The Guilt Factor In Animal Rescue

No one goes into animal rescue thinking that it will be easy. But no one also knows just how hard it can be, how many past emotions can get stirred up, and how some days you feel like your own guilt will consume you. What kind of guilt? Guilt for animals in your past, guilt for animals in your life now. Guilt for animals in your future.


My grandmother was the master of guilt! I watched her as a child second guessing every decision she made, past decisions, and what others would think of her decisions. I followed her example, questioning my own life decisions, was I doing a good job, and in the process, I neglected myself. This follows me to this day. Did I look up to my grandmother? I did and I still do. But sometimes I wonder. What more could I have accomplished in life without the guilt? She didn’t seem happy. And I admit, sometimes, I would like to be a lot happier.


Guilt is a heavy load to carry when you are trying to get things done, isn’t it? For me, traveling to 48 states and 48 rescues the past two years wasn’t always hard. When I kept a positive attitude on the animals that we helped network to good homes, or when we encouraged the volunteers at the rescues we visited, I felt a little optimistic. But every time, in the back of my mind, I seemed to think of a little guinea pig I had as a pet when I was a child. And that optimism? It was washed away with the guilt factor.

When I was little I had a guinea pig named Pee Wee. I remember going to a pet store and picking her out. I don’t remember why I wanted a guinea pig. I was too young to remember that part. But as the days and the weeks went by with Pee Wee, I found out that it wasn’t so easy to take care of a guinea pig. It wasn’t so easy to bathe a guinea pig, feed a guinea pig. And as more months and years went by with Pee Wee, I think back now, and I realize. I should have spent more time with Pee Wee. I did not do a good job. I am not going to say that I did. Because I didn’t. And I think of Pee Wee every. Darn. Day. And I deserve to. For Boy Person, a dog named Digby that he wished he had spent more time with as a kid is his guilt factor. And so that is why our Digby now is named after him. So that he would never forget his errors and time that should have been spent with his dog.

Is it shocking to you that two persons like us with two rescue dogs who have dedicated our time, resources, energy and finances to animal rescue have guilt about past pets and family members?  I hope not.  Because the honest truth is, and I try to tell myself this…we all can learn from our mistakes.  Guilt may be a heavy load to carry, but sometimes, we deserve it.  However, it is how we use the load we are carrying to help others.  BUT, if the guilt is an unwarranted load and if you tried your best, and only you know this, you must throw that guilt off.  It is hindering you from helping other animals that need all of the energy you can give.


What I am saying is that sometimes we need the guilt factor in animal rescue and sometimes we don’t.  For us, we could never do enough in our opinion to make up for the two lives we feel that we could have done better for.  But if we let it paralyze us, that means the guilt factor isn’t helpful.  However, if we don’t feel any guilt, that is disrespectful to those two lives, so some measure of guilt is needed to keep propelling us forward.


In animal rescue, not a day goes by for many shelters or rescues where they don’t have to turn an animal way for lack of resources or fosters or funds.  And we know that the guilt in that can be overwhelming.  How could it not be?  Not one life is more important than another.  But sometimes, animal rescue comes down to a business decision.  It is unfortunate, but the reality.  And until more people step up to help and educate, there will not be an end to the guilt.  And that is not fair.  But it is the truth.

As we have always said, people saved our dogs and that is why we give back.  And that is true.


The people that saved Brickle and Digby showed us a good example, a loving example.  And for them, although we may never know their names, and who took our dogs to the shelters where we could find them and bring them into our lives, they still mean the world to us.  Do we care about the mistakes in their past?  No.  All we see and feel towards them is the one deed they did to help our dogs.  And that is enough.  And one day, I hope I can feel that about myself too.  Until then, I will use my guilt factor for the good.

-Rachael Johnson, Girl Person and Owner of 2 Traveling Dogs

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Leaving The Guilt Behind

This is Sheriff Peanut Butter Brickle.  Well, we have started our Adventure Of A Lifetime again.  Well, sort of.  I have a question for you.  Why did the chicken cross the road?  More importantly…why did the Big Blue Treat Wagon cross the road?  Apparently to park at Boy Person’s old house…his mom’s.


Now, you may think to yourself.  Self?  Why did this happen?  Let me recap yesterday for you.  Said good-bye to Maggie at our campsite with tears in my eyes.

IMG_3679.JPGDid not say good-bye to white pants man person with the white camper and the white car. Did not find Girl Person’s stolen shoe. Went to the tire shop to get some new wheels for the Big Blue Treat Wagon RV.  Then waited.  And waited.  And waited.  The later it got, the hotter it got in this Florida place and the more tired we got.  Tired of waiting on tires.  Yep. But it seemed pretty convenient that the tire shop was right down the road from Boy Person’s house where he grew up.  And so we got to thinking.  Why were we going to drive hours and hours to get to a campsite late and tired and hungry? This wasn’t the proper way to get started on this Adventure Of A Lifetime again.  We wanted to start out fresh, repaired, rejuvenated and happy to finish up our 14 states and 14 rescues! So the persons decided they would park at Boy Person’s old house until this morning and then get on the road.

