Editorial Friday: I Don't Know How You Do It, But I'm Glad You Do
If you've been a regular reader of the Kitty News Network blog, you may have noticed that I've started taking a more personal approach to the stories I share with you. And to my surprise, this has had some unintended consequences.
I do my best to share stories with happy endings, but unfortunately, a lot of those stories do begin with a tragedy.
Although I certainly felt pain and anger when I reported stories of abuse and neglect, writing those stories as "straight news" allowed me to put an emotional buffer in place as I made those articles as impartial and factually based as I could.
But being more of a blogger and less of a reporter has stripped me of my ability to keep that emotional distance.
As I lay in bed last night before drifting off to sleep, I pondered what I'd write about in this, my first KNN editorial. I started composing an article in my head, when suddenly all the stories of abuse and abandonment, the horrors of "shelters" full of sick and injured cats, finally hit me. Hard.
And I wept.
Seriously -- wept out loud.
I cried like I haven't cried in years.
I soaked my pillow with tears as I said prayers for all those cats that never had a chance at a decent life of love and caring, that lost their lives or were permanently maimed at the hands of cruel and sick individuals.
I soaked the fur of my elderkitty, Siouxsie, who's shared my life for 15 years now, even as I reassured her that I was going to be all right and thanked her for her kindness.
As my tears slowly stopped flowing and my chest stopped heaving, I thought about the shelter workers, the rescuers, the veterinarians, the animal cruelty investigators -- all the people who see this stuff every single day. How can they stand it? I wondered. How can they even get out of bed in the morning when they know what's in store for them?
What kind of emotional strength does it require to simultaneously have the compassion to gently hold an animal as it receives life-saving treatment -- or takes its final breaths -- and at the same time, to aggressively prosecute a case against an abuser or provide medical treatment for a cat that has been the victim of cruelty?
How do these incredible people manage to hold it together and do what they need to do? How do so many of them avoid burnout when they're faced with such horrors on a daily basis?
I don't know, but if you're one of those people, I salute you.
I can't even begin to express my profound gratitude and admiration for the work you do.
Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for all the lives you save, for the sacrifices you make for the sake of the animals who need you, for the strength and fortitude that keeps you going and for your compassion and your need to seek justice for those who can't speak for themselves.
May you be abundantly blessed in every way -- because you surely deserve it!