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 great...one 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.