Shelter Stories: A Mr.Frisky Blog
The Serenity Prayer for Animal Sheltering
The Serenity Prayer is most often associated with recovery programs like Alcoholics Anonymous/Al-Anon, but it is applicable to many areas of life. It does not have to include the word "God" at the beginning. I like to state it as
simply: “Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.”
"Grant me the serenty to accept the things I cannot change"
In the universe of rescuing animals and promoting the world to unite to adopt-love-give, it seems that haters, harassers, users and abusers just come with the territory. And that's not going to change.
I am not just referring to the online trolls and bullies. I'm also including real-life (in-person) trolls and bullies. For example, the ones I've dealt with in the last few years, that hoist their religion in one hand while harassing me with the other, in the hopes of driving me out of my home due to my rescue work. For some reason, being kind to animals in need really upsets highly religious people. I've never really understood that.
Fortunately for me, and much to the consternation of the bullies, what I'm doing breaks no laws per the City Inspector and Mayor - and a Judge (more on that shortly). My rescues are never out crapping all over other people's lawns nor running about off leash (like my harassers dogs are). My cats are always inside or in their fully enclosed catio versus roaming at risk of cars and predators or begging for food because they've been locked out all night and day (unlike my harassers cats). Don't worry - I feed them along with the strays because it's not their fault they are owned by a meanie.
The same bullies have also been informed I am "a heathen leading people's souls straight to hell with those statues". They are referring to my Buddha out front. It should be noted said statue is less than 12" high, only visible if you come onto my property, walk across the entire front lawn, and enter the courtyard around my front door. This is trespassing which IS actually illegal.
When I said to the Bully Ringleader, "It must be nice to be a lawyer so you can break the law and get away with it", her response was "Yes, it is."
No, she isn't Lori Loughlin, but she does have an equally over-inflated sense of entitlement. Fortunately for me and my rescues, she was asleep the day they taught law at her law school. Much to her chagrin and the public detriment of her legal reputation, the Judge ruled in my favor and dismissed the lawsuit she filed against me as having no basis. He even dismissed it with prejudice; sounds bad but it's actually good - she can't ever refile for the same reason. She cried how unfair that was, because she was right regardless of if there was a legal basis. She didn't think it needed one (remember she was absent or asleep that day in law school). Bullies and trolls never do; they live in a delusional world of their own supreme righteousness. You can see why I need a serenity prayer when I'm dealing with people who think organized religion and/or a law degree - likely purchased by their parents - is a license to illegally harass others and get away with it.
"Grant me the courage to change the things I can"
The online haters have the same desire as the in-person bullies; to stop me from helping animals in need, stop my message of adopt-love-give at your local animal shelter. A strange goal.
But there are things I can change, and I have the courage to do so. Twitter has a fabulous button called BLOCK! So does Facebook and I'm betting Instagram does too. It's just so very handy, much like the DEL key on the keyboard! Unfortunately, in real life (vs social media) there is no Block nor DEL button for in-person bullies and trolls. Wouldn't it be nice if there was?
Do I get frustrated? Of course. But I will never be silenced, and I will never give in or give up my rescue work which changes animals lives for the better. Mum raised me with the strength to stand my ground (or "buck up!" as she'd say), and refuse to accept delivery of bullying and hate. I'm writing this blog to encourage others in the rescue universe who do struggle with trolls and bullies. To tell these rescuers who are true heroes to not give up, not give in. To persevere, because their work is so very important, and these bully trolls are so very not. And, to remember that you can get so focused on rescue, you forget to look up. But if you do look up and around, you will find there are plenty of people who will give you support: Foster pet parents, shelter staff, other rescue peeps on social media - that is one of the great things about it (despite it's obvious drawbacks).
"Grant me the wisdom to know the difference"
This is all about where you put your attention, energy and time.
I know it can feel like mean people win. Sometimes they do; or maybe in the short term it just seems that way because we're not around when "what goes around comes around." Wouldn't it be nice if you could buy a ticket to see THAT? When you look back on your life, you will get something a bully troll will never have: the joy of remembering all the animals you helped, the 2 and 4 legged lives you changed with that work for the better, and all the joy of seeing an animal that came from a hard life blossom from love and care. As MasterCard says, "That's priceless". The bully trolls aren't worth your time; save your time for the animals and others in rescue.
So keep up the good rescue work, ask for help and support when you need it, use that Block and DEL button, and when your blood pressure is getting to high and you feel like you might burst: recite that Serenity prayer at least 3 times with a deep breath in between each one! It really does help.