Why do we rescue? I think the question should be “why would we not?”
To open your heart to another being in need is a human gift, a gift given at birth. Somewhere, for some, this gift has been lost. So, to those of us who cannot turn away, for those of us who become angry or sad at others cruelty, know that what you feel is normal. These emotions can be used to do something about it! they can fuel pro-activity. They can be what inspires a Rescuer to achieve great heights when channeled productively. In fact, I believe that without these emotions we would not be driven to save so many lives….
There are different kinds of Rescuers...some of us may help just a few animals, giving them shelter in our homes and medical care if needed. Sometimes keeping them as our own pets, sometimes finding good homes for them. Others may branch out and volunteer with shelters while others may have their own charities or be employed by one. Whichever kind of Rescuer we are, we are all cut from the same cloth.
We were born with the love, compassion and empathy to do everything in our power to give unconditional love and help to a being that desperately needs it. We do this over and over with not so much as a question as to “how can I do this” or “should I do this?” but that “I will make this work, no matter what”. We are faced over and over with adversity, even judgment and criticism, this does not deter us, because in our heart, we know that what we are doing is our truth. What is our truth? Not questioning ourselves, believing with every ounce of our being that what we are doing is for the betterment of others. What we are doing is being human. Or, I should say, the right kind of human.
Who are we to turn our back on suffering? How on Earth could we ever make sense of that? When people ask us if “we’ve taken on too much” or “why are we doing this, it doesn’t make sense.” We know that we can handle it, we’ll find a way and it doesn’t make sense that it doesn’t make sense.
A common denominator that I have observed with Rescuers, is that we have a different set of priorities. For many, this line of work is not a lucrative one. Yes, there are many who have financial security, and they give generously, but those that are fighting for every dollar, will spend it on an animal in need before they spend it on themself. In my own personal experience, it is those with far less that are the ones who give the most. I personally would rather save a dog than have a Prada purse.
We have each other…with the internet, social media in particular, we can now connect with kindred spirits around the Globe, we can help empower and support one another at the click of a mouse. Instead of focusing on the “others” we are able to network with all those that have the same goal in mind; ease the suffering of other beings and do it unconditionally. Just as they unconditionally love us. With this empowerment we are able to make monumental differences in the World of Rescue. And what a beautiful World it is.
Please visit my store. Every T-shirt sold will help save a life. Thank you for stopping by!
Written by guest blogger Carly Arbitman who is getting featured, along with her dog Carl, in Oprah Winfrey's magazine! Congratulations Carly!
When one envisions getting a dog, it is usually the image of a puppy with large eyes, a soft nose and big paws that comes to mind. One expects to go to the vet for puppy shots, learn how to house train, have the occasional shoe or piece of furniture chewed on and, most of all, to have a loyal companion for 10+ years. Dogs are our best friends; giving everything to us unconditionally even when we do not realize we need or want it. That is why it is particularly heartbreaking when I see an older dog left in a shelter where they are disoriented, scared and have no understanding why they have been left, possibly to die, in a cold, unforgiving cage.
I understand that there are 'life events' that can render a human unable to care for an elderly pet. I think that it is difficult (not just financially) to watch a dog age and our society is designed to constantly want an upgrade when something gets old, worn out and needs maintenance. Face it, a new iPhone has barely been released before another version is being promoted. We have become a World where things are easily discarded and for some, dogs are included. This is where I decided to make a change, even if it is only significant to one dog at a time, I would adopt and care for an older dog for whatever amount of time they had left.
A few years ago, my sister rescued a 5lb chihuahua from a hoarder and brought here into my life. She was old, had only 4 rotten teeth in her mouth, a significant heart murmur and occasionally had seizures. She was also sweet, spunky and fearless. The moment I met her I realized we had a connection and knew she was supposed to be my dog. I named her Chiclet and had almost three wonderful years with her. It was incredibly hard when I had to let her go, but I do not regret adopting her, only that it was for such a short time. Even though she was tiny, Chiclet left a big impression on me and I now understand the love and gratitude that older dogs have for those who adopt them. These older dogs are thrown away and have to learn to live differently with no understanding of why. On the day Chiclet died I decided that I needed to adopt another older dog. Even though losing her hurt and I never wanted to feel pain like that again, I knew there was another little dog out there that was sad and in need of love and care and that I could help.
After Chiclet died, I (half jokingly) said to my sister that I would end up adopting an old, blind, deformed chihuahua. Two weeks later Carl, an 8lb Chihuahua mix who was blind from glaucoma and had a severely deformed front leg, showed up on the Animal Care and Control's Super Urgent list (the dogs on this list can be put on the euthanasia list at any time). He was everything I wanted and just like with Chiclet, I knew he needed to be my dog. Luckily, a great rescue group pulled him out of the shelter and he was transported (via The Mayor's Alliance) to me.
The first night Carl curled up in my bed with his head resting on my pillow and I could see that he knew he was where he belonged. Older dogs are grateful in ways that puppies can never be because an older dog has trusted and loved and been let down. Once they feel loved and safe again there is nothing more special then the look they get on their face (yes even the blind ones have the look!) and the peace that radiates around them. I will always see the value in an older dog and will honor Chiclet, Carl and all the others who will come after them by giving them a safe and happy place to live out their lives.
Please consider adopting an older dog. It may only be for a short time, but they will remain in your heart and add strength to your life forever.
Chiclet may she R.I.P. and Carl.