What Is An Animal Rescuer?

I think it’s important to understand that when you hear the word rescuer, it usually means volunteer. It’s you, me and anyone with an open home or heart to help one in need; human or animal. In the case of an animal rescuer, we open our homes, our hearts, our wallets or find foster homes, just like with children, that can offer food and shelter to an animal in need.
A rescued breeding dog (a Shetland Sheepdog)
What does an animal rescuer do? Each day, we read many stories and emails about dogs or cats being abused, lost and not found, ready to be put down because no one claimed him or deemed too old to be rehomed, or abandoned by their families because they just simply got tired of them. Then we feel a whole whirlwind of emotions run through us; sadness, guilt, anger, fear and then for some, we go into action and feel this need to get involved.

While I’m rarely shocked anymore, I can still feel the pain of the tortured souls in my own body… and I am incapable of looking away.
An abandoned dog, having walked for miles. Maggot infested paw.
An animal rescuer will take in a stray cat or dog that’s on its way to death row. An animal rescuer will walk the cold or hot cement floors in breeding farms, listening to the cries of sadness and barking from a scared or injured dog, begging to be noticed and rescued. We see animals curled up in the corners, hungry, afraid or depressed. Others so hungry they’ll eat anything deposited on the cold, hard cement floors. We ache but we keep going on, hundreds of questions running through our minds. We ask ourselves what is wrong with these people? What has become of humans? Where is their compassion? How could people possibly breed and make money from such sad animals living in appalling conditions? How can their hearts be so cold? We get teary eyed at all the faces of the lifeless animals we know we just can’t help.
Giving birth on the streets
Finally with heavy hearts we make our choices of the animals we know that we can help, on that particular day, financially and emotionally, until we find them a new loving home, forever. We then put them into our cars and drive off with a new scared friend; a friend we have never met. As we drive off, our minds are again filled with new worry; how much will the vet bills cost? How sick is this breeding dog? Does it have tick fever? Heartworm? Broken bones? How much will boarding kennels cost? How long will I have to pay before the dog gets rehomed? And these thoughts run through our minds as we drive with our new friend.

A grossly neglected Schnauzer (Animal cruelty)
Our job, as an animal rescuer, is healing abandoned or broken hearts, returning the life that was taken from them and match making – finding them their forever homes. When the rescued dog has finally recuperated and is ready to be rehomed, we can finally select their new family. We then drive our furry friend to their new strange home with great anticipation in our hearts. We walk around the house, we check the gates and fences, looking for places they might possibly escape through. Once we’ve done our house check, taken a new family portrait, we give our friend a big hug and kiss and we drive off. Sometimes we tear but not necessarily because we were sad, but because we gave so much of ourselves, saved a life and our job is now complete. They will be dearly missed but we must now switch our thoughts and focus on the next rescue; the next one.

I live each day, for the dogs. I wake up, prepared to do more. I go to sleep, thinking of those I couldn’t reach.

This is the life of an animal rescuer.

Photo Credits : Michelle Chan, Jo-Ann Teo and Anne Seow.