The life of a rescuer is not an easy one. We are called animal hoarders by many people. They can’t see over their own noses to see that if we weren’t doing what we do that these animals would have no chance at a decent life. This life is not for everyone, but if it chooses you, then you answer the call without hesitation. From the time we get up until the time we go to bed, we are constantly caring for the animals in our care. We give medication, food, water, clean sleeping areas, clean litter boxes (for those of us with cats/kittens), and above all we give them love.
Our lives revolve around our animals. As a child I never said, “When I grow up I want to run an animal rescue.” So how did I end up dedicating my adult life to saving dogs and cats from euthanasia, and placing them in loving homes? I watched a video on YouTube by Kitten Lady Hannah Shaw. Because of her I began thinking that I could care for the most vulnerable of lives.
Pet overpopulation is a national crisis. The Humane Society of The United States estimates 3-4 million dogs and cats are euthanized in shelters across the country each year. Rescuers know that spaying and neutering is the solution to this crisis; however, getting local communities, city and state governments to agree on how to deal with the issue is difficult.
People often tell me they can’t visit animal shelters because it makes them sad. Animal shelters make rescuers sad, too, but we refuse to let our emotions get in the way of saving lives. We understand we can’t save them all but we can and do make a difference. Alone, rescuers have shed many tears for animals they can’t save; like Coco, a beautiful chocolate kitty found dumped in the woods close to death. Thrown out like a piece of trash, yet when he crossed the rainbow bridge, he felt love, compassion, and family. But they get up the next day and get back into the ring as they fight for those creatures who can’t speak for themselves.
A typical day finds a rescuer taking their rescues to vet appointments, cleaning kennels and litter boxes, answering phone calls and e-mails from people who want to give up their pet or who have found a lost or stray animal. We also educate the public on responsible pet ownership, go to adoption events, hold fundraisers, and foster homes to spend time with the animals in our care. But our favorite part of the job is delivering a dog or cat to its new forever home. There is no greater joy than when an animal who was so close to death gets adopted and becomes an important family member.
Every adoption is a victory and a joy, but there are some that stick out in my mind: Callie the little Staffy mix puppy that almost died because of a misdiagnosis from a vet. Buckie, the scared little minpin mix whose adopter sat for over an hour in the grass to earn her trust, and Timon, the once semi feral boy who became so loving and gentle after his neuter surgery that a very kind woman adopted him. All of these animals would not have had a chance except for the rescuer that took them in and loved them while teaching every one of those neglected animals that all humans are not bad.
As rescuers we know that every time we save an animal there is the possibility that this animal can make a profound impact on one person’s life. We dream of a day when our services won’t be needed, where there is a loving home waiting for every dog and cat in the world. I am like Tia Marie Torres who says “My mission is to rescue; my dream is to one day not have to.”
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