The Heartbreak of Being a Foster Mom
By Suzy Huether
For years I have been a foster mom to different types of animals. To have seen what humans can do through anger, fear and just indifference is always over whelming. To pick up the pieces of a torn heart, mind and body is sometimes if not all the time painful. Not just to the animal but to the foster mom. But, what hurts far beyond what we see and touch is trying to explain to the uneducated the horrors of abuse and hearing “Oh, don’t tell me anymore, you don’t understand how I love animals” or “stop, don’t go on, I can not bear hearing about this, I am a big animal lover and you cant imagine how this hurts me”. It boggles my mind and soul how these people with such passion tell me how they are animal lovers and they don’t want me to go on?
I can only come to the conclusion that they are more concerned with what bothers them than what happens to the abused. It’s insulting to hear the words “you don’t know how I just love animals, this hurts me to hear this”. What do you think the rescue workers think and feel? We are not animal lovers; we enjoy hearing and seeing the dreadfulness?”
We are the ones who live each day of our lives with a sense of sadness seeing animals who through abuse have broken bones, gouged out eyes, vocal cords ripped out, torn off body parts and worst of all broken hearts and minds. We are the ones who wake up each day watching these animals suffer trying to gain back some dignity and trust. We are the ones who spend money not on ourselves but rather surgeries and medications that most people wont even give a dime to, but yet we have to swallow hearing “you don’t know how this hurts me, I cant bear it”.
I can only come to the conclusion there is a difference between those who don’t want to hear about and those who hate to hear about it. Those who don’t want to hear about it, stick their heads in the sand. They don’t want to hear anything that is not good even though there is such tragedy going on. Do they not want to hear it because they may have to open their wallets? Or is it because it would disturb their rose colored glasses life? Is it easier to just ignore what is really going on? How could someone love animals and refuse to help. Refuse to open their hearts and maybe their wallets. That’s what they really do when they say “don’t tell me”. It’s easier for them to turn their backs and ignore the misery. It’s very convenient to say I am a big animal lover but it’s not convenient to get into the trenches and work there amongst the battered and broken. What saddens me the most is that they wont listen and pass on the knowledge they receive to maybe spur just one other person to help. That cost nothing.
Then there are those who hate to hear about it but listen. They do something, anything. They might join a group, foster a pet, adopt one. They join a transport when they can or they might give a dollar. Whatever they do, it is priceless. A moment of help is worth so much. A word goes farther than imaginable.
So, please forgive me when I can’t comfort you when you say “please don’t tell me anymore, I love animals so much;” because I love animals too. But, we are not alike. I won’t bury my head in the sand; I won’t close my door or mind on these animals that need us. I will do whatever I can to help. I won’t let them suffer or die without trying. So that is what the heartbreak of a foster is. It’s the person who just doesn’t make them matter.