who are psychologically confused and have been seeing
psychiatrists or social workers for a while, are advised
to become active in animal care, or themselves indicate
that they would enjoy this.
To give you an idea of what goes on in this voluntary, extra assistance, we present a number of real life cases. Of course, names have been changed.
A solution to this situation would be if these voluntary animal caregivers were to receive a reasonable compensation for this "therapy" of for example 30 Euro per hour. This is a relatively high amount, but at least all three parties will gain something, because extra staff can be employed, either to give attention to people or to care for the animals.
Caring for animals is usually the work of volunteers. When these volunteers also have to support psychologically confused people, than three parties suffer:
Real life casesJohn is 40 years old and a schizophrenic.
Real life cases
Nadine is a fashion addict. Made a mess
of her life and ended up in a psychiatric clinic. Once
outside, she wants to work with animals. On high heels
and in a short skirt she turns up for her shift in animal
care. Nadine first smokes a cigarette, and a second and
a third. Then Nadine wants to call her therapist and then
her partner because she thinks he has cheated on her.
She thinks she may be pregnant, she says, and cries. Then
she opens her patent leather bag and out come various
perfume bottles. The four otherwise well-groomed animal
keepers are constantly and literally followed around and
sprayed with perfume, endlessly. Nadine is hungry and
disappears to the kitchen. She ends with a final cigarette.
Talks about her problems and smokes. The animal emergency
phone rings and she doesn't notice. On her next shift
Nadine turns up right on time, and the entire ritual is
Nico is 45 years old. Has permanent brain damage caused by an accident. Does other light work for a children's farm and the water management. Cleaning out cages, changing hay and taking water samples from the river for research. After a call, Nico goes out to pick up wounded animals. Nico poses as a vet or an ecologist, as an animal psychologist, a biologist and an anthropologist. He examines animals at caller's homes and makes diagnoses. During one of these he accidentally squeezes a turtledove to death. He becomes conceited and knows no limits. We have to constantly go with him or rectify his titles with callers. He orders the other volunteers around and claims he is the best.
Jack is 38. He takes medication for psychoses.
He frees an entire flock of geese in his van and transports
them. Busted wings, bleeding beaks, the van full of bird-do.
Jack leaves a duck and a parrot in a hot van with the
windows rolled up and goes for a cup of coffee somewhere.
Forgets about the animals in his car and forgets we are
waiting for him. Animals dead.
Marja is a nymphomaniac. Daycare
psychiatry. worked in the sex industry. Obsessed with
her body. Obviously an animal lover. But she doesn't get
round to it. Works out all day to keep her body in shape.
Theo is 32 and chronically
unemployed. Psychiatric problems, he says, he can't work.
Goes into disability. The administrative office sends
him to us. Wants to do anything for the animals.