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Why Do We Rescue?
I wanted to share the answer to a question that I often get from those who peek into the world of rescue and wonder “why do you do it?” I often struggled to find the words to answer that very legitimate question and I was fortunate enough to come across an “answer” that someone had already penned. As I read it I said (to myself), “wow, it is as if she wrote that for me.” And so now, I share it with you in hopes that you too understand “why I do it”. And for those of you who struggle to articulate that which you know to be true in your heart, it is my hope that you too can share this “answer”, or a variation of it, with those who ask a similar question of you. And maybe, just maybe, our passion will ignite a fire in another who can help us in our quest to “save them ALL.”
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Someone asked me recently, why do I do it? Why do I put myself through the stress, the heartache of rescuing dogs when so many die anyway? Some people even have gone as far as to say rescuers just concentrate on death. They ask “why don’t you just focus on the nicer subjects of dogs and cats – doggie  and kitty fashion shows… adopt-a-thons… competing in obedience, things like that?” I thought about it for a while, and this is what came to me.

I would love nothing more than to promote the fun things with dogs and cats. Believe me, I would REALLY, REALLY LOVE to do that. And there was a time when I did.

I rescue. I spend all my money, my valuable time with my own dogs, cats, everything on rescue. Rescue is hard. Rescue is sad more times than happy. Rescue is tiring. Rescue is not pretty. Rescue is expensive. Rescue is physically, mentally, emotionally, financially draining. Rescue will shorten my life. But sometimes, it’s not how long you live, but what you do with the time you have that matters.

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On rescuer’s worst day, it is STILL better than it is for them. Imagine what it’s like to be them. Imagine, REALLY imagine what it’s like. To be at the whim of whoever claims you as their own.To have to accept when they do not feed you. To accept that you did something wrong when they beat you, even when you have no idea what it was you did. To accept the neglect, and still greet them when they are near. To accept being put in a concrete cell with other dogs  and cats like you, screaming to be out. To not know where you were going when someone came and took you out of that cell — will it be the yard outside in the sunshine? or will it be the small room in the back that no dog or cat returns from? Imagine kissing the hand of a stranger, in hopes that they will take you away from all this… imagine that….. REALLY imagine that.
So why do I cry over and over and yet still come back…” when the last hundred dogs and cats I posted, shared, transported, donated to were still put to sleep? Because of the one dog or cat that WILL make it out. That WILL get a new start. That WILL be brought “back to life”. That will know again, or perhaps for the first time, sweet love. There is no more comforting feeling in the world than to see a dog or cat FINALLY safe.
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So I say to you, I do not “focus” on death, my friend. I focus on LIFE! The life of that one in a hundred dogs and cats that, if I didn’t do what I do, would be dead. I will worry about my health, my financial future later. Right now, it is about them. And my only regret for being in rescue is that I did not act on the NEED earlier in my life. And my only hope is when I am gone, there will be someone to take my place. My promise to that person is this – I will be with you in spirit from wherever one goes when the breath leaves the body. Because I will ALWAYS be a rescuer, even when I am just a memory. – Excerpted by Ellen McNeely-Paquin • 19 April, 2011

Animal Rescue is probably one of the most soul destroying yet rewarding jobs any human can choose to take on.  You can't help but fall into the hearts of these sentient beings and you will do almost anything to help take away their pain and suffering.  

Animal rescuers cant help but intensely experience all four the emotions a human has, every day, over and over again.  They dont just experience it in a quick moment, they go into it, feel it, taste it and live it. And trust me, it is not fun, it's just what they do.  This is a very serious and dangerous place to go into in your mind, as many people have committed suicide in this profession.  The other most common profession known for this is the veterinary industry.  Our vets grapple with these emotions day in and day out, but have to remain strong and put up a brave face all the time.  They started - like animal rescuers - with a good heart and great intentions to try and help save the animals of our world we live in.  Then comes the ugly side into the picture, the one we thought we knew how to handle, one, two, three, maybe four times is sort of managable, but then it starts to eat you away from the inside.  That invisible pain that only you can feel and nobody can see.  Then the other part is to deal with the human-factor.  People critisising and breaking you down, but you have to just march on!  Because you might just be able to take that pain and suffering away for ever.   There is always hope in the eyes and heart of a rescuer, always.  It is what keeps them going.