I volunteer for an animal rescue in Oklahoma. Rainbow Bridge Can Wait is a tremendous organization staffed by dedicated and generous people, particularly women and families. These women devote much of their time coordinating transportation of surrendered, abused, neglected and abandoned dogs and moving them from deplorable conditions into loving and nurturing homes. The team of women also coordinate adoption events, several times a month in fact, bring more foster families on the team, and go out and perform the rescues. The stories I hear about the conditions which many dogs find themselves is heartbreaking to say the least, but Rainbow Bridge Can Wait truly, humanely and compassionately offers new hope into the lives of their companion animals.
This past Saturday, I had the pleasure of helping out Rainbow Bridge in their rescue efforts by meeting a dog owner who was looking to surrender his companion animal. After reading the last sentence, judgement or ridicule often come to mind to try to understand what would make someone surrender their pet. Questions like “How can anyone do that?” “How come they couldn’t make it work?” often come up for people who are looking from the outside. We are left creating a story about these people we know nothing about in order to understand a chain of events and many times we get it wrong. We come up with declarative statements saying things like “I’ll never make that kind of decision”, “I’m glad that’s not us”. We, like the owner who surrendered his dog, created bonds with their companions and for years foraged an everlasting relationships with them. In some instances, life takes a detour and we are left making a decision on something we never imagined having to do so in the first place. In my limited scope of helping with an animal rescu’s work, I saw the pain and heart wrenching sadness in the dog owner’s eye while he was saying goodbye to his “Buddy”. I couldn’t help, but have tears fall for this family. The loss of a loved one is so great and witnessing someone say goodbye to someone or some pet they love is a precious moment and one where an outsider like me can develop a deeper understanding of the complicated situations people find themselves.
Even with profound sadness and despair found in loss, there is also the glimmer of light in the next moment for the continued journey and the new opportunities which present themselves when we least expect them. I have the utmost gratitude for the animal rescues. They present a different alternative than an animal shelter. “In 2008, roughly 3.7 million pets were euthanized according to American Humane Association. Animals, like senior dogs, pit bulls and fearful dogs to name a few often get overlooked if animal shelters do adoption events and are most often euthanized. Animal rescues, like Rainbow Bridge Can Wait offer a different solution. They offer a new opportunity for many companion animals. They ensure dogs receive vaccinations before they are adopted out, rehabilitation of behavior issues and placed in loving foster homes before adoptions. All of this work requires support from the community. Many, if not all local rescues are non profits and they struggle day to day in finding monetary donations, food donations, people donating their time in walking companion animals during adoption events, becoming a foster family or even helping out at the rescue for those animals who are not able to be placed yet in a home. I believe we all have responsibility in caring for abandoned, neglected and abused animals. We all need to speak up for them and be the voice of the voiceless.
I urge all readers in taking some sort of action either find out about your local animal rescues, donate time, money or other resources to them, volunteer in walking the dogs in the shelters or help out a loose pet find their owners. Be the difference 🙂