Before I write any further, I wanted to thank everyone that commented or sent me private emails pertaining to my concerns and fears for my son. If you missed it, you can read about it here. I've read him many of your supportive comments and emails. Many of you shared some pretty private stuff. So far, he's doing ok and remains with us and out of contact with his abusive girlfriend.
Can't I just go back to buying Ninja Turtle stuff and Pokemon cards? I miss those days.
It was a rough day. Our "Melvin" passed away. You can read about him here. I always grieve for every loss of little life. But it's been a while since I sobbed after authorizing his euthanasia this afternoon. Losing Melvin really hurt. I guess I put myself too far out on an emotional limb. Maybe I've just been too stressed. Who knows? But if you had met Melvin, you would've loved him too. His vet bills will be in the thousands of dollars. Ugh :(
Lately, there's been lots of talk on social media sites about several "rescues" that shouldn't be calling themselves "rescues". Some people are starting a rescue of their own. But you need more than just a name to start a rescue.
Let me tell you what you're buying into:
1. You'll be financially and emotionally responsible for EVERY cat and EVERY volunteer in your organization.
2. You'll need to be available 7 days per week and 24 hours per day.
3. Looking for volunteers? Good luck with that - so is every animal rescue organization. What makes you think you're so special?
4. YOU will be the only one that can say, "Yes, I authorize the euthanasia." and accept the consequences of those actions. You'll have to deal with your own grief and those of the volunteer that has loved him.
5. After you've spent THOUSANDS of dollars on a kitten that has died anyway, you'll have to sit and wonder if you made the right decision. Think of the cats you could've saved with that money!
6. Then you realize: He was worth every penny.
7. People will get angry with you. They'll adopt a wonderful, healthy cat who will get sick two weeks after adoption and they'll blame you. They'll want their money back. They'll want to give back the cat. They'll threaten to tell all their friends how shitty YOUR rescue is, and it'll be your job to professionally choke back what you REALLY want to say and give them their money back so you can bring back the cat into your rescue and away from those assholes who shouldn't have adopted him anyway.
8. You'll need money. LOTS of money. Money for spays and neuters, vaccinations, deworming, and vet exams. There will be worried foster parents that will call you at 2 am about a limping kitten and x-rays that will be needed. There will be "Melvins" that cost thousands of $$'s and you can't say that you don't have the money to treat him. The cat AND the volunteer that loves him are counting on YOU to make sound financial decisions for the rescue to insure that there is always enough money for emergencies.
9. Of course, you'll want your adoption fee to include the spay or neuter surgery. If you're a legitimate rescue and are concerned about cat overpopulation, you'll insist on it. Who is going to pay the vets?
10. Ah yes. Our hardworking veterinarians! They deserve to get paid on time. How quickly your bills will add up!! It's always more than you think it's going to be. Our rescue has 22 affiliated veterinarians to insure that ALL of our volunteers and adopters have a clinic nearby.
11. Your family won't be happy because the calls will come in during movies, dinners, and family events. They'll glare at you as it rings....AGAIN. You can turn off your cell phone, but you know it'll be ringing and the voicemails will be waiting for you. Your heart will always be thinking about who might be calling.
12. Bookkeeping. Yes, Revenue Canada (Canadian IRS) will want to know what you're doing. Even if you're not a Registered Canadian Charity, you'll still have to keep track of your accounts. Don't know the difference between a credit and a debit? That's a shame. Find somebody who does.
13. How will all these cats that you're rescuing get adopted? Sure, you want to help them all. People will constantly call you. You'll have to learn to say "no". Your heart will hurt when they ask you to rescue a black cat and you already have 20 in your program. Foster parents will wonder why THEIR foster cat hasn't been adopted.
14. Think this isn't a business? Think again.
15. Just as you think things are organized and you have a moment to breathe, one of your foster parents will need a break and a cat will need to be moved, or an adopted cat is being returned because it's pee'ing on the couch. Of course, the adopter didn't get the urine tested! You'll have to pay for that when the cat comes back!
Believe me - I've barely scratched the surface. I'm sure those who are reading could add to this list - please do!!!
Negative post tonight? Maybe. But don't let it fool you - Cat rescue has been by far the most rewarding thing I've ever done with my life. I love the people that I work with and I wake up each day wondering who will be adopted and who I can help. I'm frustrated, frightened and my anxiety is always peaked. But I wouldn't trade my life for anything.