CARE Rescue Blog
An inside look into animal rescue
|2008/05/15 “CARE — An All-Animal Rescue”
by Kelly Whittington
The majority of rescue is dogs and cats because they are the most proliferate, so the need is greater. That doesn’t mean other animals aren’t in need of rescue. CARE rescues any animal that we have the means and/or funds to help. We recently found homes for several pot-bellied pigs when the petting zoo where they lived went under. We regularly find homes for ferrets and rabbits and may soon be taking in some homeless turtles and fish. Yes, we even rescue homeless fish. If there is an animal in need, and we have the ability to help, we do. That even includes wildlife.
Like last night, when my husband saved two baby Mockingbirds from the jaws of death. The jaws of death just happened to be our two foster dogs, so there is some irony there. The two Jack Russell Terrier mixes were basically tossing one of the baby birds back and forth like a baseball. Not surprising since they are JRTs, but my husband couldn’t stand by and watch them kill the baby birdie. He took the one they were using as a chew toy and tracked down the other one before they could snatch it. Then, he looked around with a flashlight to see if there were more.
There were no more. We think they were the last two to leave the nest. They both have all their feathers already and were probably working on mastering the whole flying thing when they got ambushed by the terriers. They spent the night in a small dog carrier in my utility room. This morning, my husband took them to Carolina Wildlife Care which is a nonprofit wildlife preservation organization better equipped to attend to these guys than am I. They will help these birds find their wings and get back out into the wild world.
Carolina Wildlife Care has information on their website about what to do if YOU find an injured wild animal. That is how my husband and I knew what to do to save these baby birds. Their website said “If the baby bird is obviously injured, cold, or has been caught by a cat or dog, then the baby cannot be returned to its family and needs to be taken to a wildlife rehabilitator. “ It also instructed not to feed them or give them water while waiting to get them to CWC.
To learn more about Carolina Wildlife Care and what they do, please visit www.carolinawildlife.org.
| 2008/04/08 - "Rescue Math — It doesn’t add up"
By Kelly Whittington
Often people will contact us asking for help with placing their personal pet or one they found stray. We seldom have space available for another animal, so we have to tell them no 99% of the time. Most people are understanding, but every once in a while someone gets mad at us. This entry is for those people.
Animal Rescue is a voluntary unpaid venture. Those of us who do rescue do it because we care about the healthy and wonderful animals who are being killed because no one will step up to take responsibility for them. We do it in our spare time, and we do as much as we can. The reason we seldom have space for another animal is that we do as much as we can all the time. If we have the ability to help an animal, we will. We never say no while extra money sits in the bank or extra slots sit open!
Outer space is unlimited, but rescue space is finite. Kill shelters are kill shelters because of that. There is only so much space in which animals can fit. There is only so much money for feeding, medicating, and tending to the needs of these animals. Kill shelters cannot refuse to take animals because they are run with taxpayer dollars. Therefore, once the finite space and money is used up, animals have to be killed. It’s the only way to do the Math.
This is where individual rescue groups step in. They work very hard to pick up the slack and provide extra space and money so that the kill shelter does not fill up and does not have to kill animals. The problem is that the number of volunteers and the amount of funds provided by these rescue groups STILL do not equal the number of animals being dumped. Therefore, animals still have to be killed. It’s the only way to do the Math.
Here is a word problem for you. CARE currently has 12 active foster homes. We have 48 animals in those foster homes, as of this writing. We get emails on a weekly basis from kill shelters throughout the state with a list of pets who will be killed that day and a plea to get them out before that happens. Today, we were sent the link to a new website that conveniently gives the euthanasia list of several SC shelters. Charleston has 30 dogs scheduled to be killed. Greenville has around 35. Gaffney has 16, mostly puppies 12 weeks of age and under. Gaston is hard to count because multiple dogs are sharing cages. This isn’t counting the separate email we got with Darlington’s euthanasia list. Keep in mind that this is only for this week. Even after killing all these dogs, these shelters will be full again next week and a whole new list will be sent out. The question is, what do you think would happen if 12 foster homes took in all those animals?
The answer is that animal control would come around and take them right back because we would have too many to properly care for. The point of a humane group is humane treatment of animals, and improper care because you took on too many is NOT humane.
The reason we cannot take your pet so that you don’t have to take him to a kill shelter is because we have already taken on someone else’s responsibility for them. Instead of getting mad at us because we can’t take on yours as well, why not try handling your own responsibility yourself? It’s the only way to do the Math so that it actually adds up!
2008/04/07 "How can you let them go?"
by Kelly Whittington
People often tell us that they could never foster animals because they would get too attached to let them be adopted out. The number one question we are asked is, “how can you let them go?”
The answer is that we get attached with Velcro and not glue because we cannot save more lives if we aren’t willing to let them go to new homes. There is a limited number of animals a person can sufficiently care for, so if we kept our fosters, we would not be able to rescue more animals. Also, we know that an adoptive home can give the animals much more than we can long-term simply because we have a lot more animals than the average adoptive home. We are focused on saving as many lives as possible. Adoptive homes are focused on the animal they adopt.
Some animals are harder to say goodbye to than others. While we love them all, everyone has their personality or breed preferences. For me personally, I refuse to foster another Doberman because it is so hard for me to say goodbye to them. My last foster Dobie was almost 100 lbs., and I seriously wondered how I could hide him and say he ran away when his new family came to get him. I get regular updates from his new family, and he is much loved and very happy, so letting him go was the best thing I could do for him.
