Rescue Journal

and hornblower brings up an interesting point (even if the actual sentence again brings personalities into the discussion)

Carol  ·  Apr. 2, 2010

i will ignore the arrogant comment...whether i am or not has nothing to do with anything.

but what she is correct in saying is that i am not the arbitrator of bc rescue. but i am a member who is affected by the behaviors of other members. i am tired of getting painted with the same brush as folks who publically function in rescue a lot differently than i do.

the perception of other professionals that we routinely come in contact with regarding rescuers is largely unflattering. we are viewed as bossy, pushy, rude, stupid, demanding, bitter, angry and somewhat crazy. this bugs me both personally and professionally and it takes a lot of careful work on my part to ensure that saints is not lumped into that mix. there are great rescues out there, those that practice their craft with intelligence and good manners. but it takes time for those bitten twice or three times before, to trust that not all rescuers behave in the exact same ways.

the bc rescue community has passively remained uninvolved at best in their members whose behaviors reflect badly on the whole. we as a group have allowed them to continue to bully and push others around because no one wants to get into an argument with them, to a large degree because it seems so pointless. no one ever seems to change, no one ever seems to grow up and learn to behave like the professionals we all should strive to be....we as rescuers just get written off, tarred with the very same lunatic brush.

there are ways professionally, respectfully and with integrity to address issues and concerns. and there are counter productive ways which cause more problems and eliminate any chance of solutions because they are designed to slam the door on any further communication. we do not communicate effectively, we do not as a group communicate professionally..we just spew out anger and accusations while jumping into attack mode without thinking things thru...if we were dogs in a shelter, we would be euthanized for this kind of behavior.

i may not be the arbitrator of bc rescue, but i do have a right without personally directed name calling, sneering, and other pointess and negative behaviors to point out as often as i feel the need ...that rescue and rescuers need to pull up their socks and learn to practice more professionally.

i work hard in rescue, i should not have to be ashamed to say i am in rescue because the pounds, the vets, the spca, the municipalities and even the public, have somehow/from somewhere, gotten the impression that rescuers are not only truly insane but uncooperative and untrustworthy as well.

i have a right and a duty to try to promote positive change in this perception...and i do it the only way i know how..i talk about it, i bring it out in the open..i say up front exactly what i have been told about how we are preceived by others because pretending that perception is not there does not help us to work towards improving how we are viewed.

and before anyone starts to jump down my throat as the bearer of bad news...start asking fact those that read this blog who know exactly what i am speaking about...come forth and share your views on this issue. those who disagree are free to comment too but please leave out the personal attacks and only talk about the you believe rescuers as a whole are really perceived.)



I typed out a whole big response at home last night but I was having trouble with internet connectiion. I think that was a good idea.
A code of conduct would be wonderful if we could agree on simple things. Things like how a dog/cat/pig/rat should live, what kinds of medical care should be provided and maybe even what the process of adoption would look like. But because we don't agree on any of that, or we do agree but don't follow thru, a code of conduct is pretty useless. And who is without blemish. Who is so pure that they could oversee it.
Its funny how people forget that sometimes things have to be said to protect animals. Its funny how few remember who thru the first shots. Its funny how lies and deciept can come from all angles but no one wants to remember facts.


i have no problem with people standing up and speaking out (appropriately) when something is wrong in the world. i just think it behooves folks to not jump to conclusions and educate themselves thoroughly about the issues BEFORE they start crying wolf and begin a witch hunt.

i also think that there is a code of conduct that one abides by when in fact addressing concerns....folks can question, folks can inquire, folks can even state their opinions...but folks cannot throw out all kinds of hurtful rage and unfounded accusations.

a good rule of thumb to follow is....if you could reasonably be successfully sued for either what you say or how/where you chose to say it...then you probably are not saying it in the most productive or respectful way.


Hello Carol -

I think in many ways we are on the same page.

My comment about ignoring the shit disturbers reflects what I think is the only way of dealing with some people - the shit disturbers as I define them are the ones picking fights, not the ones raising important issues and trying to find some solutions. I mean ignore the people who just burst into msg boards with rude personal attacks, with snark, with eye-rolling, with attitude, with the 'I know so much more than you and I'm SO TIRED of explaining it to you ignorant people!'

