Love Me, Love My Passion to Rescue Animals

Love Me, Love My Passion to Rescue Animals


Having both a dog and a dating life can be tricky, but guess what happens if you are an animal rescuer like me?

Love Me, Love My Passion to Rescue Animals

As many single mothers will tell you, having kids, whether two-legged or four, is often seen as too much baggage. It gets worse if your dog is old and needs a lot of care. You’re suddenly on the “do not date” list. No one comes near you anymore. The perception is that you’re a nut because you’re so heavily involved in caring for “just a dog.”  Caring for your own dog is bad enough. Guess what happens if you are an animal rescuer?

I briefly dated a man who called while I was driving from Marina del Rey to Pasadena to rescue a dog. He suggested a spontaneous meeting and asked what I was doing. When I said I was going to Pasadena, that alone did not bother him, but when he heard what it was for, he was incensed.

It seemed that, in his mind, it would have been fine if I were driving to Pasadena to shop or meet with a friend for lunch. However, because it was for “a dog,” he complained that I was choosing the dog over him. It was the last time I spoke with him. Yet, had this man wanted to spend more time with me, he would have been welcome to come along on numerous rescue missions. Still, he wanted nothing to do with dogs, or with rescuing dogs, despite knowing that I am a well-known rescuer who is the head of Forte Animal Rescue, an established rescue organization. Did he think I would just change this huge part of my life in order to accommodate him?

I have known of many husbands and boyfriends who were displeased when the women in their lives found their passion to be animal rescue. One hubby claimed that his wife chose to volunteer at adoption events to stay away from him. Another went out of his way to find a job on Wall Street to peel his wife away from Los Angeles, the mecca for rescue.

I fail to understand why so many men feel threatened when women are inspired to rescue animals. In fact, many of those anti-rescue hubbies and boyfriends are dog lovers and were even proud of their wives and girlfriends for their unselfish interest in volunteering for rescue groups — at the beginning. Then, these men eventually complain that their women are consumed. Why is it fine for him to be lost in video games or football, but the woman in his life cannot have passion for anything other than for him?

I’m not just bashing men here. There are women who would get rid of their beloved dogs if it means getting a husband. Rescue groups regularly receive calls from women who say, “My fiancé doesn’t like dogs, so I have to get rid of my dog.” A business acquaintance told me that, 20 years ago, she had to give away her dog, so that her boyfriend would marry her. She’s still married to him but also remembers the incident, still bitter that she was willing to trade her pet for a wedding ring.

I happened to be reading a newspaper column, “Ask Amy,” and the letter writer wrote about his wife: “She is a person who is always helping kids. She is a teacher’s aide. As a family, we have taken in children who needed homes for the past 17 years. She helps pregnant, unwed moms by supporting and collecting stuff for them to use for their babies, such as car seats and baby equipment and formula.”

I was expecting him to say that he’s had enough and that it was his turn to be cared for, but he wrote the letter because he wanted to praise his wife, which was very touching. Yet, at the same time, it made me wonder how many husbands and boyfriends would ever say anything like this about their partner if they were saving dogs instead of people.

Relationship coaches warn women not to marry a man and then expect to change him. Yet so many men want to change their women when they feel they must compete with her pets.

If your man is averse to your passion for animal rescue, run in the other direction, the direction of your nearest shelter and rescue an animal that will offer you unconditional love. A dog or a cat won’t criticize your compassion for animals or make you feel like you have to defend yourself for being who you are.

Whether your passion is rescue or some other good cause, instead of abandoning it for the wrong man, pursue your passion, don’t lose your compassion, and tell your suitor up front, “love me, love my dog” and say it’s not negotiable.

Marie AtakeSingularCity member Marie Atake is Founder & President of Forte Animal Rescue and a former Commissioner on the Board of L.A. Animal Services. To learn more about Marie, please see this story in Singular magazine “Meet SingularCity Member Marie Atake.”
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6 thoughts on “Love Me, Love My Passion to Rescue Animals

  1. I am sorry you women feel this way. Because you’re the one’s that are going to miss out in your later years as there will not be someone that will suppirt then, Don’t get ne wrong we have six digs between us. I wouldn’t mine if she only brought home dogs or agreed to foster, as I have opened up my house many times to foster. What bothers me is volunteering to help everyone that asks for help, She is on Facebook 24/7 talking dogs or naking & hanging fliers, I would say I am lucky to get 2-3 hours of uninterrupted attention, She is always broke Web because tge Rescue Owner completely takes advantage of her and has her working from 10am to 11pn/12AM like 6 nights a week, She says she loves me but can’t commit to 1 Date Night a week and finds away blow s off all holidays or functions Important to me

  2. I have 3 dogs and i have been told by numerous men that they like me but……. 3 DOGS!
    Needless to say they are not in my life because i would never give up my fur babies for anyone.
    If the person cares about me/you they would never demand that you get rid of your animals.
    If a man demands this>>>>> RUN>>>>>. It tells me that his needs are more important than mine and therfore selfish.
    My life is better because of my furbabies, yes challanging and time consuming but I would do all over again.
    I have no regrets on having my beautiful, loving, affectionate, funny furbabies.

    1. Hi Dahlia. I was reading your post and some of the others. I have been married for 3 1/2 years. When I met my wife she had 3 Pug fur babies. To make a long story short. I will just focus on the pugs and not on all our marriage issues. I’m a flight attendant and my wife used to be one as well. That’s how we met. We had marital issues. She decided to stop communicating with me took a leave of absence from work stopped contributing financially. I came home from a trip and she has 18 pugs at home. 5 of our own and 13 fosters. I love the dogs(pugs). Please explain to me how that is completely ok in a relationship when there was no discussion about having that many dogs under one roof. I’ve tried to make sense of it all. How is that not being selfish? I understand rescuing is a life choice. It takes passion, dedication, it’s emotionally draining and o’course very rewarding. I will stop there. Think about it 18 dogs. I’m doing all the work. Up to my neck in bills and starting to fall behind in my payments. She is no longer working. I now know she quit her job to concentrate on dog(pug) rescue. I beg her to scale back a bit on fostering cause I needed help financially. Nothing. No communication. Just telling me that I don’t support her and so on and so forth. Don’t support her? How? We started with 3 dogs, that turned to 18. I can only support so much when I ask you for help and get a cold shoulder. How is that ok. Can someone tell that this is not being selfish. I don’t understand.

  3. I am married. My husband couple of times made some comment about my love and passion for the dogs and the cats, I made it very clear to him that never ever argue with me over the animals because he will never win, and if one day he decides to leave , is fine with me but he can never come back because I will immediately replace him with a dog. I have threee cats. He has stopped argue with me.

  4. I’ll take the dogs over a husband ANY day!!!

    If a man/woman cannot even appreciate what we do, then I have no respect for them and don’t let the door hit ya on the way out, BYE! This is not just a passion for saving lives, it’s a lifestyle, to do something meaningful for those that cannot help themselves. I personally have no room to tolerate selfish, self-serving people and if someone does not see the value in saving a life, that is exactly what they are, selfish.

    Shame on you who discard your pet (family) for someone. You obviously do not value yourself if you are choosing to be with someone who would make you do such a despicable thing. It is true, if they love you, they will love your dog!!!

  5. I volunteer every Friday to feed the homeless. I recently stopped seeing someone because he disapproved of my volunteer work…

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