No, we were not born this way. Our "introversion" often stems from a belief, backed up by the evidence we see every single day, that most humans are hopelessly, irredeemably cruel—whether by ignorance or intent.
And maybe that's true. But even if it is, it's still only most humans. Not all. And I want to be hopeful, rather than hopeless. I want to believe that there is redemption for the cruelty we, as a species, have wrought on the world. And I want to believe that, by sharing an insider's look at the actual, real hows of rescuing, and doing it with more humor than cheesiness, two things might happen:
Someone with their heart in the right place might find out that rescuing isn't as impossible as they thought, and might feel motivated to get involved.
Someone with their heart in the right place and on their way to grab that homeless dog they saw just three minutes ago and take it home might realize just how irresponsible they're about to be.
An irresponsible "rescue"—a rescue carried out by an inexperienced loner, without any support or guidance—does more harm than good. You might be taking a mom away from her newborn puppies (and sentencing those puppies to death). You might be interfering with a rescue effort already in motion (which will result in losing the dog forever). You might hurt, or even kill, the dog you're trying to help. You might hurt yourself. You might get someone else hurt. You might bring any number of dangers, including disease, into your home.
My theme for this year's April Challenge, The A to Z of Dog Rescuing, isn't a tear-jerky plea for the welfare of animals. Rather, it's a guide—for that slice of the population that make the difference between most and all—on How To Rescue A Dog. The idea is to provide not just motivation but education. A successful rescue requires a whole lot of people, a whole lot of know-how, and a whole lot of luck. I can't help with the luck part, but—if you do decide rescuing is for you—I can be one of the people in your corner, and I can share what I've learned myself... which might help you have a better chance of making it a success.
Rescue isn't pretty. More often than not, it gets worse before it gets better.
But it does get better.
What you can expect this AprilBrief, practical guidelines. A blow-by-blow on the how-to. A glance at considerations (safety, medical, fostering). Videos from rescue organizations. Bloopers. Humor. Some seriousness, too. (But not too much.) The Dog Rescuer's Kit (for K) will give a list of items every dog rescuer needs to carry, for instance. E day will be all about the Easy Catches; on C day it'll be the nigh-impossible ones (Catch Me (If You Can)).
Next weekend I'll be posting a Rescue FAQ as a sort of prep-intro and prequel to the A-to-Z posts. If you have any rescue- or dog-related questions, I'd love it if you shared them in the comments (or via email to guilie (dot) quietlaughter (at) gmail (dot) com) so I can include them in the FAQ and/or answer them during April.
I realize animal rescue is not a popular subject. Many pet bloggers are more into breeding and dog shows than into tick-ridden, emaciated 10-year-old mutts abandoned tied to a tree somewhere. Most people, in fact, would simply rather not know (let alone do).
But most is not all.
And I'm hoping that some of those people, the ones who stand in the gap between most and all, might find their way to this blog. You might not be many, but you're the ones that make the greatest difference. This April's series is for you.
Get a Kleenex for this one.