Friday, August 6, 2010

People can be so cruel...

and not just to the Akitas. To us too, the volunteers of Akita rescue. Those of us that give of our time as volunteers, getting no monetary reward for doing what we do. Those of us who often juggle 2 and 3 jobs so we can help the Akitas in our care better while in return we have no time for ourselves. Those of us who have no life of our own, because whatever spare time we have is spent doing rescue, don't deserve to be treated cruely when all we are doing is helping -- doing a job no one else wants to do.

Sometimes -- time slips away from us and we don't call someone back ASAP or email a reply immediately and then the nasty comments come, fast and furious. We get overwhelmed by emails & phone calls because we don't get 4 or 5 a day, we get hundreds; we get overwhelmed with spending hours on end with adopters; we get overwhelmed with trips to the vets with our rescues to get them healthy; we get overwhelmed with driving hours each way to get Akitas from one place to another to save them all week long. We all have families who suffer from lack of time with us because we are too often away on long transports, or at the kennel meeting with potential adopters or getting to know the Akitas that were given up so we can do successful adoptions in the future or pouring over applications & doing reference checks on them all. When we are supposed to be asleep, we are often instead loosing sleep while agonizing over decisions we must make; when we are supposed to be on our lunch hour at work relaxing, we are often hunched over our computers while eating something from a machine so we can read emails or catch up the latest veterinary news to help our Akitas; heck some of us have even spent our lunch hours at the kennel walking Akitas or helping water & feed them just so we can feel we are doing our share.

Few people walk in our shoes -- yet everyone wants to be our judge. If we don't answer an email immediately, we are labeled "uncaring" or "rude" or "rotten"; even worse, when we DO answer an email but not in the way the person wanted, we are "stupid", "idiotic" or often we are just plain "@#(*$&#(#*&#" to whoever wanted to dump their Akita on us or refused to follow our advice to help them get their Akita healthy again with the right methods or train their Akita to help it be a better family companion.

Sometimes we make mistakes in adoptions -- we chose someone we "think" is really great only to find out later they aren't what we thought they were. We aren't perfect because we are after all, human. We try our best but that's all we can do. Having an adopter turn on US, the very people they should be thankful for, is disheartening and sad. Everything we say gets turned around, misunderstood, ignored and ultimately things get uglier and uglier -- when all we had was the best interest of the Akita in mind. It breaks our hearts to have an adopter decide WE are the enemy when all we try to do is help. We want to help, we need to help, we volunteer expressly to help. Yet when an adopter turns against us because they don't want to follow our advice, its heartbreaking to us, in ways someone who is not an Akita rescue volunteer cannot understand.

People can be cruel to us, the very people they should be thankful for. We are the volunteers that do the dirty work - the things they don't want to do. We are the people who sob over their Akita when we have to euthanize it because they don't care enough to hold it in their arms and do it humanely. We are the ones that clean up the dog pooh, pee, vomit from their older Akitas they have dumped in a shelter to get rid of it with no feelings of loyalty to our majestic breed. We are the ones that do without vacations or trips because we can't be away from the rescue Akitas too long or we feel guilty. We are the ones that don't have new cars or fancy clothes because all our spare money goes to rescue to cover bills that donations can't reach far enough to cover.

We don't want parades in our honor or plaques hung on walls with our names prominently displayed. We don't want to be called "heros" or have songs written about us. All we ask for is respect. The one thing we sometimes do not get -- respect. Aretha spelled it out -- R E S P E C T -- not to hard to give to the people who do the jobs you don't want to do, refuse to do or just plain don't care enough to do -- just a little respect. Its not too much to ask for -- but it seems to be getting rare for us volunteers to get it from those around us anymore.

Maybe its a sign of the times - people have changed, maybe its to be expected. But I hope not, because its not anything I know I can get used to. So -- go ahead, walk in our shoes for a month, or just a week, even only a day, if you dare to. Do all we do, see all we see, experience all we experience. Perhaps then, instead of disrespect, you might decide we do, as volunteers in Akita Rescue, deserve a bit of respect.

A light might go off in your head and you might bite your tongue next time before spewing out something hateful. You might not write that nasty email or call one of us the names we often get called. You might actually realize we are helping, we are the volunteers needed for this job; that without us, there will be no one to save the Akitas we save, to rehome the Akitas we do rehome or help the Akitas we can help in many ways.

We aren't the enemy - so why do so many people try to make us out to be just that? And lest you think, when reading this post today, that I am just being a whiney, self-righteous b@tch for writing this - you are right. Tonite (its 3am BTW), I am feeling it deep in my soul; feeling that I'm tired of being taken for granted, spit on, yelled at, sick of viscious nasty emails from the very people I set out to help. That I'm tired of crying over other peoples' old, sick, unwanted Akitas, tired of loosing sleep figuring out how we are to care for so many with so few resources. You are right - I am being a whiney, self-righteous b@tch tonite.

But the one thing you can count on -- is that when I wake up in the morning, I'll be ready to start my volunteering all over again and this sad, sick feeling in my soul will pass -- as it always does. For the sake of the Akitas, you can count on that!


  1. Bravo Kathy, bravo!!!!

  2. You've been very generous to me with your correspondence and expertise, even though my Caboo isn't even one of your alumns. My friend Gab praised ARWNY to the skies, and I can see why. I'm grateful for your giving attitude and your dedication to our breed. I'm sorry that others have not been.

    My update on Boo's skin is this -- we took your advice and got a thyroid panel done by Michigan State(normal) and also a skin biopsy to see if we were looking at sebaceous adenitis (no). Just tonight we started on probiotics of a brand my vet likes (Nutramax), and I'm hoping that they can help knock down the yeast overgrowth that is the most visible laboratory symptom of whatever's been bugging him. I'll shout it from the rooftops if we succeed; I'm sorry I was quiet before when the thyroid panel turned up nothing.

    We're doing what we can to keep him a happy guy. He's probably ten years old now. More than anything, I'm grateful when he still wants to romp with his Jolly Ball or sprint to the end of the block to start the three-mile jogs we take in the cool of each morning.

  3. CJ -- you can always use YEAST FIGHTERS from The Vitamin Shoppe to keep him safe also. And NZYMES has a good product recommended by Dr. Jean Dodds. So good luck and let me know. Thanks for the kind words.... :)

  4. Thank you for your sad but true words Kathy..We are volunteers doing a job not many can or will do..Yet we take the brunt of it all..

  5. My mom does rescue work too, also as a volunteer, but not breed specific. People can be rude and selfish. But know the dogs appreciate you. Such a beautiful breed! Thanks to you for your hard work and dedication!

  6. Thanks Corbin -- I have tough skin, this was a momentary bit of self-pity! I promise it won't happen again! My best wishes to your mom!