THAT is what I think we need to ignore. It's not my nature to do that btw - I can snark with the best of them but as I told someone recently, I'm trying hard to use my 'big girl words' instead of getting into the mud slinging.

Sheryl - we do not have a professional organization & I doubt we'll see one. Self-policing is the ONLY thing we have. I don't see any other option. What else is there other than the steady eyes of our peers to keep us on an even keel?

And um yeah - professionals do frequently behave the same way. I have seen huge screaming debates about ethics, policies, bylaws, boards in several different fields.

I know we all talk about brindle being public but it's not - not really.

The vast, vast majority of people don't hear about all this crap; no more than you hear about the politicking and arguing and splintering among the various other organizations out there. If you're in that 'world' you hear about it; the rest of the people might only hear a small whisper about some debate that the publishers or the writers' organizations or the lactation consultants or the breastfeeding counsellors or the homeschool advocacy groups etc have. ALL those examples are ones with which I'm personally involved & all have had their share of big blow outs. Organizations go down, individuals get dragged through mud, some people are discovered to be unethical, dishonest, lying cheats, big brouhahah etc etc. It happens ALL the time.

Ultimately it still comes back to this: you cannot reserve for yourself the right to speak out against actions & people which in your mind hurt rescue, while at the same time denying others the right speak out against actions & people which in their mind hurt the animals.

And yes, I agree with you Carol - we all need to consider our words and actions carefully.

