A few days ago, the ASSA rescue mailing list was sent the following prose poem. It did not explicitly grant permission to copy, nor did it identify the original author. With mild guilt over not having formal permission, but believing that the author would want it widely read, I thought I’d share it with you.
I Am A Rescuer
I am a Rescuer
I am a volunteer
My food receipts for a family of 3 and my dog food bills match
My water bill has doubled
My electric has tripled
It is I, a Rescuer, who, when my AC quits, places every fan available in front of the dogs to keep them cool
My feet find the way to the backyard before I have even gotten dressed
The backyard is my last stop before bed.
While my friends are on a cruise to the Bahamas I cruise the internet looking for lost dogs
When my family meets for Christmas I am home potty training 2 year old dogs.
I haven’t had a real vacation in years, but maybe soon. All plans are made around home inspections, rescue transports and shelter deadlines.
I shower and I dry off with a clean towel already covered in dog hair
There is more dog hair than lint in my dryer lint trap
My clothes are all bleached white from chlorine used to kill whatever it is that grows at the shelter
I have to remember to take off my shoe covers before leaving the house
Most of my friends rescue dogs
Who else can you call at 3 am for support?
Who else has the experience I sometimes need, the med I sometimes need, or just an uplifting word I sometimes need ? Who else would understand how it feels to have invested hours and hours and hours in an emaciated dog to lose it?
Or the joy in investing hours in an abused dog that loves again?
I have slept on the floor beside a dog undergoing heartworm treatment for 6 weeks
I have carried a dog too weak to walk outside to go potty
I clean my yard three times a day so my neighbors won’t complain
I have learned to be proficient at micro chipping, sub-q fluids, wound care, and parasite treatment.
My vet knows me by first name
My shelter knows my first name
Animal control knows my first and last name
My vet knows it is I who he tries to cut a break
I am a Rescuer
It is to me that knows it only takes 5 days for a shelter to take a life
It is I who has to walk by the faces in a shelter deciding who is saved and who can’t be
Happiness and Sadness always intermingled
Even though it increases my work load, I look forward to the first day of a new foster, the grateful eyes, the careful steps, the tail tucked tight
To feed and tender a dog’s trust where there once was none
I don’t think conscientious breeders are uneducated, unemployable, or illiterate.
I am a lover of animals and I have found my niche.
I am a Rescuer
There is no shame in Rescue
Some people say it is easier to qualify for a house than to qualify for one of my rescues, I say it should be.
My dogs have been starved, my dogs have been beaten
My dogs have been left in the cold until their ears freeze off
My dogs have been covered in parasites and struggle with disease
My dogs have been left to die.
At night when I go to bed I pray for many things.
I pray for new adoptive homes
I pray for less dogs that have been abandoned
and I pray for Conscientious Breeders.
There is no shame in breeding dogs responsibly.
No one should take your dogs for mild infractions
You shouldn’t have to hide like a criminal
Politicians shouldn’t police our kennels
Breeders and Rescue need to work together hand in hand
To make sure there is a home for every dog
That the home is safe and stable
That dogs not suitable from breeding are altered
And that dogs left behind are picked up and safe
I am an animal lover, nurse, heavy laborer, customer service
representative, and marketer. AND I am a Rescuer.
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