May 2, 2011

The Littlest Angel by Janice Robinson

I've been in the dog business for many, many years. I have been brought to tears more times than I can count, both with joy and anger. I take the health and welfare of all pets very personally. I would be a total failure as a rescue foster because I would never be able to let go. 

I attended, as a vendor for Dog Zone Training & Activity Center, the Guardians for Animals Pooch-A-Licious Fashion Show last night at the Royal Oak Farmers Market. I know there are a lot of people who roll their eyes at the thought of dogs being dressed up and paraded down a catwalk. But they are not getting the point. The point of this event was to generate interest in a society that has become numb to the plight of thrown away pets. Rescues are constantly trying to come up with new and inventive ideas to bring interest and therefore, possible new pet parents to view these babies that so desperately need new homes. It's not easy by any means.

The evening was absolutely beautiful, well thought out and executed. The pets on the display seemed to enjoy the attention and hopefully most found a new loving home. The various rescues decorated their areas, had their information at the ready for any perspective parent that might inquire, and put their best foot forward. 

I've been to more of these events than I can count, I see the same people over and over. As I packed up my Jeep and slowly drove home at 10:00pm, I thought about them, I knew I wanted to write this note.
I really don't think that the general public knows how much time, effort, blood, sweat and tears goes into rescuing. Honestly, people casually walk by a cage, give a glance or two and move on. They haven't a clue what went on before, during or after. I'm not going to comment on the actual art of rescuing. It's too intense, too detailed and really, I don't want to cry right now. My comments here are targeting the events they go to. The very physical labor and mental process for each and every event is overwhelming. Rescue people have families and jobs but they spend all their free time trying to find homes for the homeless. Take a good look at what they do, walk around and ask questions at the next adoption event. This is hard work and emotionally draining. They do it because they cannot walk away from any pet saying, no, I don't feel like helping you today, I would rather do something fun. It's not in their genetic makeup. They can't look into those sad eyes and turn away. Their hands automatically reach out to help.

I watch as they pull up, each car packed with crates, cages, toys, blankets, water bowls, treats, food, medication, grooming supplies, clean up supplies, decorating supplies, paperwork and most often tables, chairs and tents. Each set up with the care and comfort of the animals in mind. I've seen frozen water bottles and fans in the heat of summer and extra blankets, sweaters and jackets in the winter. All are hauled in to their designated space, set up, rearranged and made to look spectacular. Then each pet is brought in, pottied, groomed, bows or bandannas and information packs assigned. Dogs are constantly taken to go potty throughout the event, along with hugs given for the nervous and excited. 

Throughout the event they talk each pet up, answer questions, go through debates, weed out the crazies, change cage papers, feed, groom and talk some more. It's exhausting. Then in the end, they pack it all up, take it home, just to do it all over again and again.

I'm here to say, these people are saints. Really, could you do this every weekend? No, most are out enjoying the sun, sleeping in, making plans with their family, taking vacations. Rescue people are a different breed. They give up their free time in hopes that one of their foster pets MIGHT find a forever home. They are dedicated to a cause that is endless. They spend their own money and often do without so a homeless soul could have a better life. It's a thankless job. The best they can hope for is to hear a success story from an adoptive parent. It's what they live for.

I also want to acknowledge Guardians for Animals, a non-profit organization whose mission is dedicated to helping these rescues and sanctuaries save the lives of abandoned, abused and neglected animals. Without Alex's help, many rescues would not have the funds to do what they do. She has done more for the rescue organizations than can be counted in a lifetime. Many a pet owes their very life to her efforts. Please take a look at GFA and see if a donation might be the right move for you. http://www.guardiansforanimals.org/

God bless them all, for if God knows when a sparrow falls to the ground, he certainly is looking down kindly on those that are there trying to catch them. My sister Kim, though not involved in an organized rescue, has more than done her share of rescuing cats from Florida to Michigan. She has a special heart for it.
So the next time you hear someone comment about how much a rescue costs, please tell them that not only are these pets healthy, vaccinated and spayed/neutered, but the amount of time and love that has gone into them is priceless.

Support rescues, every bit helps. Bring food, blankets, toys, check that box on your tax returns, check into the donation opportunity on your Kroger/grocery store swipe card and if you have a bit of extra money, please send it in. It's so desperately needed. Every dime is appreciated. If so inclined, say a prayer for them all, I'm sure it is needed too. Take the time to tell these people, thank you, thank you for all your dedicated work. We appreciate what you do. They deserve that much and it's nice to hear.

And above all: Adopt, you both need the love.

The Angel in the picture is a sweet baby whose leg was so beyond repair it had to be amputated. The owner was going to euthanize her. But a rescue got her first, today she is healthy, happy and oh so beautiful. She is loved.

Dog Zone Training & Activity Center as Rescue Rates. We want to do our part to help a newly rescued dog adjust into their new home. We can also help a foster dog overcome certain issues to help them become more adoptable. I really hope people will take advantage of this and not return a pet for something that could have been solved.

Hugs to you all. I for one, appreciate all that you do. Janice Robinson

Note from Kim: Janice is my sister who has devoted her soul to the love and caring of strays. She shares her life with numerous ex-stray cats and one heckuva great Italiano Spinone named Grissom.

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