When I tell people that I run a rescue I get a variety of responses.
Some are merely curious. “Oh? Why?”
Some want to know if I make money doing it. When I say no they are horrified. “Why would you do something that take so much time if you’re not getting paid?”
Inevitably I respond to most with a blanket answer, but the truth is the answer is not so easy.
Why? Why do I run a rescue? Why do I do something that takes so much time if I’m not getting paid?
There are really no easy answers. I run a rescue because I want to make a difference. I want to save lives. I want to match people to a companion and new member of their family. No, I don’t make money doing it, in fact, oftentimes I lose money doing it. But that doesn’t matter in the end. What I do get out of doing rescue is worth far more than money. I get to see a neglected, abused dog learn to love and trust. I get to see a dog from a horrific hoarding situation get cleaned up and transformed into a beloved family member. I get to see an obese dog lose weight and gain energy and get a new lease on life. I get to see a little girl meet her new best friend. I get emails and texts and photos from people whose lives have changed by taking a rescue dog into their lives. I have made countless friends in my time doing rescue.
But there are two sides to rescue. I also see the tears of the person giving up their much loved companion because they know it’s the best thing for them. I see the older dog that is given up because the family has found a newer, younger dog. I see the dog who lost all of its teeth because the owners never took it to a vet. I see the filthy, sick dog that has lived in a chicken coop for most of its life. I see the puppy left in a crate all day every day because its people have no time or patience for it. I see the dogs left on chains outside because in their owner’s eyes they are only good for producing puppies. I have learned to fight back tears and bite back my anger and disgust so I can get a dog out of a bad situation.
Rescue is bittersweet. It is never black and white. There is so much horror and heartbreak that sometimes I think I just can’t keep doing it. But then there are moments of such happiness and joy that I know I can never NOT do it. When I see dogs that I fostered in my home come running to see me I am overwhelmed. They are the reason I run a rescue. The neglected, the abandoned, the abused. They are why I do rescue because without rescues, these dogs do not have a voice. We are their voices; we are the ones who can make a difference in their lives.
There are no easy answers because rescue is not easy. Fostering is not easy. It is work, hard work. But it is so very rewarding.
If you are interested in helping dogs in need, contact a local rescue. Rescues cannot survive without people to help, whether it’s fostering dogs, networking dogs, donating supplies or money. Every bit helps save lives.
And that’s why I do rescue.