Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Unrescuing Rescue (New York City)


(Picture Left: "Joy" -- After suffering years of owner neglect and/or life on the mean streets of New York City as a stray, we thought that this gentle and resilient dog's luck had finally changed. But, it apparently is not to be......No joy to be found in abandonment.)

It has been gut-wrenching over these many long weeks to see so many beautiful animals on the shelter kill lists everyday and not be able to "pull" any.

I had begun to think of myself as the "unrescuing rescue."

And yet, there was clearly no choice in the matter.

With no animals moving out of foster homes or boarding and no place to put even one more cat or dog, it was not option to respond to any of the many "alerts" emailed to us everyday or even the kill list itself.

I don't even look at the Cat Euthanasia list anymore as it is just too overwhelmingly depressing and demoralizing. I have thus become like most members of present day society -- "buying my head in the sand." -- "Please don't show or tell me."

But, this past week, we had two dogs move out of boarding and foster. One was (so far) successfully adopted, the other went to a foster home.

I was hopeful of being able to rescue one or possibly two new dogs.

But, fortunately (or unfortunately), I didn't jump the gun on new rescues, because yesterday, I was informed that at least one dog is being returned from a foster home and possibly another one, as well.

It seems in the one definite case of return, a cousin of a roommate will be "visiting" and for some inexplicable reason, this necessitates having to send "Joy," a very sweet and gentle, older Chow mix into boarding.

I am not sure when visiting house guests got to call shots on what a host keeps in his or her apartment, but apparently new roommates and their visiting cousins have a great deal more "say and sway" than what I was aware.

That is of course bad news for the foster dog who now, having gotten used to a caring home environment has to go sit 24/7 in a cold, antiseptic, boarding kennel.

Joy is a particularly sensitive dog, who before being rescued, apparently led an outdoor life of either total human neglect by an inattentive owner, or survived as a true stray or junkyard dog.

I loathe the idea of putting this particular dog in boarding for what could be a long, long time.

Joy, of all dogs needs to experience human attention, love and care.

So yes, that particular call upset me greatly. Not only because of having to send an especially sensitive and needy dog to a boarding kennel, but even more so, because it means I still cannot pull any new rescue dogs.

But, the most distressing thing about the call is that it came from a person I would have deemed as the very last individual on earth who would do something like this.

There is a part of me now that believes one cannot fully trust or rely on anyone when it comes to animal rescue, fostering and adoptions.

You never know when that unanticipated and (at least in this case) shocking call is going to come in:

"I need to bring the dog (or cat) back."

But, adopting an attitude that "no one can be fully trusted or relied upon" in animal rescue and placement is indeed, not only self-defeating, but downright deadly.

Animals die when we are too afraid to rescue them for fear "no one can be relied upon" to foster or adopt.

I know I am going to have to work on my attitude over the next few days.

Or, maybe I am going to have to quickly find an indoor pool to swim in and attempt (at least for an hour or so) to drown sorrows. -- PCA


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