Foster Friday

Letting Go: The Challenge of a Lifetime

For a few weeks now, I’ve been thinking about another aspect of “Letting Go.” I’ve been exploring what is often my loathing and anger toward the humans who turn in animals to BARC. Most of us have said things like this: “Those people who turn their animals into BARC disgust me”… “How could they be so cruel?”… “I can’t go to BARC. I’ll cuss out those people turning in animals!”

Most of us who have never surrendered a pet can’t understand the situation. We are filled with notions of how we would handle things differently if it were our pet. Our opinions on the matter are a’plenty. We usually have an enormous amount of empathy for the animal, but none for the humans who are turning in. To me, animal rescue is as much about people as it is about animals. People are hurting in Houston. Many are faced with challenges in life that I can not even imagine. They are hurting for love, understanding, responsibility, and knowledge.

I have been trying to live by the motto, “Where one man/woman falls, another must lift him/her up.” Who am I to judge another? Who am I to know the crosses that they bear? We don’t know the shoes that others must wear every day. We can only wear our own and walk beside one another. I don’t believe I make my neighbors better by tearing them down. I can only make them better by modeling a better way and taking their hands. We are truly ALL IN THIS TOGETHER.

A month ago, I was at BARC with two other animal rescue friends and saw a young family walk in with a precious little pup. The pup was held by a boy around six years old. He and his mother were crying while his dad was filling out the paperwork to turn in the pup that they had adopted two weeks prior. After the little boy handed over the pup to a BARC employee, one of the two ladies I was with walked right up to him, looked him in the eyes, and said “I am so sorry. We are going to do everything we can to get your puppy a really good home. He will be okay.” The little boy nodded his head and I could tell was given some relief by these words.

Three sentences that a rescue advocate said may change the way that little boy looks at animals and shelters and his fellow man for the rest of his life. His shoes may walk a path of hope instead of heartbreak and despair. There were many things this woman could have said to this family, but she chose to say words that expressed empathy and hope for three Houstonians. That day taught me a lot. It taught me all the good I can do in that lobby of BARC and beyond.

Tucker with his adoptive mom.

That puppy was adopted a few weeks later from IRESQ in Evergreen, Colorado. He is happy and healthy and loved. My great challenge to everyone at RPM and otherwise is to strive to “Let Go” of the anger and resentment toward the people who are surrendering pets. To look for better, more effective ways to change the hurt that fills so many in this great city we call home: HOUSTON.

Katie Metten Bierne
Rescued Pets Movement Board Member

6 thoughts on “Foster Friday

  1. kari - April 19, 2015

    I’ve been there. Standing near intake. Confused on who would give up on an animal. I get it now and this article is awesome. Thanks for sharing and thanks for caring.

    “I can’t do much, but what I can do is all I offer, so I photograph.” -Kari Carlson

  2. Chris - April 19, 2015

    Very well said. A good reminder for all of us. You have a big heart Katie.

  3. Denise Bryant - April 19, 2015

    This is so true and so well said, Katie. It is important that compassion be a guiding force to both the person turning in their pet and the pet itself. True, we say we would never turn in our pet; but we never know what circumstances occur and we could easily be there filling out paper work to relinquish our pet. Love your Foster Friday articles.

  4. Sue - April 19, 2015

    I really appreciate this article! Thank you, Katie, for the gentle words that can lift such heavy emotions. It is indeed much easier to be compassionate than to be angry.

  5. Cary Robinson - April 20, 2015

    One day, I aspire to have an angel heart like you have, Katie. I’m just not there yet. One day… Ima #SlowLearner

  6. Leticia Chaw - April 20, 2015

    Thank you for sharing. Empathy for all creatures including humans changes lives and makes our world a better place.

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