We, in this field, often see ourselves as protectors of the weak or unwanted, valuing each life no matter how old, how sick, how injured, or how damaged.
As a long-time field investigator with the Ulster County SPCA, I have seen the lows to which humanity can stoop in their treatment of animals. I have seen injuries and sickness that would bring any one of us to our knees in pain; but I have also seen the indomitable will of those it was inflicted upon as they rise up, wag a tail, hobble on three legs and ask me to ‘throw the ball.’
Daily I see feats of compassion at the SPCA itself that dwarf whatever cruelty brought the animals to us in the first place. I see the volunteers pouring time, energy, and love into dog walking, fundraising, cat socialization or help with daily cleaning. I see Board Members struggle to raise funds, or fight our political battles, often emptying their own checking accounts. I see staff nursing orphaned kittens and puppies, or staying late into the night to triage the latest group of neglected animals, or bringing home the smallest of lives for 24 hour care following emergency blood transfusions.
Animal rights are a prominent political agenda now. Courts are more and more familiar with what were once our obscure anti-cruelty laws. The public is more and more aware that the shameful treatment of animals is something that should be stopped; and that public is more willing to contact us, or other authorities to step in. Outreach efforts to teach compassion and empathy to our kids are becoming increasingly common.
As always, our detractors, who do not support the life-saving work we do, seek to turn public opinion against us.
As always, we operate a whiskers width from closing our doors for lack of funds. But as always, our supporters step up, as you will again, now. People often ask how I have lasted a decade and a half in this business. It’s easy. The good guys are winning. But that will only remain possible with your continued generosity and help.