Sometimes I think that as our society evolves, we complicate things that should be simple. One area of our evolution, however, that I think is absolutely wonderful is animal rescue. The ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) was founded in 1866 and the Humane Society was founded in 1877. In the 1960s and 1970s, non-profit private animal shelters began cropping up in addition to the municipal shelters. Municipal shelters have to take every animal the “dog catcher” or people bring in, because of this there is overcrowding, causing the need for a euthanasia policy. The private shelters can be more selective, they can elect not to take more animals in until there is room and they can adopt a no-kill policy.
It was until the 1980s that people began to foster dogs in their own homes. Some dogs don’t do well in shelters – they are anxious, nervous, scared, they don’t eat or guard their food, their anxiety makes them more prone to attack so shelters started looking for volunteers to bring the dogs into their homes temporarily until a permanent or “fur-ever” home could be found for them.
Around the same time, groups were formed that would take a certain breed of dog from the shelter. Before long there was a rescue group for almost every breed and now when a shelter gets a certain breed in, they can call the rescue group for that breed to come and get the dog out of the shelter.
These rescue groups will often take mixed breeds that have some or most of the characteristics of the breed (for instance, the two dogs that we are fostering- one looks like a cairn terrier, the other looks like a cairn terrier/yorkie mix, but has enough cairn terrier to qualify for this group). Every single person in these rescue groups is a volunteer and they volunteer a lot of time and money. Adoption fees don’t cover all the bills, so they work tirelessly with fundraisers to raise more funds to pay for medical care and veterinary bills. Many animals are brought to shelters every year because their owners can not afford their veterinary care. Some of these dogs need expensive surgery or have conditions that will require them to be on medication for life.
I did not really understand all that went into running a dog rescue, until we got involved with one.