A heart of gold to accept those creatures that don't measure up as "perfect" in the eyes of the rest of the world.
The people skills of a salesperson. . . to convince those that are looking for perfection that they will find it in a rescue dog if they are willing to look a little deeper.
A heart of steel to be able to say no when there just isn't any more room for just one more dog.
The knowledge that you can't save them all.
The ability to smile and speak rationally when the 10th person for the day says "I don't want this stupid dog anymore. . . take him or I am gonna shoot him."
Some medical knowledge. . . or your rescue vet bill will be bigger than the national debt.
The fine art of fund raising. . . so your vet bill can be reduced to just under the size of the national debt.
Patience for: breeders who don't care, won't help, turn their backs and say it's not their problem.
Patience for: dogs that were incorrectly placed and come to rescue with so much excess baggage that you think they will never be adoptable.
Patience for: owners who want a quick fix.
Patience for: a world that no longer looks at life as a gift and the lives that we create as breeders as nothing short of miracles.
A sense of humor. . . because sometimes a smile on your face is the only way to hide the agony and turmoil in your heart.
A husband with housekeeping skills that are so outstanding that they could be highlighted in Good Housekeeping Magazine. . . so you can devote your time to all the rescues and be secure in the knowledge that the local Board of Health will not condemn your house.
Personal dogs that will tolerate the never ending stream of four legged orphans, waifs and street urchins that will start arriving the moment you say. . . "I have room."
Children that like being the "token" child to socialize every dog that comes thru the door. . . being able to say "good with kids" is a real selling point.
Magician skills so you can change anything that comes thru the door, from black tri male to long tail and brown eyes, into blue merle female, good with kids, housebroke, crate trained and obedience trained.
The ability to face the paperwork head-on and deal with it. . . or someone you can send it to and say. . . "Here, do something with this mess!"
Grooming skills for those ugly ducklings waiting for their chance to be a swan. . . with a little help from you.
I could go on but you probably get the picture. . . . None of us have all of these things but we all know that the business of rescue is a team effort. Each of us contribute what we can as a team member. Some of us cannot handle the dogs [or cats or birds or horses or rabbits or . . . ], but . . . there are other things that must be done.
Some only want to work with the dogs [themselves, or the cats or . . . ] . . . so. . . leave the paperwork to those that like it. No matter what your situation is. . . it is your willingness to help that is important. ~
A RESCUER’S CREED
[Susan M. Pearson]
I shall be a believer of all that is good in man and of all that is deserving in animals. I shall plead for their lives, campaign for their safety and uphold their right to a natural death. I shall seek out the injured and the maimed, the unloved, and the abandoned and tend to them in their last days. I shall not forget their place in the hierarchy of life, nor that we walk in each other's paths. I shall bear witness to the wonder they bring into our lives and to the beauty they bestow upon our souls. I shall renew their spirits when they are waning, bind their wounds when they bleed, cradle them when they whimper, and comfort them when they mourn. I shall be near them in their hour of greatest need - a companion and friend when the time has come. I shall watch over them and console them and ask that the angels gather them in their arms. From the creatures of the earth I shall learn the fruits of compassion and undying love, and I shall be called the beloved of God. In their company I shall indeed be blessed. ~
The Animals' Savior"
Copyright Jim Willis 1999
I looked at all the caged animals in the shelter...
the cast-offs of human society.
I saw in their eyes love and hope,
fear and dread, sadness and betrayal.
And I was angry.
"God," I said,
"this is terrible! Why don't you do something?"
God was silent for a moment and then He spoke softly.
"I have done something," He replied.
"I created You."
A Poem to my Foster Dog -- by Diane Morgan
I am the bridge between what was and what can be. I am
the pathway to a new life.
I am made of mush, because my heart melted when I saw
you. Matted and sore, limping, depressed, lonely,
unwanted, afraid to love.
For one little time you are mine. I will feed you with
my own hand. I will love you with my whole heart. I
will make you whole.
I am made of steel. Because when the time comes, when
you are well, and sleek, when your eyes shine, and
your tail wags with joy, then comes the hard part.
I will let you go--not without a tear, But without a
regret. For you are safe forever. A new dog needs me now.
I would've died that day if not for you.
I would've given up on life if not for your kind eyes.
I would've used my teeth in fear if not for your gentle hands.
I would have left this life believing that all humans don't care
Believing there is no such thing as fur that isn't matted, skin that isn't flea bitten, good food and enough of it, beds to sleep on, someone to love me, to show me I deserve love just because I exist.
Your kind eyes, your loving smile, your gentle hands, Your big heart saved me...
You saved me from the terror of the pound,
Soothing away the memories of my old life.
You have taught me what it means to be loved.
I have seen you do the same for other dogs like me.
I have heard you ask yourself in times of despair
Why you do it when there is no more money, no more room, no more homes
You open your heart a little bigger, stretch the money a little tighter
Make just a little more room...to save one more like me.
I tell you with the gratitude and love that shines in my eyes
In the best way I know how
Reminding you why you go on trying.
I am the reason
The dogs before me are the reason
As are the ones who come after.
Our lives would've been wasted, our love never given
We would die if not for you.