Rescue Journal

another honest opinion

Carol  ·  Jan. 3, 2008

rescue is an odd sort of world because really we have very few rules. that is because to a certain extent, rescuers tend to be lone rangers. we all come from different backgrounds, we all learned things in different ways, we all have different strengths and weakness and different challenges to face. basically, we all have our ways that we rescue that are different from everyone else.

it is kind of like this myraid patchwork quilt and each of us designs and lovingly stitches our own squares and it is our own life experiences as well as that of those we save that sews those squares together.

one of my favorite sayings is: There are a thousand ways to climb a mountain" and there are also a thousand ways to do rescue. but there are few basics that everyone needs to understand, one of these things is...there is more than one way, there is more than my way or your way.

some may take in one dog at a time and concentrate 100% on one individual. the benefits of this are on one attention, poofing and puffing at groomers galore, specialized training, special diets like raw fed or very expensive foods, pretty little collars with brand new matching leashes, the nicest of beds to be found, dog parks, daycares, reunions, agility classes, every available medical test or treatment known to man, and even ocean swimming on our western sandy shores. man these lucky dogs get it all. the down side to this is only one dog saved, there may be others in desperate need who will just have to try to hold on awhile longer because this spot is currently taken.

at the other end of the spectrum, you get the pound dogs. overcrowded kennels, hardly any leashes, very basic vet care, few beds, few blankets, and walks even fewer and further between. and these are very lucky dogs too because their caregivers work really brutally and heartbreakingly hard to keep them alive til they can maybe find a new home. the downside of this is obvious to all, it is a difficult and stressful time for the dog but the upside is it is probably well worth the stress to be able to keep his life and hopefully enter an easier time.

and in between these extremes you have places like saints which try to keep to the middle road. our guys don't get poofed and puffed all that much but they do get to happily roll in alot of poop which they like. our guys don't get to agility classes but they do get to run free in the fields and play in the pond and chase each other down hill and over a log. we can't feed raw or buy $80 a bag food but we can make sure that the food they get is of good quality and feed them treats like pizza on friday nights or sandwiches when we have our picnics. the downside to saints and places like us is it becomes a communal concern. everything is done as a group and there is little one on one attention and dogs do like being on center stage but here they have to share.

some rescues have a shelter and others do not, they send their dogs out to foster care and they can get a family education while they wait for a home. but, sometimes a foster can't keep them very long so the dogs get bounced around a fair bit and that is tough on the dogs. some board them in kennels until they find a home. and i am sure they do extra things for the kenneled dogs like training, frequent visits and cuddles and trips to the park. but the down side of course is for a large part of every day, the dog is alone in a cement cage waiting for someone to come. but, again, someone is actually alive and getting one on one fun time at least once a day too.

some rescues crate and rotate and that is how they manage multiple dogs. some, like me, dislike crates and only use them as safety tools as a last resort and only for a few minutes each day. (carly goes in her crate when the other dogs walk past her to go outside and then carly is let out of that crate right away.) i do not want my dogs going to homes where they are crated on a routine basis. that is my personal preference, others like them alot, it is a safe and responsible way to manage some issues if used correctly and i can't argue with that because it is.

some won't consider adoptive homes without a fence, others want someone home most of each day, some deny homes if there are small children, some have to be financially well off, some have to agree to take dog obedience classes. there are rescues who routinely vaccinate to keep their dogs healthy and others who believe that vaccinations destroys an animal's health. there are rescues who euthanize aggressive or sketchy dogs or dogs who are not good breed ambassadors. there are those that never euthanize anything, no matter how twisted or unhappy or even when the animal is actively dying in pain. they believe that death is a natural progression and nature designed it this way. (they may have a point, wild animals face death without assistence but i personally would choose a kinder way.)

there are rescues who know alot and those who are just learning. some are good at some things but not others (we all know that i happen to suck at training but am very good at getting dogs to feel good about themselves) there are rescues who happen to like people and rescues who don't. some are polite and helpful and others are rude and threatening. some will gently teach by example and others will yell in your ear. some will make each dog's story as heart wrenching as they possibly can and others will play down the sadness and difficulties and just start a brand new day. some think all dogs in rescue have been horribly abused and some (like me) think mostly they were just ignored. some are professional and some are not (but the dogs don't really care either way.) some are good at fundraising and some are not and some are really busy and some are not, and some have lots of volunteers and some do not, and some have good vets and some do not, and some are well liked and some are not, and on and on and on....

rescue is not about who is doing what and how... and is it the same as everyone else? it is about saving animals, one, two, ten, or twenty in the best way that works for you. i think if we really thought hard about this we might grow bigger inside. it is the stretching and thinking and careful contemplation and struggling to ultimately understand all of the variables in rescue that allow us to become more than we really are.

there are a thousand ways to climb a mountain but if you truly believe that there really is only one way, the RIGHT way.... you may become hopelessly and forever lost if you drop your trusty compass and geographical survey map somewhere along the way or an angry mama bear is currently blocking your one and only way... especially if she starts to chase you straight up the hill but away from the "one way only" path.

and this my honest opinion for today, someone else might honestly disagree...that is ok too.



Oops sorry - my post got posted before I was finished. What I meant, "saving" or "doing right" whatever you want to call it - sounds like you guys are both on the same page and are describing the same objective.


Carol: rescue is not about who is doing what and how… and is it the same as everyone else? it is about saving animals, one, two, ten, or twenty in the best way that works for you.

