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You know this is another tough area....................

I am committed to what we are doing but with mom with her stroke living with us, and my dad's lung cancer has just returned as stage IV, it makes you realize the balance you have to put in this or any activity which takes a lot of time.

I did not get started in this when my kids were young because I knew then of the time commitment and did not want to miss all those parts of them growing up [There was a very active team in NC as far back as the early 80s] - maybe I should have just took *them* into the woods - tough question - can't go back -

The divorce rate on an adjacent team is >70%

Things are all very confusing right now - so much is going on - anyone involved in SAR needs to realize the time commitment and the impact on all of your family relationships. And you have to be true to yourself - when you have a dream you can't let it go.
 

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Hi Nancy---So sorry you are so overwhelmed right now. SAR is such a large committment and so is family. Does your team allow a leave of absence? One of our members recently had a very ill mother and she bowed out for a while. She has an elderly dog who needs to retire and a young dog yet to certify, so she has been torn about her ability to train. She has just started to train again recently.

I think we need to remember, that while we are committed to SAR, we also are volunteers and need to do what ultimately is best for us and our families. I am blessed with a truely supportive husband and family network which allows me to do this with small children. If my husband wasnt so supportive, I know I would not be able to do this.

I am a bit daunted now that I am on 2 teams......I am starting to count how many trainings equals the 75% attendence that I have to maintain. I know I will skip one training for my kid's birthday party (could have set the party for Sun, but decided to put family first this time). I recently spent a bit of money on the FUNSAR course--not to mention the 2 full weekends (starting with Fri night) and this made me think more about the fact that I am a VOLUNTEER. I dont have to do this--I want to, but cant kill myself to be perfect at it.

You are right--this is such a tough area and hard to balance.....
 

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My team is very good - so I am not concerned about that -- but in 2005/2006 I was out for several months with a fractured ankle + metal plate (SAR training)

Then in 2007 I was out for 3 weeks with father's state 1 lung cancer, and 4+ months with mom's stroke.

Cyra was diagnosed with HD in 2006 just at the point where she would have been operational on trailing (we had just scheduled a retake of her certification test - we failed the first one on a day with 40mph gusts, 20mph sustained winds in very hilly terrain-but were cleared for a retake in a few weeks) ---our trail wound up being a 65 acre air scent problem.

So then I got Grim and have three high drive dogs in my house - at 11, Toby is calming down but. You know....

I know it sounds selfish but I need to keep going for my own emotional health - family comes first but you can't give all of yourself over to them and not go insane. I did that for many years and did not get to live my own life. It is like it never ends.

Since I work from home, getting out is even more critical for other human contact! My husband has been very supportive in all aspects but I need to give him a break too. My father has adequate money but is stingy - we are going to approach him about paying for a caregiver (my mother needs a strong person) on the weekends so my husband and I can have time together. At this point, even coming to training with me would be time together.

Kids remember those things; I missed some band competitions because of actual searches and my daughter told me how much it hurt........now that she is older she understands but it is a balance.

Yes we are volunteers because we have a passion for this; if this were a job it might be easier to walk away after hours
 

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Nancy, I agree with you totally, we are volunteers but there is not one person who really gets into K9 SAR who is not totally passionate about what we do. I love what I do with my dogs, and if I am totally honest I not only do it because I know its the right thing to do for the community but I do it for me. All week long I am a mum, a nurse, a wife, a peacemaker ( I am the assistant director of nursing so i get yelled at a lot), when I am out working my dog its me and the dog, out in the woods, with people who are as passionate about their dogs and their work as I am. Its the fellowship, the joy of being outside, the rush of when you and your dog reach that point where you truely function as a team and work in unison to acheive a common goal. My husband works his own dog, he is not as involved as i am, but is wonderfully supportive and my daughters are very proud of what we do and support us. They know that I have missed some school events, some shopping trips and many, many nights of sleep but they understand the calling and mission. I am lucky enough that my parents are healthy, mum is even starting to work a dog of her own, so I cant relate to what you are going through Nancy, but my heart goes out to you. I totally know how you feel about doing this for you and as much as you can I think you need to keep doing it for you, the dogs and the community. I am sure your parents are so very proud of you for what you and the dogs do and encourage you to keep doing it.
 

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Quote: I know it sounds selfish but I need to keep going for my own emotional health
We all need to be selfish--especially when faced with caring for the young, the sick, the elderly. You 'd go crazy otherwise. As long as SAR isnt just another responsibility that is dragging you down.

SAR is also my 'selfish' thing. I have been wanting to do this for years, got a dog, couldnt find a team, got pregnant, and got through the toddler years with twins. At that point Roland was too old to start, so I figured I would wait until he went to the bridge and do SAR then (I wont have more than one high drive dog at a time right now--3 sounds exciting
). I ended up losing Roland at 7yrs and the first thing I told dh when we talked about another dog was--"I will do SAR with this one!!!"

I work from home too--stay at home mom plus a (very) small business--so I hear ya--human contact is very needed!! Sometimes being out in the woods is the only time I have alone with my hubby too LOL!

I hope very much you can get a caregiver for your mother, it is too much to do by your self. Besides the dignity issues (if they come up). My grandmother needs help with many daily things and she accepted the help much more when my Aunt hired someone. Now my Aunt gets to be a daughter again instead of the mother.

Good luck with mom and dad. Good luck with Grimm!!
 

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Re: SAR & Families & commitment

Thanks for the kind and understanding comments.
 

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Nancy;

I'm sorry that you are feeling so overwhelmed right now. I'm a hug type of person, and I think you need a hug, so here ((HUGS)).


I also want to thank you for posting this very down-to-earth post. For those of us (like me) who have always wanted to do SAR, but are novices, it's a wake-up call about what we are considering embarking on.

Whether we choose to continue working on this dream or decide that we need to choose a different way to contribute to our community, it's still great to be reminded about what a difficult situation we could be put in. (Especially those who are middle aged and caught between raising children and aging parents, in addition to achieving our own dreams).

Best Wishes;

Angela
 

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I have no family, so I can't really speak in the word of experience (but I think SAR has a lot to be in why I'm still single). What I can speak is in name of life in general. In a perfect world I'd be working with my team and I'd have went to Peru earthquake and several other big operations and I would still be training Auca and not starting a new pup. But in a perfect world I'd have found a job in Santiago and wouldn't had to leave my apartment and my friends and wouldn't had to have all my books and my stuff in boxes in my grandmother basement.

I've had to move from one place to another all my life (to be raised in a dictatorship didn't help, but that is another story) and if I learned something is that you have to live in the present, just like dogs because you never knows what future brings, just like our dogs. When I was with my SAR team I put all my time and effort and heart in it, I can be very passionated if I want, but life brought me to another place and now it's my time to resolve other things before I can go back and I'll have to put my heart in Diabla in the meantime. Maybe others would have advised me to wait before to get a puppy, but I don't believe in to wait because my life will never be perfect, not at least as I chose to live it and I have to work with what I have and resolve things as they appear. I'm not the kind of person who is going to have a family with a house and a white fence but I have very good tales of my adventures to tell to whoever who wants to hear them.

My message is to live the moment of your life in which you are NOW. If you had the opportunity to live SAR 100% that is wonderful and if this is your time to dedicate to your family it is good too in the same way you took the right decision that it was the time to enjoy the childhood of your kids before. Nobody can ever know what is around the corner and you can let it stop you to live the life as it comes. All you can do is commit to wathever is your priority and to live as passionately as a good working line GSD do for his toy.
 
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