Rescue in the echo chamber

Ah, Facebook. The general consensus seems to be that it’s a sprawling tire fire everyone hates but everyone still has. Everything is worse during an election year, but Facebook really seems to have bitten the dust even before you get to the political posts. I don’t know about you guys, but I have questions. How many videos of food preparation do I really need to see? Why must the most breathtakingly cliché ideas be slapped over a lowest-resolution-known-to-man stock photo? Can’t anyone just type them out anymore? Who’s writing all these posts about the 16/94/312 ways a sarcastic/introverted/cupcake-addicted girl lives/loves/snorts her coke/cleans her room differently? Why the hell is anyone liking Land O’ Lakes and Oscar Meyer brand pages?

Yeah, I am still sharing this post on Facebook. WHATEVER, okay?

Last year around this time, Facebook seemed way better. I had added a bunch of rescue friends and dog-related pages, so most of my feed was adoption announcements and puppy photos and training posts. That’s still mostly what it is, once you filter through all of Facebook’s suggested pages and ads, and that’s actually the point of this post.

Facebook can (maybe I should just say “will”) turn into an echo chamber no matter what you’re into; if you’re into tiny houses or snowboarding or being vegan, you’re going to have friends who are into tiny houses or snowboarding or being vegan, and you’re going to see a lot of it. I see a lot of dog stuff. Sometimes I feel like I’ve seen every photo or video of a dog there is to see, and yes, I probably saw it four months ago but whatever, send it to me anyway because you know I like dogs.

I try to post and share things conscientiously. I, honest-to-God, try to break up the dog-related stuff. Because a bunch of my Facebook friends like and share the same posts until I’ve seen them three dozen times, I assume that everyone has seen everything I have.

Adopt, don’t shop

 Spay and neuter your damn pets

 Don’t leave your dog in a hot car, you moron

 Prong, choke and shock collars are hurting your dog so stop using them, you asshole

I see these messages so many times a day that most of them seem like common knowledge. I see them, I agree with them, but I don’t share even a sixth of them because Jesus, people must be sick of being told, right?

Then I walk through a parking lot and hear a dog barking from a car with the windows cracked an inch. Then I see somebody’s photos of the new puppy they bought online. Then somebody tells me their 9-month-old dog just had a litter so if I know anybody looking, haha…

nick-miller-boil-rage

It doesn’t happen once in a while. It happens all the time. If I get enough of that in one day, the frustration boils over. Do you really not know? Or do you not care? I realize part of it is my fault for assuming people see even a fraction of the mass of dog-related things that I do, but even if you’re one of the THREE people in the U.S. who don’t have Facebook, you haven’t see a single TV segment about it? Not one newspaper article? Not a solitary blog post? Nothing that gave you even a moment’s pause about your bad life choices? Really?

It seems like the best course of actions is to lower my standards for humanity yet again and stop being surprised when people are irresponsible assholes, but honestly, I’m not sure how much lower they can get. Once in a while, someone will surprise me in a good way — a new volunteer will take on a long-term dog and go above and beyond to get her adopted, or we’ll get an application that’s so great I could cry just looking at it, or somebody will ditch their choke chain for a harness. Those moments are awesome, but they are sure as hell fleeting. Maybe an optimist would hold onto those things rather than the garbage, but I’m not an optimist. Many days, it feels like trying to grow a garden in a parking lot; not only is it impossible, but it’s my dumb fault for trying to get a seed to sprout on a slab of asphalt.

If you’re thinking this is pretty whiny, you’re right. This is whiny, especially for someone who hasn’t even been doing it a year. Despite my complaining, however, I still think it’s worth it. Sometimes it’s worth it for the moments I mentioned earlier, when I see the light go on for somebody else or see a dog go to a perfect family. Most of the time, though, it’s worth it just to be contrary, to refuse to be a crappy person, refusing to quietly let other people be crappy. It’s a little bit spiteful, hoping that I nicked somebody’s conscience even if they ultimately ignore me and do whatever is most convenient for them. It’s not a side of rescue or advocacy you see advertised. It’s neither the heartbreak of seeing an animal in pain nor the joy of seeing one adopted; it’s hard to navigate and it doesn’t make for good clickbait. It’s the wrong attitude to have, I know; it is not gentle or gracious or empathetic, but some days, it’s the just the reality.

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