"The deepest essence of human nature consists of self-preservation, aggression, need for love, and the impulse to attain pleasure and avoid pain". -Sigmund Freud
My work rescuing dogs has really reinforced how true this statement is. Humans have a natural greed to put themselves first and their own needs first. We see this everyday in the way people treat their animals. In no way am I saying that everyone is like this because if they were, there would be no animal rescues. There would be no one dedicating their time to advocate for animals that so badly need it.
When I first learned of this in one of my college classes, it really put things into perspective for me. All the frustrations I felt about people's lack of willingness to help, finally made sense to me. Before I didn't understand why someone would for instance drive by a dog who had been struck by a car and was left on the roadside to suffer. Some people would probably pass and want to help, but not badly enough to actually follow through and do so. Others would feel nothing at all and maybe 1 person out of 15 would actually stop to try to help.
Along this journey of rescuing dogs, I have met many different types of people. I've met a few really great people, who sacrifice their free time, foster dogs, donate money and do whatever else they can to help dogs in need. I've heard people such as these referred to by others as "bleeding hearts", which I find borderline offensive. What gives anyone the right to judge these people? They think it's silly to work so hard to save one dog when there are millions that need help. Would it be silly also then for someone to help one of them if they were in an accident and stranded like the dog on the side of the road? If asked, they would surely say that as a human, their life has a higher value. In their case, I would have to adamantly disagree.
I've met many more thoughtless, self-absorbed people lately than I've met genuinely kind people. These people have probably never emphasized with anyone ever. Those who top my list of selfish people are those that surrender their senior dog to a kill shelter, only to drive up the road and buy a cute new puppy. This is one of the most despicable acts I have seen in my lifetime. How someone can take an older dog who has given them a lifetime of love and devotion to a kill shelter is beyond my realm of understanding. The loud, chaotic shelter environment is highly stressful and frightening to a dog who has spent their life in a quiet home. They are left with a stranger, only to helplessly watch their owner walk away and cry out for them. They don't understand whats happening, when their owner is coming back, or what they have done wrong. By far the worst part of all is that surrendering a dog to a kill-shelter is a death sentence. There is no mandatory state required hold period for owner surrendered dogs. Unlike those picked up and labeled as "strays", there is no need to attempt to locate an owner and give them time to claim their dog if it's lost. These owner surrendered dogs were unwanted by their owners and often times if the shelter is full, they never even make it into a kennel. They are taken straight to the back and destroyed. Instead of dying with dignity surrounded by their family, they are left to die alone and afraid at the hands of a stranger.
There are those who have absolutely no sense of commitment. They claim they want to foster one of our dogs, because they "want to help". It makes them feel good in the moment to be doing something noble and selfless. After a short amount of time and minimal effort, they become tired of taking care of the dog and give any and every excuse imaginable why they can no longer foster it. The real reason however, is that they are to self-centered to follow through with what they agreed to do. Instead of taking responsibility for their actions, they try to blame it on the dog, their job, their family and anything else. The only one that is to blame is themselves. I can't remember how many times I've heard, "Well at least they had a home for a couple of weeks". In that couple of weeks, we could have found a foster that would have actually followed through with their commitment. Yet instead, the poor dog has been returned, only to have to adjust to another house of strangers when we are able to find another foster home. That statement is yet again a way to convince themselves they've done a good thing so they can feel good about their decision.
There have been a few people I've encountered who pledge specific amounts of money for dogs they want to save, only to not follow through. Rescues work on very limited budgets and sometimes pledges make a huge difference when it comes to their ability to take a dog. A rescue will take a dog with a few hundred dollars in pledge money, only to never receive a good portion of the pledges promised to them. They have followed through with their part of the commitment, yet again people don't follow through with theirs. Once the dog is saved, people don't feel the need to contribute because the dog is "safe". They leave the rescue to bare the financial burden of these dogs which they were supposed to have pledged funds for. Many times, they have paid out money to transport or have the dogs vetting completed and this leaves them in a dire situation. Again this is selfish behavior that makes people feel good about themselves for trying to help, but then they don't want to follow through and part with the money they pledged.
It's completely fine with me and I accept that there are those who don't feel the need to help save the lives of these dogs. However, doing more harm than good due to their own selfish agenda is intolerable. We have far more important things to do than pander to these people. The only ones we should care about making feel good about themselves, are the dogs we've saved. For those who want to surrender their pet of any age to a kill shelter, I think the shelter should be required to send you an after picture of what happened to your dog.