Responsible Rescue Part 1: Let's do this
Responsible Rescue: What does that even mean?
A few months ago I did a series of blog posts about pit bulls called Pit Bull People. Now, I’m kicking off another series of posts on a subject that you all know is very important to me, and that is responsible rescue. I want to talk about what that means, and talk through some common terminology like “no kill” and “kill shelter” and some less common terminology like “open intake” and “hoard and board.” I want to talk about the hierarchy of needs and what it means to have a heart bigger than you are capable of keeping up with. This series of posts will likely not be uplifting. And there may even not be a solution we arrive at. But it’s an important conversation we need to have, so I hope you will stick with me on the journey.
Author’s note: I am not, and I don’t pretend to be, an expert on animal welfare. I’m just a dog lover, who has spent the last 5 years learning and experiencing what it’s like to love, and rescue, and invest myself in, and cry over, and fight for, and say goodbye to a lot of dogs. I’m going to do my best to break down a lot of complicated information that exists in the world of rescue in the hopes that it helps others learn and be spurred to do their own research and reach their own conclusions. I am simply one person with one point of view.
This series is going to talk about one of the biggest Catch 22s that exists in rescue from my perspective: that of the desire to reduce euthanasia rates, while simultaneously trying to fight for increased animal welfare and hold both shelters and rescues to higher standards of quality of life.
These are two goals that seem to go hand in hand, but somehow they often end up at odds. This series will by no means be comprehensive or even close to exhaustive, and I am not nearly as well-researched as I one day hope to be on the subject. But I will give you my thoughts on the conundrum of responsible rescue as it exists today, and some basic personal thoughts on where we go from here. (Also, all of this applies to more than dogs but since I only really know dogs, that’s where I’m focusing this series).
I know that people will disagree with some of what I have to say. That’s ok. I know that some people will be mad. That’s ok too. I have had some of this ready to go for a long time, and was just too afraid to hit publish for fear of the backlash. But I have a point of view, and I believe it’s a valuable one. I’ve been a “no kill” shelter volunteer, a “kill shelter” volunteer, a private rescue administration volunteer, and a foster parent for the last few years. I also read as much as I can on the subject. I ask others I trust for their opinions on the subject, and you’ll see some of them have contributed to this series in various ways.
I believe that when we hold knowledge others might not, it’s our responsibility to share it. So if you have any questions that you want answered, at any point in this series, please reach out and I’ll do my best to either give you my opinion on things or find the answers. You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org or through the contact form on this blog.