Now, one thing you may not know about Girl Person. She frets as they say in the south, y’all.  She ain’t happy unless she has something to feel bad about which makes no dern sense to me.  Guess she has took after our Granny Person in this regard and has to feel guilty about everything under the sun.  So she worried what the fans would think that we didn’t get really back on the road yet again.  She felt guilty that she was letting people down. She felt guilty that maybe we were all tired.  Guilt, guilt, guilt.  It is something she is very good at I must say.

For dogs, we really don’t know guilt very well.  We do something bad but forget about it a minute later, or in Deputy Digby’s case, a few seconds.  But persons dwell and fret and Girl Person is no different.  She looked at me and Deputy Digby yesterday and said she had something to explain to us and to ask for our help to remember.

Girl Person told us that she was tired of feeling guilty.  She told us that the biggest reason for this trip was so that Digby and I could do what we loved the best.  Travel, and be with our persons. She told us that sometimes she worried if she made the right decision to do this trip.  Sometimes people say we look tired, or that we don’t get to rest.  If we rest too long, they still say we look too tired or that we look bored.  Girl Person said that only we know how we feel and that if or when this trip is too much for us, even if we only have one state to go, that is it.  She told us that if we are all having fun, we will keep going.  But she told us that she has to get rid of the guilt because it is taking away some of the joy.  I am all for that!!  Really, I am!  I have policing to do.  I don’t need to worry.

Girl Person told us that persons really need to start supporting each other.  Especially dog parents.  Every dog parent knows their dog the best.  It isn’t up to anyone else to criticize.  That is a Sheriff’s job.  Just saying.  This week, Girl Person posted a video of Deputy Digby eating his new raw diet, and although there was much support, there was a lot of mean things said.

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Dinner time! #winnerwinnerchickendinner

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Sometimes, we all have a bad day, so whatever was said, no worries!  In fact, Girl Person said that opening up discussion about different ways of pet parenting is fine by her!  And we all have a lot to learn. Did everyone who commented know we had to change his diet because he was ill and the vet recommend it to us? Did everyone know that he is feeling so much better since his new diet? Probably not, and that’s ok.  But it is also ok that not everyone agree.  And also ok for everyone to make their own decisions for their furkids without feeling guilty. If another pet parent makes a decision for their furkid that they believe in, we should support that if we can.  If another pet parent has a way of doing things that we may not agree with, do we talk about it in a loving way?  The guilt factor has got to go.  Support and love should be in its place.

And we are leaving the guilt in this Florida place for good.  There is no room in the RV for it. The only thing that is going to fit in this RV from now on is happy.  And that is that.  Guilt?  You. Are. Arrested.

Sometimes, you have to clear the air to feel better.  The air in here will never be clear if Digby is in it, but you get my point.  Guilt is a powerful thing to persons and makes you not do the things you want to.  If the persons felt guilty about all the animals they could not save, they wouldn’t save even one.

So let’s all get ready for this trip today even if it is day late and many dollars short. Our next destination is a place called Waveland, Mississippi by Monday.  Tonight though, we will be making a stop at Seminole State Park in Georgia which is half way.  We will stay there three nights and we will not feel guilty about it either!  You may be wondering who our Mississippi rescue pick is!  We will tell you that on Monday, and once again we will be sharing their adoptable animals, doing a video and showing you some cool things that Mississippi has to offer.  So are you excited?  If you are, don’t feel guilty about it, because this is going to be awesome.   Yes, we are sad to leave our Florida place, but it won’t be long till this trip is over and so there is no time for sad.  Or guilt. It is being left behind and we are ready to go! Let’s do this! Oh, by the way…Digby has something to say about guilt too below.  I will let him take over. He has pancake breath though. Just saying.

-Sheriff Peanut Butter Brickle

This is Deputy Digby Pancake. Guilt. Hmmm.  Stronger than dark maple syrup on a cold day when you can’t get it to come out of that bottle! Maple syrup makes me happy and don’t we all want the people we love to be happy too? I certainly want that for Girl Person as she does for me.  Girl Person has been trying to help me feel better.  She took me to the vet person, we made a lot of changes, and I know she has been worried about it.  One of my favorite parts in one of my favorite books, The Endless Path puts it pretty good how I feel.  I’ll read to you below. Gunny’s brother Bacchus is talking about their Girl Person, Laurie who helped write the book. And Bacchus wasn’t feeling good either sometimes, like me. Again, read with me below.


“I know it’s hard for Laurie that Gunny can’t get around easily anymore.  Sometimes I wish we were all young again.  I don’t feel as young anymore.  I don’t know what will happen tomorrow or after that.  I know Laurie has hardships and worries.  She takes good care of me and I am glad she loves me.  I want her to be happy”.-Bacchus

If you are a person and are trying to help your furkid feel better, or even another person feel better, you are doing the best that you can!! Give yourself credit!  We trust you.  We love you.  And you are doing a good job.  Always know that.  Because the little time we have together doesn’t have a second left in it for guilt.

This is pretty much the best book ever.  If you loved the book, A Dog’s Purpose, you will love The Endless Path book by Laurie Duperier and her dog, Gunny. The Endless Path tells the story of the extraordinary journey of two soulmates who overcame almost insurmountable odds to find each other and to stay together as long as they possibly could.

Thru the month of February, the book’s kind author is donating $5 for every book sold to 2 Traveling Dogs and our rescue mission! Plus, every book is autographed. In order for us to get credit, you must order only thru this link!

Thank you Laurie and Gunny, and to all of our fans for their continued support!

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