I Believe

When Cara Sue Achterberg over at  anothergooddog.wordpress.com  asked me to review her book Another Good Dog, I was a little hesitant.  The book is about how she became a temporary foster for a rescue group that pulls dogs out of overcrowded shelters (usually in the South) and places them in foster homes until they can be adopted.  I volunteer at a large, open-admission animal shelter, and I know that sometimes people involved in this sort of rescue have nothing good to say about animal shelters.  I didn’t want to write a review for a book that badmouthed the animal shelter workers and volunteers that I have come to respect and admire.

Turns out, I had nothing to worry about.  Another Good Dog is an interesting and well-written account of the joys and challenges of fostering rescue dogs, and Cara never once trash talked animal shelters or the people involved in them.  She simply told her story and at the same time made a compelling case for the need for more foster homes.

I wish more people followed Cara’s example, not just of fostering dogs, but also of sharing her beliefs without also putting down those who do things differently.   It seems to me that too many of us tend to believe that we can’t be for one thing without also being against another.  Sadly, we usually talk a whole lot more about what (and who) we are against than what we are for, and not just in the animal rescue world, either.  Think about it:  how often do you determine someone’s political leanings by listening who they trash-talk about, rather than listening to their actual beliefs and convictions?

But it doesn’t have to be that way.  You can support one group, or one way of doing things, without attacking another.  You can be an atheist without sneering at those who believe in God.  You can be a stay-at-home Mom (or Dad) without criticizing parents who have full-time jobs.  In short, you can believe that your way is right for you without feeling the need to criticize those who don’t share your views, values or lifestyle.

Life really isn’t just one big football game where we are required to cheer for one team and loudly boo the other.  Sometimes, it’s enough to simply cheer for what we believe in.  And when we manage to do that, the walls that separate us can begin to come down, allowing us to work together in ways that accomplish so much more than we ever could alone, or just in the company of those who are “on our side.”

I know from experience that people involved in saving homeless animals tend to be very passionate about their work, and rightly so.  That passion is what keeps them going when they get discouraged, overwhelmed, or just plain tired.  But it’s also a huge job that really does require multiple solutions.  Good quality physical shelters where people can drop off unwanted or stray animals are still very much needed, particularly when they have the ability to do large-scale rescues of animals in dire need.   Well-run small rescue groups also do an amazing job of saving animals by placing them in loving foster homes until they get adopted.  Still other groups spend their days advocating for increased spaying and neutering, or stronger laws on puppy mills and other sub-standard breeders.

IMG_2212None of these organizations or people can solve the problem of animal overpopulation by themselves.  But each of them holds a piece of the solution, and between them all, they just might get the job done.  It’s amazing what can happen when we remember to work together.

68 thoughts on “I Believe

  1. Cooperation is key to solving so many problems. I have to agree wholeheartedly that multiple approaches to a problem can result in multiple solutions making the issue more about doing what is effective to reach a goal. We have to remember there are many roads but they all converge in one place!

    Liked by 5 people

    • Exactly! There are few problems that are simple enough to be solved by just one person or organization. But put several together, and usually things improve immensely. That’s why I think it’s so important not to be too “in love” with our own way of doing things.

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  2. In every spiritual book that I read, it says you have to work within yourself to change yourself and the world out there is a manifestation of the world you have created within. It is such an empowering and at the same time depressing statement because I often wonder if the world that I have created within is so messy. I really hope I can clear the mess inside asap because this is not where I want my kids to grow up.
    Am glad there are people around who can put across their point without bad mouthing someone else. All the best to your friend with her book.

