Editorial by Alicia Williams of Eunoia Rescue
I have been involved with rescue for all of my adult life. I have heard so much BS over the years. I use to be able to fake a smile and nod. Now, however, I refuse to let an ignorant remark go without a sly response from myself. I have compiled a list of just a *few* things related to this non-profit industry that really pinch a nerve. To my fellow rescuers, I hope this piece comes to you as relatable satire. To those not involved with rescue, please let this piece come to you as a warning.
“I would want to keep them all.” This expression is usually said when declining to foster and is probably the one I despise the most. I know people say it with good intentions, but for me it shows how disconnected a person is with the animal overpopulation crisis. By saying “I would want to keep them all” is an excuse that people use to make themselves feel better about not being part of the solution. First of all, hardly anyone can afford to “keep them all” because there are thousands that need to be helped. How could you possibly “keep them all” when there are so many others that need you? Sure, there are people who adopt the dog they foster; but it never started with the fear of “keeping them all.”
“Why don’t you help people?” Well, helping people isn’t our passion. We certainly do not discredit those who choose to help people; but for us, we feel like we are put on this Earth to help animals. This one really doesn’t need a huge explanation, but just in case you need a little more reasoning: people have been helping animals since Biblical times. We’re not doing anything new; we’re just doing what we love.
“I need to ask my significant other.” This phrase is another example of an excuse. Do you really need permission to help a living soul? Call me a bitter bachelorette, but if any of you ever hear me say: “I need to ask my boyfriend/husband” before I help an animal – slap me – because I clearly need to wake up from whatever hellish nightmare I’m in.
“How much does it cost?” Two of my pet peeves are present in this one question. #1: Referring to a pet as an “it.” A dog available for adoption usually doesn’t have an Uncle Fester, so there’s no need for the “it” reference. Please use he, she, pup, puppers, doggie, doggo, etcetera accordingly. #2: What does one mean by “cost?” “Cost” as in upkeep expense? As in: monthly heartworm preventative, monthly flea/tick preventative, grooming, yearly vaccines, and other medical visits? Honestly, I have no idea – and ignorance is bliss in this scenario. Or do you mean “cost” as in adoption fee? Cost and adoption fee are not interchangeable. A cost is an upcharge on supplies or labor so a business can make a profit. An adoption fee is a small portion of money collected so that the rescue and/or shelter can continue to save other lives while being in the red. If the fee is more than what you can afford, you should probably rethink your decision of adopting an animal.
“Do you have any hypoallergenic dogs available?” Stop trying to make hypoallergenic dogs happen. It’s not going to happen. It never was a thing. It’s never going to be a thing. (Seriously, Google it.) If you ask me this question, please prepare yourself for an, at minimum, eight minute lecture.
“I have a dog that you can rescue.” Oh gee, thanks. We were really struggling with finding more dogs that need help. *EYE ROLL* We’ll stop tending to the thirty dogs I’ve committed to, who have come from shelters to come to YOUR rescue (not the dog’s rescue) because you don’t “have time” or you “had a baby” or you “have to move” or you “can’t afford it” or the dog is “too big.” We would be more than happy to assist you and this “problem” that you have brought upon yourself. (This is sarcasm, of course.)
“If you don’t help me, I’m going to have to surrender my dog to a shelter.” Again, this sounds like your problem. Most of us rescuers, if not all of us, can live a content life knowing that we have never had to surrender one of our own dogs to a shelter. We have seen dogs that are starving, terrified, with every type of worm you can imagine. The fact that your dog (that you clearly are not too attached to) has to go to a shelter doesn’t even scratch the surface of the horrible things we’ve seen. Oh, you have to surrender to a “kill” facility? Although unfortunate, that’s still not our problem. If you find yourself in a position where you have to send your pet to the shelter, you’re not trying hard enough to re-home them or you don’t want to pay to euthanize them yourself. Ultimately, you suck.
Stay tuned for part two of this list in the next issue of Lowcountry Dog Magazine!