After six and a half years in dog rescue, which I have minimal-to-no involvement in at the moment, I thought I’d compile the cast of characters who often occupy a rescue organization. I’m sure you’ll find many of the same types in your workplaces, as most are volunteers and earn money elsewhere. While well-intentioned, if the structure of the organization isn’t very well maintained or established, which is often the case in rescue, all of these types end up being a pain in someone’s ass at some point. If you sprinkle a little mental instability over them, and combine it with a lack of structure, you get the following cartoon-y archetypes:
The Lap is there to cuddle dogs. She wants to sit with a dog, cuddle and pet it, and call it a day. She’s not concerned with much of anything else. Often clueless. You may find yourself approaching The Lap and muttering things like, “Could you please move your chair? You’re sitting directly in front of the donation jar.”
When asked to do something, like maybe clean up some pee, or get up and do anything else, The Lap will start up with herky jerky movements, leash of dog in hand, not sure of how to stand since there’s a dog in her lap, as if she’s never done anything but sit there up to this point in her life. She usually figures it out after a few minutes.
The Pat on the Back Addict
The Pat on the Back Addict doesn’t like to do anything without effusive praise afterwards. Will often passive aggressively fish for praise. Example, will post on a message board: “Did someone get the five dollar bill I put in the donation jar this Saturday? It was green, had Abraham Lincoln on it, and my name written across it in permanent marker. Please let me know if you saw it and if it’s been deposited. Maybe we can use it to buy some more dog treats since the ones that I previously bought seem to have disappeared.” Does usually wear pants, though.
The Basket Case
The Basket Case is highly volatile and takes everything personally. If a foster home, will say things like, “But Peanut can’t go to a home without a DVR, he gets so nervous during commercials, I think something bad happened to him in his last home when a Swiffer commercial was on.” Then, will turn around and say, “Why did that lady who looks like me and has good manners get turned down for a dog? Our standards must be way too strict if we didn’t let her have one.” When explanations are made, will fly into rage, call people terrible names, storm out of rooms, then become upset that no one takes her seriously.
The Big Idea
The Big Idea comes up with elaborate, grand schemes that are often not thought through and don’t really work in a small organization filled with burned-out people. “I think we should bedazzle the names of every dog on their collars! It will be a good identifier, and will spruce things up and encourage adoptions!” When someone (usually the Wet Blanket) points out that we don’t have any money in the budget for bedazzling supplies, often responds with, “You hate the dogs!” If given permission to do Big Idea as long as she figures out how to do it herself and gets her own help, project often fizzles, and The Big Idea will express surprise about how long bedazzling takes.
The Burned-Out Wet Blanket
The Burned-Out Wet Blanket is hated by all other types. She’s generally a downer. She does a lot of work, and so therefore has a low tolerance for people who don’t do much work or new ideas that will cause more work. Often heard saying things like, “And exactly who is going to do xyz?” Her chit chat with other people consists of correcting something they’re doing wrong, often in passing (literally), which makes it even more bitchy to those being corrected. Saying things like “I don’t think I can do this much longer” is taken by others as a threat, for some reason. She’s really a nice person, or used to be, before her workload enveloped her like a dark beast. Ok, fine, yes, I was the Wet Blanket type.