Well, in the "underground world" of animal rights advocates, we read thousands of emails about animals facing death sentences every day. At first you cry a lot, then you go into action and get involved.
A rescuer will take in a stray animal on its way to the pound. A rescuer will walk the cold or hot cement shelter floors, listening to the cries of sadness and barking from scared animals, begging to be noticed and rescued. We see animals curled up in the corners, afraid or depressed. Mother's begging to find shelter from the noise for their newborn pups or kittens. Others, so hungry they'll eat anything deposited on the barren floors. Then there are the secret isolation rooms, closed to the public. Here you will find, the accident victims, those suffering from horrible mange and sometimes those that suffer from a cold, known as kennel cough, which can be fixed, but they'll never be seen by the public. Here, also, you will find where the horror cases are kept, victims
from unthinkable abuse. They suffer alone, behind closed doors. For unless a rescuer or good volunteer tells you, no one will ever see them. They are simply doomed to die. We ache, but we keep walking. We ask questions, and we think of anyone who might be looking for a dog or cat. We get teary-eyed for those animals we know we just can't help.
We carefully pick the animals we think we can help, both financially & emotionally, until we can find them a new loving, permanent home. If an animal has been "fixed", you fill out the paperwork, which takes
awhile, and drive off with a scared new friend you've never met before. Neither of you knows the other. If an animal is unaltered (not spayed or neutered) they are sent to a clinic the next day and you pick them up, usually half asleep, and take them to another vet for a check up. If they have contracted a cold, known as "Kennel Cough", they must be quarantined at a veterinarian with a quarantine area, or a boarding facility with a quarantine. A foster home, who has no animals to protect from the upper respiratory cold is always best, but nearly impossible to find. If the animal has mange, which is very contagious, it needs to be treated as well while in quarantine. Then we have boarding costs, feeding costs and sometimes large medical expenses. If they have broken limbs they must be operated on and kept in a quiet place to recover.
We then have to get to know the animal. Are they friendly? Do they like people, other animals? Cats, dogs? What can we tell someone about them? Do they need minimal training, or extensive training? Are they
housetrained? How old are they really? What breed or mix are they? We visit them during quarantine as much as possible. We take them for walks, play or just sit with them to get to know them. And they need the opportunity to know us, too.
We make flyers with a photograph, and the animal's story. Then we drive around and distribute the flyers, and make phone calls and send emails.
We schedule adoption days. We find a suitable place like a storefront, a small shopping mall, or pet store that allows us to set up a small adoption area with a playpen and food and water station, to show our "Adoptee". In the summer months we hope to have "misters" to relieve them from the summer days heat. When someone is interested in one of our friends, we ask questions about their home and fenced yards, their work hours, and what kind of a companion they're looking for, and how much time they have to spend with them. We ask them to fill out questionnaires about themselves, so we can best decide who's correct for the animal and who the animal will best get along with.
For example, older dogs are happy to have a warm place, and love. Younger dogs need to be exercised more, and sometimes need more training. Puppies need it all; housetraining, obedience training, and a lifetime commitment.
Our job, is healing & match making. When we finally make a choice, we've made the drive to someone's home, done our house check, paperwork, and taken a departing picture of our rescued animal, we say our goodbye's and drive away. Most of us cry a little, not always because we are sad, but because we saved a life. Our job is complete. They will be missed, but we move on to the next one, for there are thousands just waiting for someone to rescue them. Waiting for someone to save them from the cold, frightening shelters, death row and the inevitable & foreboding death needle or far worse, in some states in America, the gas chamber.