    Liked by 4 people

    • I don’t think I would blame yourself too much for the world around you…it’s a result of everyone’s creation, I think. I do think we have the power to make a strong impact on our immediate environment, though, and that’s where we do well to always give our best effort. And I agree about Cara…she is an example to all of us that we can be passionate about our way without feeling the need to put down those who do things differently. I think we have to be intentional about that, or at least I know I do!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Spot on, as usual! I find it particularly frustrating when there are differences over a specific principle that one group then finds it essential to disagree with absolutely everything else the other group does, even when it’s something they might well have done themselves.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Good point! How often do we focus on that one tiny area of disagreement, and thereby reject the whole idea or group, rather than look for the common ground and just “agree to disagree” on the stuff we don’t have in common? I sometimes think arrogance is one of the biggest problems that plagues our world. Because “my way is the only way” really is pure arrogance. Thanks for the insightful comment!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. very key points Ann that we need many different solutions … and acceptance … to resolve our issues! No one answer is exactly right, we need to accept and support each other to do what we do best 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Your post stands out as an example of tolerance, broadmindedness and loving kindness. It is my wish there were people like you, Ann. All too often you encounter persons who see things only in black and white. Great post with a great appeal for ‘Live and let live’!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. You’re so right, Ann. We should be able to be “for” something without having to be against something else. So many people approach life as a zero-sum game. If they are going to win, it means somebody or something else has to lose. In a slight variation on this theme, I am reminded that when asked why she didn’t participate in anti-war marches, Mother Teresa is purported to have said she would never join such an effort, but if they had a pro-peace rally, she would absolutely be there.

    Liked by 4 people

    • That’s a great response! And yes, I am dismayed by how we seem to think that being “for” one thing means we must be “against” something else. I read a book once called “You don’t have to be wrong for me to be right” (or something like that) and that was the main point of the book. Life really isn’t such a contest, I think!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! And you know, what I like best about the comments on my blog isn’t when someone tells me my post was good (although as every writer knows, that is always wonderful to hear). My favorite thing is how readers often bring up points I hadn’t even thought of, and take the conversation to a whole new level, using my post only as the spring board. I learn a lot from the comments.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I feel exactly the same way Ann! It has been comments that have sparked ideas for me and better still helped me see new perspectives that only then made total sense! Thank you for responding, I always look forward to reading your thoughts.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. What a powerful message and so well written. I have a huge respect for what you do and many others do Ann, having seen and met first hand the shelters and volunteers that put their heart into their work. This cooperation really needs to extend out into life too. The book sounds like a good read.

    Liked by 3 people

  8. I don’t have any knowledge about dogs or other animals rescue or fostering. But I can see from your post how it’s hard. I wonder if it’s all by volunteers? I like it more when you said life isn’t a football game. So true! Thanks for sharing

    Liked by 2 people

    • Some of it is volunteers, and some is staff, although they do tend to be overworked and under-paid. One way or another, it is people who are passionate about animal rescue. Thank you so much for your kind comments!!!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Michele! For both your kind words and how easily you summed up the whole point of my post…we don’t need to criticize others to validate our journey. That’s what I was trying to say in a nutshell!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Well said! I wish there were more people in the world with this perspective! Cheering for what we love and not booing others most definitely makes the world a better place. And I have come to really appreciate those souls who have such a heart for animals. They are such a gift!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. This post resonated on many levels. First, my best friend fosters rescue Goldens. At one point she was considered a “failed” foster because she ended up adopting the dog, Katy, who was a victim of Hurricane Katrina. Just one week ago, she got Paisley, a Golden/Greyhound mix from Tennessee who is very underweight and half her fur is off of her belly from a rash. My friend is the most amazing caretaker of these animals. I call her the Dog Whisperer. Second, you demonstrate the importance of keeping an open mind and not stereotyping or having pre-conceived notions of others.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Kim! Yes, one of my pet peeves is how we stereotype others (particularly those who don’t agree with us about absolutely everything) and how complacent we become in our prejudice. I have close friends from all over the religious and political spectrum, and I am so blessed by that chance to open my mind.
      As for your friend, good for her!!! The shelter I volunteer with got a whole planeload of dogs from Hurricane Katrina (and later Rita as well) and it was an amazing experience. Please tell your friend thank you from me and all of us involved in animals rescue!

      Liked by 1 person

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