Rescue Journal


Alison  ·  Dec. 14, 2006

lot's of people have trouble with that word. they think rescue really means running out in the middle of the night in a blinding blizzard and climbing down a cliff and saving an animal in great distress while ignoring ones own frostbite and snow blindness. or they think it means sacrificing ones own life and happiness in the pursuit of saving others. or even that every single rescue is a living fairy tale of happy endings.

the problem with all of those definitions of rescue is not only their extremes but their absolute pre-defined scenarios. rescue is much harder and more difficult than all of that put together. it is easy to follow a single road without any turns or alternate paths. it is easy to travel a journey with a mapped out route with all the rules and regulations in place to prevent the possiblilty of error.

to me rescue means not only choosing to provide safe haven but following thru to finish the job to the end. i have never understood the concept that rescue means taking an animal at risk or in distress and unloading them elsewhere and going back out for more. it is a fine line because i have criteria for the animals who can come here. animals who pose a serious and continued risk for harm to the others, cannot stay here. animals like maude or potato ed who we can minimize the risk to the others (ed was dangerous to the cats, maude to the farm animals) can stay because we can easily keep everyone safe by making a few simple and easy to maintain adjustments to ensure this. but others, like angel, bear and finnigan we could not. it all depends of each circumstance and each individual animal. in any case, our criteria are firm and in place and everyone bringing an animal here is aware. but...others who come here pose other problems. huge medical bills, incontinence that adds to our already crushing work load, not always nice personalities that add to the stress and impact the peace of the others. we work it thru.

how many times have we knowingly consigned an animal to death or continued hardship and distress simply because we do not have a place for them here. we do it every week when we turn them away, day after day, time and time again. we know we are doing it and we accept the burden of that knowledge and the accompanying guilt. we cannot rescue what we are lacking in space, resources and appropriate care to follow thru with.

i think rescue is many things, but first and lastly it is committment to follow thru and see it out til the end, no matter what. and if euthanization is the end result and no other options are available than that is where you reluctantly go. it is dealing with the leaks, the grumpiness, the destruction, the fear, and the pain, it is accepting that rescue animals are not perfect little puzzle peices to fit into our perfect rescue picture. it is seeking and finding solutions and standing firm; compassionate and respectful while you do it. it is about creating a new rescue picture where they can and will fit and find peace. it is not about grabbing them from their place of darkness and then saying ooops, too much for me or no where here for you and sending them onwards to whatever. rescue means you are safe or your trauma has come to an end and we are there beside you, now and forever should you need.

and if we can't do that, then they can't come and i am truly, truly sorry.


Chris Thomas

Carol your comments should apply to all things we do with animals. When we add an animal to our family it is for life. They are not disposable. If more people lived by your code of ethics the need for rescues would be greatly reduced.