Saturday, September 12, 2015

8 Things I Learned From My Rescued Pets

 Patience – Okay, I won’t say I’ve mastered this one. This is more like one of those things they CONTINUE to teach me because they certainly continue to test it! Potty training, the rare accident in the house from the dog that is now 150% potty trained, cat scratches on your shoes no matter how many inviting, scratchtastic toys you place around the house, somebody always under your feet….you get it, right? They test it. Every inch of your patience, they’ll test it. How you learn to handle those tests is the gift they give you. How your patience continues to grow, that’s the important thing.

2.      Perspective – Did you know that according to the ASPCA, the Midwest has the highest number of puppy mills in the United States? Did you know that in an article published by WTHR News in 2014, my home state of Indiana ranked number 5 in the number of puppy mills under scrutiny with the law? Did you know that there is currently no legal definition of a “puppy mill,” hence the continued issues of trying to figure out who can get away with what? Did you know that a large majority of those cute and cuddly puppies behind the glass at the pet store came from one of these puppy mills? Did you know that you can find 100% pure bred dogs in every shelter around the country? There was a time that I didn’t know these things. There was a time when I never questioned where those puppies behind the glass came from, where I never dreamed you could find anything but a ‘mutt’ at the shelter, where I didn’t know how close to my home those puppy mills were. When you delve into the world of rescue your perspective changes in a way that will never allow you to close your eyes to these horrors again.

3.      Don’t Judge A Book By Its Cover – Sure, that’s an easy one, right? You learned that one in Kindergarten, didn’t you? There’s a whole new world of judgement, however, when you own a dog. Some of the sweetest, most loving dogs I have met through rescue have been, I’ll say it, the UGLIEST things I’ve ever seen! I’ve met deformed dogs and scarred dogs, mangy dogs and skeletal dogs. I’ve also had my face kissed by dogs I would have been scared to approach before I joined the world of rescue; dogs whose heads are bigger than mine, whose faces look ever grumpy, dogs whose breeds I had heard horror stories about.

4.      If You Can’t Say Anything Nice, Don’t Say Anything At All – Again, that’s an easy one that you learned right around the time you learned not to judge a book by its cover. Sometimes, though, I think we need to send our adults back to Kindergarten to learn these simple ideals once again. When I rescued Juno, our pit bull, I knew I would come across some negativity. I wasn’t blind to the continued negative image of bully breeds in our media; I knew I would catch it at some point. The first time that someone spoke negatively to me, though, about my little darling was absolutely heartbreaking. Didn’t they know she was my family? Didn’t they know that I loved her every bit as much, if not more, than they loved their own dog? It’s hard for those of us in rescue, specifically those of us who choose to advocate for the breeds that need it the most. We are questioned, doubted, and sometimes even harassed over our love for these breeds. Many of us have learned through these unkind encounters just how important it is to go back to Bambi 101 and channel our inner Thumper.

5.      Comradery – Have you ever been driving down the road and witnessed that sly little wave between passing motorcyclists? They have no idea who they just passed but man, they own a bike too so they MUST be cool! There’s that same sense of community between those in rescue as well.
“Is your dog from a rescue? Mine too!”
“Yea, he is. Did we just become best friends?”
“YEP!”

6.      Spay/Neuter Your Pet – I always knew you should spay or neuter your pet but mostly because I thought it was gross if your dog humped my leg or you had to put a diaper on your female in heat. Have you ever researched any of these numbers? For instance, did you know that in the United States one shelter pet is euthanized nearly every thirteen seconds? Or, and this is a good one, have you ever Googled how many kittens can come from one single pair of mating cats? Sure, we will probably never see that number when we take into account the ones who have still births, the ones who die after birth, etc. but the knowledge that it’s even possible is enough for me! I never knew the true importance of spaying and neutering until I saw for myself what it really means.

7.      Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is – (Or your blood, sweat, and tears) We have all seen some kind of heartbreaking video circulating on the internet that shows a sweet little puppy in deplorable conditions with Sarah McLachlan singing in the background. We’ve all seen it and we’ve all felt sad, maybe we’ve even teared up or better yet, shared it on social media so others can see it too! That’s great, it is, there is and always will be a need for these things just to be seen to begin with but that’s not where it ends. It wasn’t until I donated money, volunteered my time, and opened my home up to a tiny litter of orphaned dachshund puppies that I realized how much more there is that we need to be doing than sharing a video on our Facebook page.


8.      Unconditional Love – Yep, the most important of all that they’ve taught me. I’ve told this story and I would tell it a thousand times again if only it would encourage one person to stop at the shelter. When I met my cat, Salmon, he was being carried into the vet clinic I worked at in the arms of a Good Samaritan who picked him up off of the side of the road. He was dying, that much was obvious. The stranger placed him into my arms like a baby and I rushed him to the back for immediate care. I never intended to keep a cat in my home but that moment that I took Salmon into my arms I felt with the most certainty I’ve ever had that we had to save him and that he was, without a single doubt, meant for me. He was mine just as if he had been placed on this earth for me and me alone. Is that crazy? It just might be but hey, that’s the kind of love a rescuer gets to feel.


10 comments:

  1. These are great lessons that you've learned! I also have a rescue and he is a great dog. It took a lot of time, effort and patience, but he is now as happy as can be and whatever his past was, he has seemed to move forward :)

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    1. I'm glad your guy has overcome his past! We don't often know what they've been through but we can sure guarantee their future!

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  2. I think the bond between a rescue dog and its new "parents" is really amazing. Thanks for this!

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    1. I completely agree. I think it's a truly special bond. I'm glad you enjoyed it.

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  3. It's amazing the things we learned we take the focus off of us and put it towards something else.Thanks for sharing...

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  4. Very much agreed, and hooray for rescue pets! <3 We can learn so much from them! :]

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  5. I love this post! I have learned so much about life from the animals that were dumped at my parents farm. I'm so glad I had the opportunity to be raised with animals that helped me more about compassion and love!

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    1. I'm glad you enjoyed it! I completely agree! I am obviously new to farm living but I have two rescued barn cats as well and even those little girls are FULL of lessons! I look forward to participating in your gratitude link up.

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