Best wishes ~


I had to really think about whether or not I wanted to truthfully give my response to Carol’s invitation because my experiences have been on the negative side. I think first of all I would like to define my definition of truth. A story or an event can have many truths and all of them can be right according to where you are standing when you view the event or hear the story. It is like a circle and we can all be standing around the circle and we can all see the event but the person next to us is standing in a different spot/angle and so has another perspective. With the angle we are looking from at the event/story, we bring in our perspective of the world (i.e. morals, judgements, egos, experience, lack of experience – stuff like that).
So now here is my experience on the world of animal rescue (which I think is actually a reflection on the greater world). In 2002, I knew nothing about animal rescue. All I knew was the local animal shelter where you adopted dogs (because that is where we got our dog as a family and that is where he was sometimes when he didn’t come home – well sometimes he was just out making babies). This is where we adopted Patrick and this is where we got our first foster dog came from. There was a dog who lived behind us that was chained all the time. We felt awful for him. When we informed the SPCA, we saw an SPCA constable come visit the family. He got a longer chain that became attached to a long line, they fixed his dog house up and he got a clean container for his water. We didn’t understand that animals were viewed as property and legally it was okay to do this to an animal. We told the person who was helping us train Patrick. She said google dog rescue and we would find people who could help. They would help steal the dog or buy the dog. Okay, that sounded great. We found a rescue on the website and emailed them about the dog. We offered to pay to have the dog taken from the home – we said we couldn’t foster because we were afraid of the dog. We figured out the dog’s condition because I sent Patrick into the yard so I could follow and him pretend he had wandered in on his own. Patrick was afraid of the dog and his eyes looked pretty “not friendly” so I was too. This group was very interested in finding out from us what the SPCA was not doing and knowing if the family was immigrants because according to them, immigrants did not like dogs. When the found out they were dealing with East Indians, they blocked our emails. The family eventually moved and we have no idea what happened to the dog (poor boy). While waiting for an answer from this group on whether they could help this dog or not, I began looking at the website of this group because they had some stories of dogs that had been rescued. They were extremely moving and I cried and cried and thought the people in the stories were angels for doing what they did (and they are). Then I found the message forum and I read that. It was interesting – there was a lot of stuff on there about the SPCA and I thought wow is this true? As I read more I became aware that there was a lot of anger in the writing. Anger just poured out everywhere – too much anger. It reminded me of the anger that pours out of “white supremacists” groups. The anger was more important than the message and that anger is what made me not believe everything I was reading. When they blocked our email address, I wasn’t surprised.
I continued to foster for the SPCA because they were the only shelter I knew. I didn’t go into the shelter very often so I really didn’t understand I whole lot of anything except the foster dogs who came into my home. In 2004, I became a dog walker at the shelter along with continuing to foster. I was still very open to rescues because I had found brindleweb. Even though some people were very nasty and very cliquing on the board, I did learn that there were private animal rescues that could help shelter animals out there besides the one that was more concerned with our ethnicity than helping a dog. I thought this was great since not animals could survive a shelter environment. My 2nd experience wasn’t all that great either – it was okay but not uplifting. I had contacted a rescue to help out with a dog. I had permission from the shelter manager and I arranged to meet a representative from this rescue. When the representative showed up, it was not the person I was expecting. This person was extremely rude to the staff to the point that I was embarrassed for her. She was fine with me but didn’t listen to a word I said up the dog. Fine, I figured maybe I didn’t know about dogs in general but I knew this dog better than this person as an individual simply because I had spent more time with the dog. But apparently dog people can figure out a dog in 5 minutes without taking into consideration someone who has at least spent time with the dog over a few weeks. I told myself it was okay because the dog was getting out and all I could hope for was that the dog would be placed properly. I felt that most of the things she said about the dog were wrong and she did not have a good understanding about her at all. After my 2nd foray into private rescue, I was put on my people’s email lists and would receive emails from this person, that person.... After getting a few emails, I thought, these people are nuts. They are childish and petty and function extremely unprofessionally. So the emails complaining about that rescue and this rescue and that person, I would just delete without reading. Because to me, everybody was just trying to do the best that they could with what they had.
Eventually, I ended up limiting myself to the rescues I would help and this was based on how the group conducted itself. I liked groups that conducted themselves professionally, didn’t criticize other rescue groups, where above board on the types of dogs they took, made a sincere effort to rehabilitate and had some good knowledge on dog behaviour. It is funny that brindleweb was the website that made me question the SPCA. What I discovered though is that the stuff I was supposed to hate about the SPCA for was often not the truth or ½ a truth (go back to the circle theme), that the things rescues accused the SPCA at been “shitty” at they often were “shitty” at, that the types of dogs the SPCA euthanized were also being euthanized by rescues (but they would hide it or change the story around so it didn’t sound so bad and they looked like wonderful heroes). I always did what the brindleweb group said to do, research and investigate for yourself. In some ways, brindleweb drove me back to the SPCA. The funniest thing was we had one of our foster dogs adopted by that very first group I spoke about. This couple had fostered for them for a couple of years. The criticisms this couple had about that group was exact same complaints that group had of the SPCA. What a hoot. Now that I work at a non SPCA shelter, I have discovered that a shelter is a shelter is a shelter. No one is better than anyone – we are all good at certain things and not so good at other things. We all do the best that we can do with what we have (even the crazy ones).
I have been in the animal welfare world since March of 2002. It is has profoundly affected me. I think I am a better person than before. I think being around animals as taught me to be more tolerant of the people who are around on a daily basis. Now here is where it is going to seem like I am being intolerant. My opinion/feeling is that a certain percentage of rescues function the way they do because of the circumstances those people came from. I think there a lot of angry, disenfranchised people who feel powerless in the world. In the 18th and 19th century, we called these people anarchists (but I believe, traditionally anarchists of the 18th and 19th century were more intellectual – meaning they liked to study – than our anarchists of today are). Anarchists need to take on a cause to make them feel they have some control. Taking on the cause of animals who can’t speak for themselves, is something the modern day anarchists would gravitate towards. I also feel that often times the animals are not the first priority when these rescue groups/shelters/one person rescue hit out at each other. I think if we really delve into the matter, we will find that is really a personality conflict. Think about when you really get mad at someone to the point that you what to strike out at that person? How often is it to do with the fact that you think they have personally done something to you. People get mad at people because they think someone has done something to them. We quit jobs over that, families get into huge fights at wedding and funerals over that. So basically I don’t believe in this bull crap “we are passionate about our cause that is why we are so angry”. That is a good justification for being angry. Anger is a powerful emotion. It can swallow up any positive energy in the air so fast and just leave negativity hanging there.
I know of places/rescues that do things a little bit odd – their protocols for health seem a little out dated. I don’t actually thing some rescues have the people skills to find applicable homes. I think some rescues don’t know much about dog behaviour. I think some rotate foster animals too much from home to home and that is unsettling for the foster dog. But I think they are still helping animals the best they can with the best that they have and I would never criticize a rescue publically unless I thought they were consciously harming animals or making money off their backs. I also think people need to think about this: that if you try to discredit one rescue, are you going to step in and take over for that rescue if it dies because of what you said. If you don’t like what you see, jump in and help, don’t destroy because you will be taking away from the animals not helping them. This is my truth from the angle I stand at. It is based on my perceptions of the world and how people function so, in the end, it is just an opinion.


