Jennifer admits that trying to do good in the world isn’t always easy. “It’s hard to care, it’s sad, it’s stressful, it’s disheartening.”
Those of us in animal welfare – and those of you who support us – know this. It’s easier to look away, to go about your business, to let the problem be somebody else’s. That’s why burnout and compassion fatigue are real problems that we as an organization and the industry at large works on all the time.
In Jennifer’s case, it was a load of animals from what was most likely a hoarding situation that turned into neglect and abuse, followed by heroic efforts on her part and that of many other people to save them.
Abandoned and Alone
Jennifer was at her family’s lake house when one of the neighbors mentioned an “awful situation” with a nearby property. “She told me ‘it’s terrible what’s happening over there.’ So I went and checked.”
There were two dogs and 28 cats, all of whom had been left by the previous caretaker. According to Jennifer, the woman was arrested and simply left the animals on their own. When the owner of the property filed charges against the woman, she returned (out on bail possibly) and took the cats and drove away only to toss them out near a gas station.
The initial response to something like this is to believe that we humans have gotten pretty awful. But for every act that deserves consternation, there are a dozen acts that make us believe again. Jennifer’s story is a good example …
“I can’t not do something,” she says. “The law will not help in this situation.”
Jennifer and a group of compassionate neighbors managed to capture all but two of the cats using borrowed traps from a local animal rescue group. Sadly, of the two dogs the woman had, only one was found.
Then came the hard part; all of those animals needed to find a home. “We found a farm that took a few of the cats,” explained Jennifer. Great Plains SPCA, she says, took 15, which was a big help.
Some she helped with on her own. “If it wasn’t for [SNKC] I wouldn’t have been able to afford it,” she says.
“It’s Not the Right Thing To Look Away”
Jennifer is not alone in her willingness to do the hard thing. We see it every day with the people who walk through our doors or call us about animals in trouble. “It’s morally the right thing to do,” says Jennifer. “I have two boys and I want them to see me do the right thing, even when it’s hard or stressful.”
It’s true, doing the right thing is never easy. For every act that makes you think humans couldn’t possibly be any more cruel, there are dozens – hundreds even – who prove it isn’t true.
This, then, is our thanks to all of you who go out of your way, who risk your own safety, and invest your own money into making the world a better place for animals and the people who call our community home. It’s not easy. And it likely never will be.
But it’s the right thing to do.