My current foster dog is not my breed or personality preference, but it’s going to be hard to let him go because he’s won me over. Beechnut is a Jack Russell Terrier/APBT mix. I’ve never had a terrier before, and he is very typical of the JRT breed. Terriers do not act a thing like Dobermans do. They can be stubborn and willful and a bit difficult at times. But, along with that comes a dog loaded with personality! Last night, Beechnut climbed up into my lap and laid his head on my shoulder like a little baby. It’s fun to have a dog who fits in your lap when you’re accustomed to really big dogs.
That is one of the most fun things about fostering animals. Each one has his own personality, and each one leaves an impression on your heart. There is a saying that old age is the realization that you’ll never live long enough to have all the dogs you want to have. Fostering gives me a chance to experience more dogs than I ever would otherwise. Watching them go to a loving forever home is a small price to pay for getting to enjoy their company for a short time. So, yes it will be hard to say goodbye to my little Nutter Butter, Beechnut. But, if I hadn’t said goodbye to my little piglet, Cleo, I never would have had a Beechnut to say goodbye to. And, if I hadn’t said goodbye to my big goofy boy, Tobin, then I never would have had a Cleo to say goodbye to. And, if I hadn’t said goodbye to Pooh Bear…
by Kelly Whittington
My name is Kelly Whittington. I am a CARE Board Member, the Website Administrator, and the Dog Training Advisor. We at CARE decided to start a blog to share with you our experiences in animal rescue. We hope that you enjoy it and learn something in the process. Maybe you will even be inspired to get involved yourself!
A question we get asked often is 'how did you get started in rescue?' I myself am relatively new to animal rescue. It happened pretty much by accident. An online friend had been encouraging me to become a dog foster mom because all I ever talked about was dogs. I had 2 of my own and wanted more but couldn't afford them. After adopting from a foster mom herself, she was convinced it was perfect for me, but I wasn't. I thought that I couldn't do it since I work full time.Then one night in early November 2006 on the way to a friend's house, my husband spotted a very skinny dog on the side of the road. I didn't see him, so I asked my husband if we needed to turn around. My husband looked back at the pitifully thin dog and said, "yes!"
The dog was extremely friendly in spite of his poor condition and jumped right into our car. He spent the night in a crate. The next day, I took him to the Vet for vaccinations. The Vet said the dog had the most fleas he had ever seen on a dog that lived! When the Vet walked into the exam room, he said, "Oh, you've got a pit bull." I said, "I do?" I have to admit that I was a tad bit worried. Now, the love of my life is a big Doberman, so I'm no stranger to the big muscular breeds. But, I did wonder if the hype was true about pits and asked the Vet if the dog was going to turn on me in 5 years and eat me. He chuckled as he reassured me that, no, that was not going to happen. He urged me to keep the dog.
Oh, how I wanted to. I named him Diesel after the actor, Vin Diesel. He was such a love bug and very well-behaved. He never used the bathroom in my house and learned obedience commands easily with nothing more than sliced cheese. Unfortunately, we couldn't afford a third dog with Vet bills and potentially unexpected Vet bills, boarding when we went out of town, and all the other expenses that come with dog ownership. On top of that, our Lab, Jazz, didn't like him at all. So, I started contacting rescues that I found on petfinder.com for help in getting him rehomed before Christmas, when we would be traveling to Anderson for the holiday and couldn't take him along. Our Lab attacked him everytime he came near her, so putting them both in the same car was out of the question. That is when I began to learn the sad truth about animal rescue. I called every rescue group in SC and some in NC and GA. ALL of them were full. One told me that people start dumping their older dogs right before Christmas so they can replace them with puppies. I was stunned. How could anyone replace their dog with a younger model as if he were a car? Our Lab was already 9 years old, and we would never dream of getting rid of her. And, is the unwanted pet problem so bad that rescues can't keep up?
I ended up finding a home for Diesel on my own. I placed an ad on the internet and screened the adopter myself. He went to a great home in Summerville with a bachelor. Then, I started looking for a group to volunteer with. I wanted to be a part of the solution, and Diesel had shown me that I had what it takes to be a foster mom.
Now that I am deeply entrenched in animal rescue, I see that the problem is even worse than I ever could have imagined. It's not only at Christmas that people dump their pets, and rescue groups are always full. We get at least half a dozen emails a day from independent rescuers begging for help for dogs who will be put to sleep in shelters all over the state. That is in addition to the people who are looking for help rehoming their own dog or one they found stray like I found Diesel. The general public has no idea the extent of the problem. I feel that if they did, like me they would want to do something about it. And, that is why I started this blog. I hope that people will read this and see that there is a huge problem, but we can solve it if we all work together!
You can start being part of the solution RIGHT NOW!
- Spay and neuter your pets. With literally hundreds of thousands of cats and dogs being put to sleep for no other reason than lack of homes and space, there is no reason to breed haphazardly. The fees at the Richland County Humane Society Spay Neuter Clinic are reasonable and affordable, so there is no excuse not to do it.
- Don't buy while shelter pets die! Backyard Breeders and Puppy Mills would not survive if they didn't make money. Irresponsible breeding is not only the leading cause of so many senseless deaths of animals, it also ruins the breeds we love. It takes a lot of knowledge to breed a healthy dog with a good temperament. Backyard Breeders and Puppy Mills could care less if they dogs they breed have genetic health problems or aggression issues. All they want is a quick buck. When you adopt rather than buy, you not only save that dog but you also do your part to save the breed! Approximately 1/4 of dogs in shelters are purebred.
- Support your local rescues. If you cannot adopt, donate. If you cannot afford to donate money, donate your time.