i do not understand why it is ok to "police" others on how they do rescue, but best to "ignore" the shit disturbers who do in fact cause real problems for others trying to do rescue and future potential harm to the animals they just closed all doors of help to.

best interests at heart, good not give people the right to piss on everyone else's rights.

until rescuers learn to present both sides of an issue fairly and respectfully, we are forever going to be fighting a losing battle.

our goal in rescue is to get people to think. to think about actions, to think about responsibilities, to think about consequences and right and wrong...THAT is what we expect the public to do in terms of caring for their that not what we should expect from ourselves before we create for those same animals other kinds of harm?

and how are we ever going to work together if every single opposite opinion expressed becomes not only a bleeding personal rock throwing contest, but an excuse to discredit and question the value you place on animals lives and questions if donors should continue to support of you?
there are way too many character assasins and dirty pool players in is not ethical and it does need to stop.
you do not see doctors and nurses and teachers and firemen and social workers or physio therapists or dental hygienists or police officers behaving in public this way.

and you may be right...i may have just done the exact same thing with that example of TG....i will think about that tonight.


Hornblower says our best policy is to police ourselves......police ourselves - ARE YOU KIDDING ME?

I would not trust the rescue community to police anyone because the loud mouthed, "I do it best and my way is the only way" bullies would push eveyone around and try to seize control (and if that didn't work they would set up their own discussion board so that they could say and do what they want and smear whoever they want without consequences or being called to account for it).


I agree with you about the perception of rescue & how it needs to change.

But that should never come at the cost of sweeping things under the carpet when our peers engage in practices which are not in the best interests of the animals they're supposed to be helping.

We should never be ashamed to say we're working in rescue because another rescue adopts out animals which are not spayed or neutered or vetted or dewormed or have undisclosed medical conditions which the rescue was aware of or which keeps animals in appalling conditions or whatever the case may be. (these are random examples and I'm not referring to any rescue or organization specifically)

Until we get some professional organization going, our best strategy is to police ourselves. There is danger in this, I realize. There may be vendettas and personal issues which are clouding judgements.

But situations like the recent brokerage posing as rescue scandal come to light because we are willing to look at our peers & say 'you do WHAT? I don't think that's right because x, y, and z.'

And your comments were specifically related to the TG situation & your implication is that the critics were unprofessional or biased or ... well, I don't know what.

I think ironically you did precisely what you say you don't want - you made a divisive statement, you did not communicate effectively, you brought up issues which happened a while back & picked at that scab again. How has any of that helped except to antagonize again those who felt their criticisms were valid?

I have never believed that the people who raised that alarm had anything except the animals' best interests at heart.

If we want change, we have to take the high road, initiate meaningful dialogue, ignore the shit disturbers and offer a positive example of how we can work together.

best wishes ~

Mauro Salles

I totally agree with you. Heated discussions and divergent points of views are extremely enlightening and helpful, IF the focus is kept on the conditions and needs of the animals. Participants who DO WORK in rescue find alternative solutions to the same problems, sometimes realize they were talking about different problems (so, why were they discussing ?) and often find they can work together. By contrast, opinions that even mention the animals and are just personal attacks built with scraps of information, out of context, merely reflect the fragility of egos that, in reality, have little or no care for the animals, only themselves. I speak of those situations where the rescue is not done to benefit the animal, but to increase a "kindness score" only to enforce "pearls" like "I'm a better rescuer than you". Even worse are the arguments seemingly cohesive, which include images and numeric data impossible to confirm, unless there are at least two different sources (by the way, Hitler knew that).

Playing a bit, with no intention to offend, I think discussions like that should be held in SAINTS, for example, while the "fighters" take care of the animals.