Mia: Rescue isn’t about “saving” animals, rescue should be about doing right by animals and being sure they have the best care, making sure they are safe and sound and finding them the best home ever or simply providing them with one, even at times means letting them go peacefully. Doesn’t matter if you rescue 1 or 20, each animal deserves the proper care as an animal, otherwise there is no point in bringing animals into our care.

I guess you both agree on what rescue is


Well, my animals make me feel great. Today was a really crappy work day and when I got home Tommy gave me a big wet smooch. I am a rescuer, I wouldn't have it any other way. I do it for the animals but it is my animals that remind me just how important I am and how much I can make a difference. I don't know if they give me an ego boost per say but they certainly fill my heart with love and purpose.
And just for the record, ice cream is pretty high up there too on my feel good factor:)


[quote]Things like ice cream and chocolate should make one feel better, not the plight of an animal[quote/]

I don't think I follow the logic in this arguement. If helping an animal in plight does not make you feel good than what is it supposed to make you feel. It is an inheritently human tendency to feel good in helping another in need. That doesn't mean that feeling good is the only reason why one helps others but it is a strong factor in it. People don't do things unless they get something positive out of it as opposed to negative. Even if it makes them feel selfless, they are getting something out of it because selflessness is viewed in high regard by humanity. But selflessness is a feeling not an object and is also something we gain from helping. So, in other words a feeling of selflessness is a reward onto it self. And honestly how many of you are going to deny that there isn't a sense of pride, joy, pleasure along with the embarrasement of having someone acknowledge you did "good". The act itself makes you do more but that euphoric feeling you get from another acknowledgement feels pretty damm good and this is where our ego comes into play. This feeling lifts our self esteem which, to me is part of ego. Better to have our self esteem built up this way than to have it built up involving yourself in negative activities.


I chose to adopt any cats I have had or still have because I want them to have a good life and a home. I have never thought about if it made me feel good or not until now. I do know however that it made them feel good and that it what matters to me. That's all.


Why can't a rescuer help animals because it feels good? I think it would be an extreme rarity to find anyone doing anything for a completely selfless reason. I'm an addictions counsellor, I work with people who are healing and people (youth and adult) who are crashing and there's little I can do about it. Do I do it because I'm "selfless?" No. Do I do it because I care and have a passion for it? Yes. Does it feel good for me when a client succeeds? Dam right! Call it ego, call it selfless, whatever it is, I know one thing, and this is what I tell clients on a regular basis...
"You do the best you can, and when you know better, you'll do better."


The reason I do free groomings is not only for the animal but I admit it makes ME feel good and thats why I do it. Should I NOT help out because im stroking my ego in the process? If I didnt feel good about it, I wouldnt do it for free. Rescueing is the same. People feel good about saving animals. Its the simple reason why many of us DO help out. Its selfish sure....but wrong....I dont think so.


i am sorry mia, i let your comment stand and be approved because i had hoped for...whatever,i am not sure what i had hoped for. chris and nicole please remove previously granted approval. thx


Well that's how I see it, and the way I see too many 'rescuers' who feel the need to run around and toot their horns, and for what I don't know but it worries me as they often loose sight of what's important. Have fun tooting! Things like ice cream and chocolate should make one feel better, not the plight of an animal.


i think what chris is saying is that the meaning of the word....ego... is really the meaning of person that we really are inside) it is one of the three divisions of the model of psychic apparatus, not to be confused with the common usage which in layman terms means self-love and selfishness.
paraphrased from tabers clycopedic medical dictionary edition 17


Well Chris I guess we have different understandings of the word ego and I stand on the issue that rescue should NOT be about ego or about making us feel better, rescue should be selfless and have nothing to do with a persons ego or making one feel better, if that's what it is, I want nothing to do with it.


ego when harnassed accomplishes alot of good, it is when it is loose and running rampant that it just creates chaos.
and "we's" get to go home at the end of the day, where as "I's" get to stay right here.

Chris T

It is impossible to divorce ego from anything we do. To think that, as human beings, we do anything without ego involvement is delusional. That is simply not how our brains function. Part of ego is ensuring that all animals , in one's care, are looked after is very important. It is our need to feel pride in what we do (a byproduct of ego) that fuels us to do better, solve problems more effectively and rehabilitate animals more completely. Without ego a great deal would be lost.


Carol, I've been attempting to write (on one board in particular) just what you said here but what I'd write never made sense and sometimes even sounded angry. With this blog entry, you wrote it just right. No anger, no judgement, just saying it with open-mindedness and with a genuine heart. You rock!


Rescue isn't about "saving" animals, rescue should be about doing right by animals and being sure they have the best care, making sure they are safe and sound and finding them the best home ever or simply providing them with one, even at times means letting them go peacefully. Doesn't matter if you rescue 1 or 20, each animal deserves the proper care as an animal, otherwise there is no point in bringing animals into our care.

Rescue isn't about people, it's about animals and doing our best for them, and if we loose sight of that we have no business rescuing. There is no I in rescue, and no human egos matter in rescue.

Carol will only be excited til you walk in the guys are not as quiet and well behaved as yours guys are freaking nutz. safe trip tonight...good luck with your dozen adoptions from here to the island...THAT would really stress me out, i only have one adoption this weekend and i get to do it from here!

Stan~Turtle Gardens

So very well said Carol you have a wonderful ability to see the whole picture through non judgmental eyes what a wonderful trait to posses and share with all that want to listen.
I really respect your brutal honesty on your blog and truly admire your courage.The recuse that we do is so very different I have come to respect this difference and appreciate it because I could never do what you do but together we can do what you do AND what I do. because some of my furry friends really need what you and only can do. LOVE them your way.
I am excited to come and visit and share in more of your experiences Stan