Tuesday, July 11, 2017

The World of Animal Rescue

After a long(er) discussion yesterday with one of my rescue friends, I felt the need to delve into the topic of dog rescues. One, because I am a part of one--maybe a minuscule part, but a part nonetheless.  And two, because there's a lot that the public doesn't see or hear about.

First off, I work with Central Pennsylvania Animal Alliance. CPAA is a group that first and foremost aims to educate pet owners of the importance of spaying and neutering your animals. This is to help alleviate overpopulation and unwanted pets. We have the Desex in the City program that offers low-cost spay/neuter at a handful of local vet offices. One of the largest problems that rescues and shelters deal with is overpopulation, thus leading to lack of space in their facilities. The amount of animals that are euthanized simply due to lack of space would make you sick to your stomach. 

There is also the HOPE Program where dogs are fostered by non-violent inmates at the Camp Hill prison. It works as rehabilitation not only for the dog, but also the handler. It's an amazing program that your donations also help to fund. 

We also host Woofstock every year, which showcases local affiliate rescues and businesses. We have a low-cost vaccine clinic with microchipping, also. 

Unfortunately though, since we do not have a brick-and-mortar facility and the lack of fosters is real, we haven't been able to take it many dogs...as, they have nowhere to go.

What you WON'T see from us, though, is lying. We don't take in more than we can handle. We don't have dogs suddenly disappearing. We are honest about what we think our mix-breeds are; not just based on looks, but by behavior and skills during thorough evaluations. We are upfront about who are dogs don't get along with, be it children, other dogs or cats. Our goal is not only to get a dog adopted, but for that animal to be someone's pet until the very end. No rescue wants to adopt out only to receive the poor pup back months later. Ever wonder why some rescues have such a strenuous list of "requirements"?...that's why. We want to make sure that it's no only a fit for YOU, but also the animal.

Unfortunately, though, not all rescues live by the same moral code.

I know everyone wants to believe that they are out there trying to "fight for the cause" and raising funds for all the right reasons, but that is not always the case. And I'll be honest: if I didn't have some of the connections that I do, I would probably think the exact. same. way. Why? Because we, as humans, want to believe that there truly is good in everyone. And there are a LOT of people who truly ARE good. But then there are many that are simply just good at PR and manipulation.

The topic of last nights "text-a-thon" referred to one rescue in particular. And it made me realize how the public has no idea the true goings-on of that *facility*. You truly must be in the belly of the beast to believe such things. And if you haven't realized: girls in the rescue world talk--they talk A LOT. So if something shady is going on at a local rescue and a girl who volunteered there goes elsewhere, you better be damn sure she's going to let those guys know what all she saw and dealt with.  

Oh and don't get me started with the control problems. You don't have the slightest clue the things I see on my Facebook feed, posted by fellow rescue girls. I just saw an article before I decided to write this entry about a 4 month old puppy who was euthanized while not even finished with her "bite quarantine" by a NC animal shelter. You can read the official post here, but it pretty much states that there was a litter of siblings who were in foster care after being dumped and a member of the shelter stated that, during a home visit, a puppy bit them. When they came back to said foster's home, they not only took the wrong puppy, but the county manager then refused to discuss options for after the 10-day quarantine was over. Instead, because this woman refused to admit she was wrong and make things right, she ordered the euthanization of a perfectly healthy, playful 4 month old puppy before the mandatory 10 day quarantine was even done! If you watch the video attached to the post, you will see someone STICKING THEIR HAND IN THE KENNEL to pet the "vicious" puppy, who only meets their hand with kisses.

...guys!...this happens all. the. time. Women ( or men ) who care nothing for the animals, only worry about the incoming monetary donations and being able to have full control over something.

I could go on with this for pages and pages, but no one wants to hear all of that shit. But I will say, as the public, we need to be better educated. We need to learn to ask the right questions. We need to be able to read between the lines and see the signs. So if you're thinking about donating your time or money, or possibly adopting a dog yourself, please be careful to follow a few tidbits from someone who has heard some horror stories:

1. Ask to see the facility where the dog is being fostered. A reputable rescue or foster home will not make you stay in the front yard only, while they bring the dog out to greet you. You should have every right to see the conditions in which the animal is being kept. 

2. Make sure you get vet records. A good rescue will keep all documents associated with the animal to give to the adopter upon adopting. This should include vaccinations/microchipping/spay-neuter. 

3. Take mind to how the animals are treated by the "leader" of the rescue. I've heard of one lady who literally hits and kicks her fosters, and keeps them in poor living quarters...yet, outsiders don't see that. If you're in a situation that makes you uncomfortable, get out. I know that people want to stay for the sake of the animals, but you don't want to be around when her world starts burning around her.

