Home › Forums › Advice & Chat › Did I do a terrible thing?
- This topic has 127 replies, 7 voices, and was last updated 1 year, 8 months ago by Kate.
Oh that makes me feel bullied! Jk no it doesn’t. I have had therapy in the past when needed. I’m fine.JuliaGuest
Perhaps it was not the wisest thing for the poster to get so involved. I think she is guilty of having a big heart.
I’m not sure why so many comments are so unkind towards the poster.
She felt badly for the woman. She was just trying to get her a warm place for a few days. She took the dog to protect it. It spiraled…. such is life.
If the poster wants the dog, I say keep it, love it and give it a good home. And do not feel guilty.
If the poster does not want the dog, try to find a good home for it.
An innocent animal should not be left with a person who is so mentally unwell.
I think your heart was in the right place. Next time call the authorities and let them handle the situation.
If I am ever in trouble, I hope that someone as kind and compassionate as you crosses my path.
God Bless you. I wish you well
This idea that people with mental health issues shouldn’t have pets and, in fact, we can decide to take their pets away from them, is ableist bs.ronGuest
Is it really? LW never took the position that people with mental health issues shouldn’t have pets. She found a distraught young woman on the street. Agencies she could refer her to for help apparently were closed or couldn’t help her at the time. We don’t know how long this young woman was on the street, probably not long. We can certainly suspect that she was at great risk of being trafficked if left on the streets. The best approach, IMHO, would have been to let the police take her for a mental health eval. Even if that happened, a place would need to be found for the dog. LW tried to keep the young woman out of police custody and succeeded. Probably both the LW and the young woman had some fear of the police, based on all we are hearing in the news about misconduct and lack of sympathy toward the mentally ill. So, she arranged for young woman to stay in motel. I’m assuming she knew that the young woman couldn’t stay there with the dog. She knew where the cab would take her.
Crazy that she would give the young woman $500, saying it’s for the dog. She probably saw it as for the rent and food. She messed up, but it sounds like she was trying to help and had exhausted a lot of options. It does not sound like she wanted to steal the dog.
Yes, I think it is, and I was responding to the last comment.
PS a lot of hotels and motels take dogs.ele4phantGuest
Some people really are unwell enough that they cannot provide good care for a pet, and their pet should be taken from them.
But, OP is not in a position to decide that. They aren’t a mental health expert, they don’t hold any position of authority in society. In fact, they clearly indicated that they themselves have really poor judgement, so why would we assume the dog is better with them?
Maybe the dog shouldn’t go back to this young woman, but it shouldn’t stay with the OP, and yes, the OP needs to think long and hard about what the impact of their “big heart” is on other people.
As I’ve said many times, it is impact that matters, not intent. I hope to God OP learned something from this experience and tries to channel their compassion in more productive and helpful ways in the future.
Hell, the OP has significant mental health issues if they’re going to ~weekly~ therapy and/or writing a post like this. They’re in no position to judge if someone else should have a pet.TommyGuest
I agree with Julia- the only thing the LW is guilty of is caring too much. And of course people with mental issues can have pets, but this one couldn’t provide food, shelter and a stable environment, and that’s why the LW did the right thing for this animal.KGuest
I don’t think you were being malicious and just reacted to the situation. I do think some people are being quite harsh to you. It wasn’t a black or white situation. The only thing I would do now is too unblock her number in case she wants to get in touch about her dog. Meet in a public place. Good luckJhadGuest
I disagree with the posters who said you were wrong to take the dog. If the woman was admitted to a psych unit or taken to jail, the dog would have probably taken to a shelter and euthanized in a few days. You may want to unblock your phone in a couple of days and see if you hear from this woman. Then set up a safe place to meet – like outside a police station – and discuss how she plans to take care of the dog. But really, do you want to keep the dog? If you don’t, is it a specific breed where you could find a rescue shelter? You tried to do the right thing and it blew up on you, but know you tried. Good Samaritan.PurpleStarGuest
I am late to this – but I just read the entire thread. I work in mental health – no, I am not a clinician. My takeaways from this thread.
OP wanted to help. The established venues for assistance were closed. She put the woman up in the hotel with the plan to get her to an established venue as soon they opened. It sounds like the woman was in the middle of a crisis – could be a mental health crisis, drug-induced crisis, a combination of both. OP meant well. Things went south when the crisis escalated.
The OP sounds like she has a fear of police and was afraid of what they would do to this woman. In a panic, having been woken in the middle of the night, she acted rashly and without forethought. She now feels horrible about this. She knows she was wrong. She is not looking for vindication but for suggestions on what she should do next.
All she can do, at any point since that night, is reach out to the women and offer the dog back. She has done that. If the woman was in crisis, there is a good chance she is in hospital (hopefully) or jail right now and cannot respond.
I was rather upset at how quickly the forum began to use OP’s mental health against her. The comments that she must have serious problems because she sees a therapist weekly were appalling and highlight the pervasive shaming of the mentally ill in our society. Seeing a therapist weekly, monthly, whenever, should never be shamed nor should it be something to be ashamed of. I appauld the OP for addressing her mental health needs. It is from her experiences – that we, the readers, know nothing of, that she wants to help others. Was her 3:00 am course of action well thought out – No it was not. It was reactionary from a panicked perspective that we do not understand because we do not occupy space in her head or know her past experiences.
Honestly, the appropriate course of action would have been to let the police handle this. The woman would most likely have wound up at the hospital on a hold until the court could have her assessed for commitment. My agency, and many others across the country, has a trained team of clinicians that work with the police department and go out to these types of situations 24/7/365 to de-escalate and evaluate.
As for the dog, it looks like it will be in the OPs care unless the woman reaches out to her to retrieve it. Do I think the dog will be better off right now? Yes, I do. Animals feel stress, and having an owner in the middle of what seems to be a huge mental health crisis on the streets is not a safe situation for the dog. If the owner is committed or jailed the dog winds up in a shelter and potentially euthanized. I would rather see the dog off the streets than dead. Hopefully, the woman will stabilize and reach out to the OP if she wants her dog back.