November 2, 2014: Thoughts from Heather After a Weekend Animal Care Network Run

Please read Heather’s words after being out in Pontiac all day taking care of outdoor animals.

The animals. Their suffering is my grief.

After a day of volunteering it’s always the same process. Street teams work the trenches and it gets dirty. You take the longest shower to try to rid yourself of the misery you’re now covered in, to get the chill out of your bones. You try to not lose hope in all of humanity.

I’m emotionally numb, in shock at what people consider humane, or love, or care. I’m exhausted, physically, mentally, my soul is on fire and it burns. I have reasoned, bartered, negotiated for lives, their wagging tails as we walk away with them. I’ve made promises that I cannot keep to dogs that want so badly to trust someone. I drove home in a blizzard and tried not to think of the dogs too skinny to survive real cold.

I try to explain to my husband what I’ve seen, what I’ve done but it comes out as nonsensical babbling. A mosh of nouns, verbs, disbelief, shock.

In the morning my brain is on fire as my emotions finally catch up to me. I vomit my words onto the page like poison and hope that it all makes sense. I cry tears for the ones I couldn’t walk away with. The ones who I couldn’t do enough for. I try to focus on the good. The old, sick chow who was being kept in a shed at an abandoned house is free, the emaciated puppy who I negotiated for $30, the two tangled pit bulls who are at least free from their chains, the new attitude that Animal Control seemed to give us when we had to call on them for help.

I’ll spend the rest of my weekend trying to avoid people while my brain processes the wreckage. Bless my husband who doesn’t understand why I would break my heart on purpose but fully supports me just the same. He is my rock and I am the chink in his armor.

Yesterday I was numb, today I am wrecked, by tomorrow I will burn up completely and emerge whole again. Because I have to. We all do.


thoughts from heather

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