Sustainable Hoarding Requires Four Things
sustainable: able to be maintained at a certain level
hoarding: amass (money or valued objects) and hide or store away
The two seem contradictory. They are.
Typically, animal rescuers have really big hearts. Often, they have more compassion than common sense. And, occasionally, rescuers rescue more for themselves than the animals. Last year, I met a rescuer with sixteen dogs in her home. That’s too many. It’s not sustainable. When you “rescue” too many, you can’t meet any of their needs adequately.
To rescue sustainably, or to be a sustainable hoarder, one must have four things.
First, love. You need to have a big heart that is open. Sometimes, the animals that come into your home and your heart are less than perfect. Some dogs have health issues or aren’t’ housebroken.
Next, money. Rescuing is expensive. From dog food to dental care, a rescuer must have dollars to spend. Each month, I purchase specialty dog food, heartworm medicine, eye drops, thyroid pills, Vitamin E oil, coconut oil, Rimadyl, Dasaquin, and Tramadol for the dogs. Trips to the vet range from $43 to $300. On top of basic care, there’s grooming. With my four, that costs about $230 every six weeks. Finally, I buy marrowbones, stuffed toys, poop bags and dog beds. When you add it all up, it’s expensive. Typically, by the end of the month, there’s not much left in my checking account.
But, it’s priceless.
Time. Making the rounds on Facebook right now is “Ten Important Things Your Dog Wants You to Know.” The first is, “My life will probably only last seven to fourteen years; it hurts me more than you know to be away from you.”
The tenth item is, “Be there for me through good times and bad. Never say you can’t handle taking me to the vet’s for stitches or surgery. . . Everything is easier for me to deal with when I have you by my side.”
I teach. I leave my house at 7:00 am and try to be home by 3:30 pm. I choose to exercise by walking with my pack. I choose to stay home instead of travel because I committed to these animals.
Finally, you must have a certain joie de vivre, a carefree and easy enjoyment of life combined with a bit of laissez faire, indifference to messes. When I walked into my bathroom this morning, I found three puddles of piddle from Mr. Sunny Sunny Bun Bun. With a spritz of white vinegar (which I keep in a spray bottle both upstairs and downstairs) and a rag, it was no big deal. Period. The carpet under my bed is layered with Faith’s fur. Gus eats on the sofa. When I reach between the cushions, I find crumbs.
But, the dogs that share my home tear it up. Gus, who spent so many years in a puppy mill, bounces back and forth with toys squeaking in his mouth. The Bun pulls himself up fifteen stairs while Booker leaps up onto the back of the sofa.
Joie de vivre.
If you have enough of those four things, you can hoard – sustainably.