Some of you may remember my "Why rabbits?" post from a while back. I have another question to answer. Some people wonder, "Why rescue?" Those of us who rescue just know. I'm going to try to put it into words.
It's no secret that animal rescue is difficult, heartbreaking work. Rescuers fall into it through different means. Some people adopt a pet and want to go the extra mile. Others might find a stray animal and start down the road of rescue. Regardless of how it happens, each rescuer recognizes the overwhelming need. We cannot stand back and do nothing. We feel compelled to do more than adopt. The drive to save those creatures who cannot help themselves is part of our very souls. It is not for everyone - and all rescuers are eternally grateful to people who help in any way - those who adopt, those who donate, those who spread the word on social media. You are all part of the living, breathing web of animal rescue networks.
I've had so many people ask why I do it. It's hard to explain to others why you willingly subject yourself to heartbreak, ignorant people, financial loss, and spend hours of your time transporting, networking, and don't forget scrubbing poo! It is frustrating. We must deal with ignorant and neglectful people - people who see nothing of value in a companion animal...those who would discard them without a thought. It is a continuous fight to encourage spay/neuter, stop backyard breeders, and asking people to provide basic proper care.
We clean up other people's messes. Irresponsible breeders. Post-holiday dumps. "I got this pet for my 3 year old and he's tired of it". People who couldn't even think a year ahead for their changing life circumstances. They just wanted a puppy, a kitten, a rabbit for the the moment. They did not give a thought to the long-term commitment of having a pet. Every rescue out there...dog, cat, rabbit, guinea pig, bird, whatever...is familiar with this. We take in animals who have been forgotten and neglected. They come in sick, emaciated, with parasites, with overgrown nails. All because someone just didn't care. That is what we're here for. What it all boils down to is that we care so much that we must do something.
We put time, effort, and emotion into preparing these animals to go into a new and happy home. So many people don't understand why rescues are so "picky" about homes for their animals. We are picky because we have put our hearts and souls into rescuing each animal. We love each one. We have every right to deny a home that we don't feel deserves our animal.
We cry over the ones we can't save. Sometimes an animal is just too sick or too neglected. It is a hard truth, but we cannot save every one. Occasionally they die unexpectedly...perhaps a lifetime of an improper diet has taken its toll. Sometimes a rabbit will go in for a spay and is so riddled with uterine cancer that it is only humane to put her down. We cry. We comfort one another. And we work to save the next one.
The heartbreak is great, but the reward is worth it. I love seeing the happy endings. This is why we do it. There is nothing quite so satisfying as seeing an animal who came into rescue sick and terrified blossom into a happy, healthy, loved pet. We had an underweight, urine-stained, ear-mite infested bunny come in a while back. She has bloomed in her home. She is lovely - her fur is now beautiful white, and she is happy and healthy. I am so happy that many people in my family have rescue pets. My sister has a former puppy mill breeder shih tzu. She's been a work in progress, but she is learning to trust and know that she is loved and safe. My brother has a mutt who was a stray in Miami. He was a day from being PTS. He was skinny and sick. My brother and his wife adopted him. He is the happiest, most wonderful dog you could meet. My mom has a rescued bunny she loves dearly. I have 3 rescued bunnies, 2 rescued piggies, and a rescued hamster.
It takes all kinds in the rescue world. We are all so different, and yet we share this one common goal - to save animals. It drives us, it breaks us, but it completes us. This is why we rescue.
|Teddy - a day away from being PTS. He is happy and loved now.|