4. Every donation should be properly accounted for. I know when I have PetValu events, I account for every cent earned and make sure to count magnet and food sales separate from standard donations. This is because as a 501(c)(3) charitable organization, you need those specifics for tax purposes. A proper rescue will keep all receipts, reimburse volunteers accordingly ( if they purchase supplies ) and use donated money and giftcards for the purpose of aiding the animals ONLY! 

5. If more than one person is saying it, 9 times outta 10 it's probably true...so trust your gut. The facility I will not name has had at least a dozen volunteers who have said the same thing; these are volunteers that are not even associated with each other and have volunteered at different times. Abuse. Misspending of funds. Unkempt living quarters. Unwarranted ( DOCUMENTED ) deaths of at least 10 dogs. Picking the worst cases as to receive the most in donation money. Denying those with background in training/behavioral issues due to one's own pride, thus leaving the dog to suffer. 

Rescue has become more of a popularity contest instead of, well, an alliance. People let their pride get in the way of helping these poor defenseless animals and instead fight tooth and nail with each other for popularity and funding. There are still a LOT of reputable rescues out there, but you're finding more and more that are trying to be a money making scheme. There are actually two in this area that have insane adoption fees for pups that aren't even old enough to fix--meaning your dog doesn't come spayed/neutered and you have to show them proof that you do it when they come of age. No voucher to pay the cost associated--this is an additional fee on top of the $450 you'd pay for your new pet. Yes, down south, they will euthanize pregnant dogs...due to the overpopulation issue. So these "rescues" are technically saving these dogs. But why such a high adoption fee?! To me, it screams "for profit".

Please educate yourself before you boast of, adopt from or volunteer for a rescue. Not all rescues are the same, and looks can be quite deceiving. 

Everything looks better on television, doesn't it....?


9 Years Ago...

Searching through my Drafts folder in my oldest email account, I came across two poems I had written...back in 2008! Oh Lordy...

I used to write poetry a lot in high school. I actually still have a shoebox full of poems and a binder with printed versions in plastic sleeves. That was my thing back then: art and poetry. I remember my friends and I would write and then critique each others work. I was actually published in the school art book one year ( I forget what it was called, but I have a copy ) It was to the point where I'd take my writing to my Honors Psych teacher for his opinion. I'd loved it.

Of course, it was mostly about friends and boys; I tried to make things rhyme as much as possible and use big words to sound more sophisticated. When I read back on some of them, all I can do is laugh--like, seriously?! Like reading back through an old diary, it takes you to a time in your life that you've probably long forgotten...and makes you realize how immature you truly were ( even though we thought we knew it all )

So with that, I'm going to share the two I have in my Drafts folder, both dated 6/9/08.


My faith is gone.
I talk to God,
But he’s done listening.
He’s done hearing me cry
Until four in the morning,
Just asking to be happy.
He knows it’s my fault.
And He knows that I’m the only one
With the power to change that fact.
I just don’t know how.

How does anyone know
What they truly want in life?
One minute you think you’ve found it,
Only to get a rude awakening
That everything you ever thought was real
Was just a clever façade:
A love that was masked and never true.

My faith in human kind is gone.
No one is real anymore.
Nothing is real anymore.

I’ve always been the prize to be won.
Always the bridesmaid, NEVER the bride.
Why believe in love,
When no one ever truly loved you?
Why give your heart away,
When you know the next girl will be given more?

One minute you think you want this,
Only to find out you want that.
Maybe I’m never truly satisfied.
Maybe, this is all my fault.
But it doesn’t make the pain any easier
And it doesn’t make me sleep any better at night.

I want to be someone’s one and only.
I want to be someone’s dream come true.
I want to be appreciated and loved,
Admired and adored…

…I want to be his everything…

You Know Who You Are

You hurt me more than any other,
And you did it because you knew you had the power.
You were the one person I would have never assumed
Would be one of those guys to get bored with me
And look for someone else to consume their time.
You chased me for years and then, when you got me,
You threw it all away.
And for that, I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to forgive.

I held you in such high regard for so long
And when you did that, my world fell apart.
I’m no angel and I’ve done my share of sinning,
But to me, that was expected…that’s how I was…
That wasn’t you at all.
You let me down on so many levels when I read your writing
On the note she gave me from you,
Saying you’d throw away all those years of wanting me
To pick up and be with her.
My heart tore in two at that very moment.

And you say you have changed; grown and learned.
That something like that would never happen again.
But how do I know?
How do I know anything anymore?
You’re such a good liar when you want to be.
You’ve said so many hurtful things that can never be taken back.

I’m scared to be with you and scared to be without you,
And I don’t know what I’m supposed to do anymore…

So go ahead and laugh away...just remember, I was only 21 guys! 😝