Every year millions of innocent animals are injured, tortured, neglected, abandoned and abused. These helpless and defenseless animals suffer unnecessarily at the hands of humans who have little regard or respect for themselves let alone any other living creature.
These “castoffs” or “strays” are left to struggle to survive under the most stressful and horrific circumstances – alone and at the mercy of the elements - without food or water - without the aid or intervention of humans – without love or compassion – and without any hope of companionship, friendship, help or support from people. They live in fear - lurking in the shadows – running and hiding – attempting to find food, shelter and safety in our cities, suburbs and countryside’s.
Many of these “strays” are picked up by Animal Control, and if they are very, very fortunate and deemed healthy mentally as well as physically, they may be “rescued” by an animal welfare organization or rescue group If they are determined to be unadoptable, or if there is limited time and space in a public shelter, they will most likely be euthanized. within a few days of their arrival.
So many of the animals that end up in shelters or are euthanized have been betrayed by human beings who have behaved irresponsibly, carelessly or through ignorance. They do not recognize animals as sentient beings whose lives can be meaningful and purposeful. They do not regard themselves as the pet’s caregiver or assume responsibility for the animal’s health or behavior. They do not vaccinate or spay or neuter their pets. They do not recognize the animal’s innate intelligence and desire to both serve and please humans. They do not make the effort to “obedience train” their pets to help ensure that they are well-behaved and socialized. They don’t provide them with necessary veterinary care. They fail to feed them healthily or regularly or provide them with clean water.
Dogs are highly sentient and can provide many remarkable tasks and services for people. They can be trained to be of service to people with disabilities; they can provide comfort and companionship for the lonely; they can sniff out potential hazards such as bombs, drugs and weapons; they can provide the police and the military with protection and service in many different capacities and they can assist us in our search and rescue efforts following man-made as well as natural disasters. Some of the finest search and rescue dogs as well as canine companions have been adopted from animal shelters where they were discarded and surrendered by their owners. With respect, affection and the appropriate training, these animals can perform seeming“miracles” and save lives.
If you are considering the possibility of adopting a rescue dog, it is important to learn as much as you can about the type of dog or breed you are thinking about bringing into your home. It is rarely advisable to adopt or purchase a pet on impulse. It is so easy to instantaneously “fall in love” with an adorable puppy on appearance alone without thinking about the long-term ramifications or consequences. Find out as much information as you can about the dog’s physical characteristics as well as his personality and behaviors. Remember, becoming a responsible pet guardian requires a lifetime commitment, and it is essential to know as much as you possibly can about a creature that will become a family member of yours for many years to come.
When preparing to adopt a “rescue” dog, consult with animal shelter workers and your veterinarian as well as an animal behaviorist. Try to discern as much information as you can about the animal by his behavior. Is he aggressive – does he snap, growl, bite, block your path, curl his lips, bark intimidatingly or excessively, lunge forward at other people or dogs, or exhibit any other behaviors that might indicate aggression? Generally, workers at an animal welfare or rescue organization who have spent some quality time with the animal will have a good idea as to his personality and any health or behavioral issues that are or may be potentially problematic. As a rule, animal welfare and rescue organizations will only adopt out an animal that is truly adoptable and will make a good ‘forever” pet.
A rescue dog may require more time, effort, socialization, patience and compassion than a dog that has never suffered abuse of any kind. However, the joy and gratification to be derived from saving the life of and adopting a dog that has been mistreated or discarded are boundless.
To hear real life rescue stories, visit my facebook page. I post a new one every Friday!