Helping rescue animals is addictive. It’s not too hard to figure out why. Seeing an animal go from frightened and abused to happy and well-loved is an incredible high. When you think about how many there are still needing help, and how few there are of you, it’s easy to start over-extending yourself. And as well-intentioned as this may be, you’re no good to anybody if you run yourself ragged. Consider this post your guide to avoiding dogaholics/cataholics anonymous and ending up on Animal Hoarders.
Time: The more animals you take in the more time it takes up; walking, cleaning, grooming, playing, training, vet visits and more. If your circle of friends starts to fade away, or you find yourself neglecting other important duties, consider scaling back the number of animals in your house at one time. Consider also that you have to divide your attention between all these animals as well as your own. Ask yourself – is everybody getting all the one-on-one time they need to be well-socialized and emotionally healthy? How about your lover/roommate/kids? If somebody comes to you asking for cuddles or other attention, are you able to accommodate them?
Money: If you lose your house or can’t pay the rent, where will the poor little dears stay? Make sure you’re not donating so much of your money that you have none left to sustain a reasonable lifestyle for yourself. If you haven’t yet used up all of your free time, consider organizing a fundraiser instead. This is something you can do with friends and family too, which is great because chances are they might kind of miss you by now.
Sanitation: Are the animal beds laundered, the floors washed and vacuumed, and the yard clean, or is the whole thing starting to become a smelly poo-filled mess? Sanitation is extremely important for both you and your critters, so if things are starting to get out of hand you need to take a step back and get things back under control. Nobody wants to get rescued from one filthy house only to end up in another. Clean that shit or scale back your rescue efforts.
Emotions: Yes, it’s an amazing feeling when your foster pet finds their loving forever home. But it can be a painful one, too. Consider it your heart’s growing pains. If you’re not careful it could break. Your animals want you to be happy just as much as you want them to be, so make sure you’re able to keep yourself in a positive state of mind, for their sake and yours. Sometimes you just need a bit of a break, and that’s ok!
For anyone devoted to helping animals in need, you are amazing and I thank you. Let’s support each other by making sure we’ll be able to continue doing so for as long as possible.