I work in animal rescue. Sometimes it’s frustrating and difficult. Sometimes it’s enraging. Sometimes it breaks my heart. I invite you to join me.
When I was a child, I would place my stuffed animals all over my bedroom. My bed was my boat, the world was flooded, and I had to save all the creatures. I haven’t moved all that far away from this scenario. I’m constantly rescuing whatever life forms my cats bring through the pet door, whether it’s a beetle, lizard, or mouse. I frequently find fledglings or hurt birds while out walking my dog. I’ve done some trapping and transporting work with a feral cat rescue. I’ve walked dogs at the local humane society. For the past three years, I’ve been involved with Golden Bone Rescue.
It all started innocently enough. I saw something in the newspaper about Golden Bone needing donated blankets. I cleaned out my closets, asked friends to do the same, and then added to the growing pile by contacting a nearby thrift shop and taking what they could not sell.
After donating several loads of blankets, I made my annual pilgrimage to Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah. On the return trip, I stopped at the Dumpsters at The Gap (a remote part of the western Navajo Nation in the middle of nowhere, Northern Arizona). I knew this was a common dumping ground for unwanted pets, and I’d made a habit of stopping here to leave food and water for the past several years. I was happy to see no animals at the first place I looked, no animals at the second place, and I thought I was all clear at the third and final place when a little fuzzy head popped up. A puppy was curled in a tiny ball in front of one of the bins, lying on top of a pile of trash.
He was thrilled to have water and food, quite willing to be shoved into a collapsible kennel in the car, and was fine for the drive back to Sedona. Golden Bone agreed to take him on financially. He had a nasty wound on his neck, and when we got him to the vet the next morning, we learned he had probably been shot with a gun or an arrow. Along with his neck surgery, he was neutered and updated on inoculations. A few weeks later he was adopted into his forever home, where he is adored.
Some of our rescues come from very sad situations. Some have been mistreated. Some have been thrown away. Some have to be surrendered due to unavoidable changes in their people’s lives. Ultimately though, none of this matters. What matters is keeping them safe, getting them healthy, and finding them new, loving, forever homes.
And here’s the really good news: Everybody can help. If you’re not a hands-on kind of person, you don’t need to interact with either the animals or the people who are surrendering them. You can do social media, taking photos of animals in need of new homes and/or posting them on various sites for people to peruse. You can check phone messages. You can file paperwork.
If you do enjoy animals, you can walk dogs, socialize cats, transport animals to appointments. If you enjoy people, you can attend adoption events, fundraisers, and whatever else might come up. You can serve on the frontlines or waaaay back in the background.
If you’re like me, you might end up with a pit bull living in your bedroom for two months, while your very territorial husky lurks on the other side of the door. Or you might never encounter a single animal involved with the agency you volunteer with. The choice is yours.
Whether you adopt, foster, donate, or volunteer to take on some of the myriad daily operations of this or any other rescue organization, your help is vital. By participating, you make us whole. You make this work. You save lives. You’re the backbone, the heart, the skin, the soul. Please join me.