation. However, C is very good at assessing each individual case and so maybe next time, finding a free crate is what needs to be done.
So, what have I taken away from all of this?
Be compassionate, but make sure to think logically.
Be willing to help, but know that some people just don't want help and that is not my fault.
Some people in this world are slightly questionable, but then there are others, such as those in Blogville, who are the warmest/most fantastic people in the world.
I need to have good record keeping skills! :)