we were looking at the spay and neuter tattoo books at deanna's, these were from her work with SANS..pages and pages, thousands of numbers and matching names. maggie asked..all of those many, many animals saved, over the decades and how come no one knew her name?
well...the senior rescuers were not supposed to be known..they were a small and very select special crew. if you needed someone to pay for a cat spay, if a low income person needed to re-home a dog..if a pound or shelter animal was up for destruction, via a chain of phone calls...they could be found. but they were distrustful of most everyone in the world and they didn't trust each other all that much either.
most of them (but not all) were angry people..burnt out with sacrifice, betrayal, disappointment, broken promises, hardship and back breaking work, and none of it ever got better...each year it just got worse and worse.
you have to understand that 20 years ago rescue was different. the shelters didn't call and ask anyone to save an animal. if a rescuer wanted to save an animal from death in a shelter, they had to get someone not outright stupid to go in and pretend to adopt.
the shelters distrusted the rescuers, the rescuers distrusted the shelters..there was this pervasive air of subterfuge and sabatoge..enemies on the same side and in the same trench.
very few were ever allowed into the homes, shelters and compounds of the rescuers...it left them too open to shut down, criticism or rebuke. they were a paranoid bunch but they were paranoid for good reason. these places had no money, few resources, and far too many animals. trusted volunteers were sometimes let in but most just dropped supplies at the gates. adopters usually had the animal chosen for them by the rescuer without ever meeting them and delivered to their new homes by volunteers. if they did get as far as the gates, they met the animal out on the road...dogs on a leash, cats in a crate.
it was a war to save animals lives on shoe strings, beat up hand me downs, hope and prayer and these women were strong and fiercely determined, independent and private and they could live with pretty much nothing but animals and air.
in the lower mainland, there were just a handful of them...but i did not know of them all. these were the down and dirty senior rescuers..and some of them are still out in there in their 60's, and 70's saving desperate animals in the shadows. some of them died in the traces while doing their rescue gig.
i don't know how many remember bev but she died in a rescue fire trying to save the animals in her care.
a few are well known for various things but most of those things are unhappy things. not many are known for the thousands of animals they helped in their rescue careers when there was no other help out there.
these were the days before petfinder, before computers, internet or rescue blogs...everything was just word of mouth. these were the days where each one alone ( or with very little help) tried to keep up to the never ending tide of homeless and unwanted animals of 20 or 30 years ago...and there were A LOT!
it was a whole different rescue world back then and they became who they needed to be to go on.
and when they are all gone, few will even know they were here...just those of us who remember and know how hard they worked and lived.