Lately I have been surrounded by many loving people who understand the difficulty of our undertaking, and that my time sometimes is not enough to help everyone. With two children and 31 dogs, running between hospice and home, trying to get donations to shelters, meeting the children’s school obligations, taking care of the house, etc… I sometimes need many extra hours in the day to get it all done. On top of everything, I now know that my husband will leave in January to go far away for quiet some time.
From my heart–I never ask after many favors, but this time I truly need help–I need volunteers that can be self going 1-3 hours a week (after some time working at my side to learn the ins-and-outs of everything). You volunteers can pick the time and day but since I have two small children, there are some definite times that I have to have help covering at the hospice — mostly in the early morning and late evenings when my husband is away. The morning would be 06.00 0r 07.00 or 08.00 or between. It takes from 30 minutes to one hour to let them out, feed them and clean up any accidents on the floor there may be. The late evening shift would be between 21.00 or 22.00, but this wouldn’t take long, only let them out for their night-time potty action, check so everything is ok and then lock them in and turn off the light.
The last days I have had wonderful help from Patty (US) who has been giving me so many mornings off, its been heaven! I have been able to take care of my family and our own 18 dogs in a non-stressed environment. Patty is amazing, I remember one morning she called and asked if she could go over and do some yard work? I couldn’t believe my ears, what a wonderful gesture.
Also every Tuesday evening my trooper volunteer Greta has been over there, feeding and cleaning. On top of everything she is soon going to have a baby. What a girl!!!
Pio takes the Monday evening, and I know Boss and Lady (Great Danes) loves when he comes, they adore him. And its lovely for me to have one evening off, too.
It has been a bigger challenge for AWL since the Navy Base’s organization NFOA dissolved. We get all the “broken heart” calls now. Calls like, “Leaving the country cannot take the dog with them,” or “someone dumped puppies on base”. Some people “rescue” puppies, but after a week decide they don’t want them after all, or the dog chews in the house, they want him put down. I can go on and on, but you get the picture.
We’ve counselled people before that want to discard their pets when it is time to leave. We tell them that taking a pet is a lifetime committment (for the pet), but by the time we talk to them, they are already decided and committed to casting off their “best friend.” In many ways, “rescuing” a stray, shelter or dumped animal is also a life-time committment. The “rescuer” has just taken it upon themselves to care for that animal until a “forever” home can be found, sometimes not a short-term activity. The time it takes to find that forever home is not entirely within the control of the “rescuer”. Would-be rescuers need to realize this simple fact before scooping that cute puppy out of the box, or opening the car door to the stray. It seems doubly sad, and extremely frustrating, when a “rescuer” becomes part of the problem, not the solution they thought they would be.
What we do is not about money. We are 100% volunteer operated, nobody gets a dime in salary, and much of what we buy for the animals comes out of our own pockets. Still, without money and donations, there is only so much we can do. We get more calls for help than donations and it makes our work more difficult. Let me try to explain why it is not easy for us to help everyone.
Due to who we are, we get a lot of calls from the Navy Base asking for help. We are an international organization, not only focused on Campania, and certainly not only focused on the US Navy Base in Naples. We’d love to be able to put up posters on base, telling people what we need and how to get it to us. Simple stuff like donations of food, cleaning supplies, old blankets and of course money. But we are prohibited from putting any such announcements on base, because of Navy regulations.
Now, if we became “command recognized” by the Base Commander, we would be able to do those things, but to do so would require us to forego soliciting for or accepting from businesses and other organizations any donations. We simply can’t do that, remember we are international! What we might get through on-base advertising and fund-raisers would not offset what we are begining to get through outside solicitation. For instance, in 2011, we will be able to spay/neuter over 600 animals due to a grant we received from a US foundation.
All of this isn’t to say we won’t help animals in need from the Navy Base. Regardless of where the animals come from, we try our best to help them. But we are not a base resource, and not constituted to be able to immediately address a problem. If you are calling to ask for help, please give us time to arrange help, follow through with what we ask of you (e.g. take pictures so we can post them, answer our questions in a timely manner, etc.), and above all be patient. Your stress only makes the animal’s situation that much worse, and is not necessary.
To those who have or will ask for help with an animal, we thank you for your concern. By asking for help, rather than turning your back on the animal in need or worse, you are already better than many people. Please continue to be part of the solution; don’t become part of the problem.
We don’t put up posters or have fund-raisers on base, we have never caused any problems, quiet the opposite we have rescued many abandoned dogs, and in some cases abused/neglected animals from apartments on base. But we need help with getting the word out, what we are begging for is volunteers. Before, we worked together with NFOA Presidents Genni and Whitney, and then we could together solve more problems. But now NFOA is gone and we are alone, and we need more help. Please help us by spreading the word about our need for volunteers and donations of things we need. Help us to help the rest of the community, please. Pay the amore forward!