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— August 28, 2012 —

Why do we rescue dogs?
by Daniel McElroy Jr.

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 spoke softly, “I have done something,” was the reply. “I created you.”
—Jim Willis
We hear questions all the time, from our family, or friends or whoever. “Why do you spend so much time on rescue dogs?” or, “Don’t you get attached to them?” “Isn’t all that vet care expensive? It isn’t even YOUR dog?”

What they’re really asking is this. “Why do you rescue dogs?”

There is a ton of effort that goes into every single rescue dog. Some have medical issues and need veterinary care. Some have behavioral issues and need training and guidance. Sometimes they just need a second chance. Some need a warm, dry place to sleep and the rescue facility is full. Those extra walks with the rescue dog in your house can add up to less time for other things.

We laugh at the antics of puppies and we cry at the death of a friend. This is part of rescuing dogs.

We follow up with adopters until all hours of the morning. This is part of rescuing dogs.

We invest our time, our money and our emotions. This is part of rescuing dogs.

We get snapped at, yelled at and bit. This is part of rescuing dogs.

So, why do we do it?

The answer to that question is two fold. We do it for the dogs and we do it for the people. There’s a saying that dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole. (Roger Caras) I believe this is the case. For every dog we have rescued, there is a family somewhere that appreciates them. For every little girl who has a best friend and for every teenager who has someone to talk to; for all of those people, this is why we rescue dogs.

We also do it for the dogs. If you are disturbed by the pictures you see of starving dogs, abused dogs or dogs at the pound then do something. There will always be more dogs than there are homes and you can do something to help. If you don’t have free time to volunteer, then donate. If you don’t have money to donate, then educate yourself and help educate your friends. Learn about puppy mills. Help your friends understand why they should know exactly where the puppy they are buying came from. Just drying up the market for puppy-mill puppies would rescue thousands of dog a year. Promote spay neuter programs. That helps also.

There are rescued dogs that have been family pets, police dogs, therapy dogs and service dogs. No matter what their contribution, they are valuable. Rescued dogs fulfill millions of lives and help countless people every day. We could list the dogs we have helped (and been helped by), but there are too many to list them all. I think back to Karl—a former junkyard dog who now has a great life in California. He taught me that even hard cases have a home out there somewhere. Sampson, the rottie mix in Illinois living with his parents and his human babies. I remember our own Max and Otto, who we lost over the years. My life would be completely different if they had never come along. These dogs would have likely suffered and died a long time ago, but someone stepped up to help. They paid their rescuers back a thousand times over.

There is a need to be filled and you can help. No matter what you put into it, you will get back more than you can imagine. That’s why we rescue dogs.



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