Why is this such a dirty word in Animal Welfare? Why is it such a bad thing to have compassion for the animals you care for?
I bring this up for a few reasons. One, a comment was made to me a few days ago about a dogs welfare and the way it was said made it seem like they were trying to convince me that what they were doing was the right thing. Which I already knew it was. I guess they felt I would get emotional, and they needed to make sure that I knew it was the right thing.
Secondly, comments have been made about me to others about how I'm a little fragile when it comes to euthanasia. Is this a bad thing? I wouldn't say I'm fragile, but I certainly don't like it. But- at the same time I realize sometimes its the only option left; for whatever reason. Yes, I cry. Yes, I can get extremely bitter. But why does this make me fragile?
Which brings me back to compassion.
I think people build a wall sometimes to help them cope with the ugly side of our job, and I understand that. No matter how many times it happens, it sucks. Animals die (sometimes for circumstances we can't change) and it can be unbelievably unbearable to us.
But I've noticed something in myself. If I put that wall up, then I start losing the little hope that I do have for all the animals I care for. I run out of it or I just don't have any. I don't want to be that person. I don't want to be so cynical about my job just because of the harsh reality of it.
Compassion is not a bad thing. Yes, it hurts like hell when you have so much love and care for a dog and they still can't be saved. My God, does it hurt. At the same time though, I feel like if I don't give that dog my compassion I can't give them as much as they give me. My dogs (I refer to the dogs I care for as 'mine') love me. No questions, no shame, no nerves; they love me. They love me whether I take them for 80 walks or no walks. They love me whether I'm in a good mood or bad mood. They love me when I'm sad. They love me when I'm happy. They love me. Plain and simple. Thats the beautiful thing about animals. They love you regardless. They are so unashamed of their compassion for humans. Why are we so scared of the same compassion?
So here it is: Is it better to put that wall up, and guard the love you give to the animals because you are scared of the outcome? Or, is it better to say "yes, I loved that animal so very much. It hurts like hell that they aren't around anymore. But I think they knew how much I loved them, regardless. And even if they didn't, at least I know how I cared for them for the short while I had them".