I decided to title this piece Apathy Warrior but it could just as easily be titled Having a Melt Down. It’s a fine line. I suppose one leads to the other. This is my journey.
Above you see Sassy and me. Sassy, affectionately referred to as Miss Sassy Pants, sometimes as Miss Bossy Pants. I love this little girl. She is filled with spunk and character, the likes of which you won’t often see. She is one of our sheltie rescue dogs that got returned last week. I thought her new home was a great fit. But apparently not good enough. Due to a behavioral incident she was returned. I find it suspicious that her “family” is now going to be doing long term travelling. That is neither here nor there. The policy of our rescue, as is the policy of most rescues, is that no matter the circumstance, we take our dogs back. So back she came.
As it worked out, she needed to go to another home for fostering, rather than ours. In the photo I am waiting to turn Sassy over to her new foster parents. She figured out she was going somewhere else and cried during the drive to the transfer spot. Hence I cried during the drive to the transfer spot. Once I turned the car off to wait for the other person, Sassy became nearly hysterical. She cranked up the crying and bit the seat a couple times to displace her hysteria. I pulled her onto my lap to wait and you can see she is anxiously looking out the car window. Now be aware that the foster home she is going to is a wonderful place. The couple is loving and two of the finest people I know. I am proud to call them friends. But still. This is one of my babies. Every dog that comes through our rescue is one of my own. I deal with their adoptions by pretending that they are still my dogs and are just going to stay somewhere else. That someone else is just keeping them for me. And that really is the case. You never stop loving them. How fortunate I am to have such a large family!
When it was time to move Sassy to the other car, she shut down. She knew she was getting ditched again. I bent over the seat to say good bye to her and she was non-reactive. She looked straight ahead, wouldn’t make eye contact with me, and didn’t move. This was her way of dealing. So I just left. I thought it was easier for her in the long run rather than me making a fuss. Thank goodness she was going to stay in loving, caring place. But she is still my little girl.
And as I drove away, that’s when the tears turned into meltdown. How could I live in such a world where there are dogs without homes and people don’t want them? And the ones that come into rescues and shelters are the lucky ones. There are so many more that are nameless and unrecognized and suffering out in the world. I am really not cut out to live in this place my mind said. A world where people kill even each other, that is filled with hate and violence and unrest. We should have compassion for each other and not do each other harm and intentionally cause pain. If we can’t do this for our fellow humans, what chance do God’s poor creatures have? And then I saw the road kill. First, a dead rabbit on the road. A few miles later a dead opossum. I have noticed road kill abounds in the spring when the animals start moving about. No one can have a meltdown like a rescue worker in the throes of emotion. Our very way of life, driving automobiles, causes death I thought.
As I got nearer to home I told myself you really need to get a grip. This is not good. You are not functioning well. You can wallow in this or you can do something about it. So I pondered, what can I do about this situation? How can I make it better? How can I be an instrument of change? Well, I knew that I was making a difference for these dogs. One of Sassy’s new foster parents said that at least she got returned to us and didn’t end up in a shelter out West where we would have had no idea what happened to her. See, I told you these were good folks! I can save the next one, and the next one, and…
By deciding to do something, anything, I became an Apathy Warrior. I will not tolerate the way things are. I will take action to try to make the world a better place. For these dogs, and for those people I encounter as I go on my life’s journey. When my daughter was in high school and working at a fast food drive-thru I told her, you never know if you might change someone’s entire day by smiling at them. A kind word or gesture could change the course of their day. I am fortunate to have a daughter that actually listens to me and repeated that phrase back a few years later. And so I issue this challenge to you. Will you also become an Apathy Warrior? We can have an Apathy Army and we just might change the world.