Saturday, December 19, 2009

The rewards of rescue...priceless

Nell earned her stripes the hard way. But life has turned around for this lucky survivor.

Witnessing turnarounds is the most gratifying aspect of animal rescue. A skittish, bony creature who arrives terrified and smelling badly can be transformed into an unrecognizable success story.

Gradually, as scared animal eyes look into kind human eyes, they begin to trust again. Or for the first time.

Watching it happen feeds the soul, soothing the frustrations of compassion fatigue. And it inspires tears of pure joy, even for those rescuers with the toughest shells and a career full of experiences.

Animal rescue is not a perfect system. It’s woefully underfunded, unsupported by government, and not organized. It is characterized by loose affiliations and alliances. For example, contrary to popular belief, humane societies aren’t connected to each other. Neither are SPCAs, otherwise known as societies for the prevention of cruelty to animals. These names are generic, like “hospital”.

But the places aren’t as important as the people. Whether they land at a shelter, a sanctuary, an independent rescue group, or a foster home, animals blossom after rescue at the hands of people driven to save.

Some come further than others. Some won’t come far enough to make it out alive.

But for those animals who take to the lifestyle—one that requires them to wait patiently until a permanent place can be found—they are given another chance at happiness.

Nell is one such case that makes the heart soar. I met her at Whatcom Humane Society recently. The photo below portrays a frightened dog who had just been rescued after being tied to the train tracks. She was hit by a train, thrust into the path of danger by someone's twisted idea of sport.

The photo above shows Nell now, lounging under the bedcovers at her foster home.

I haven’t spoken to Nell’s foster parents, but I’m sure they are in it for just that moment in time. The one when she gives them those puppy eyes full of hope and trust.

To read previous stories about Nell's rescue, click these links.

Right on track

Already trained

1 comment:

Animal Rescue said...

Good post overflowing of useful ideas! I like how you have written it properly but purposely. I have learned a lot from you. Good job and more writings to come!