Doing rescue can change you

When I adopted my first Golden Retriever back in 2001 I was like most people. I wanted a young, healthy dog and paid little heed as the rescue adoption counselor explained the benefits of adopting an older dog. I wanted what I wanted and that was it. And there is certainly nothing wrong with that as there are many healthy, young dogs that need homes. But I had no idea of the changes to come when I started volunteering at Homeward Bound.

I remember wondering during my first weeks there how we were going to get all these older dogs and special needs (!) dogs adopted. I soon found find out that they either all got adopted or found their homes at Homeward Bound. All of them. I discovered there are all these special people out there who were more than willing to take in an old or imperfect dog and provide a home just as wonderful as any dog could hope for. Turns out there was another way of looking at how to choose a companion animal that I hadn’t considered. I was humbled … once again.

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Burney

Burney was a special dog to me and I wanted to make sure that he home with the right people. So I asked potential adopters what they had done in their lives to deserve a dog like Burney. A surprising question, I’m sure. The awesome folks who did adopt him pointed to their own adopted children as their response. Good enough for me. But what I learned later is that they came to Homeward Bound wanting to find a dog that wasn’t perfect. That’s about the best answer they could have given to my question. Read Burney’s story to find out why he wasn’t perfect, and why he also was.

How we look at things makes all the difference. I now look forward to the day when all I do is care for older or sick dogs. It’s selfish of me, I know, but I want what I want. We recently received a precious gift at Homeward Bound that I want to share. I’m not the one to tell Emmie’s story because Ogee of Gardens for Goldens has already done that as beautifully as anyone could. But do please go read Emmie: A Gift from the Universe as that is my gift to you.

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Emmie

 

22 Comments

  1. I’ve done rescue transport for a lot of years. Thought I knew something about rescue. Nope. Took two dogs to teach me, both abuse cases, whom we took as emergency fosters and who never left. What did we do to deserve these dogs is a good question. We were blessed. One is still with us, the other passed. Doesn’t matter, we were still blessed. Thank you for a lovely article

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for taking in some hard cases. Not everyone is capable of doing that.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. That’s amazing!! I can’t wait to adopt a dog someday. Also, last winter i did my volunteer orientation at the local spca but did not end up going and volunteering 😦 my plan this year is to get more into that as im hoping to fufill an animal career soon- that will be a great stepping stone and get me into the field! This got me excited- thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Getting started is the hardest part. Once you do,you will be hooked.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you Rob! Both my beloved HB elders, Annie, now 14, and HG before her, taught me how much I could learn about wagging my tail with gratitude even when the odds seemed against me. Nobility, wisdom and presence in the moment and many more lessons they’ve taught me

    Liked by 1 person

    1. And so many dogs willing to reach us, right?

      Like

  4. Lori

    You are so right Rob, It does change you. It’s the most emotionally shattering, yet wholly rewarding thing I’ve ever been involved in; and I wouldn’t go back or stop for anything.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. And we are fortunate to have you.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. derrycats

    I’m at the time of life when adopting older or special needs animals seems just right. I’ve done the puppy and kitten things…that was lovely. But the older dogs (and cats) are so special too. Maybe we just have to mellow a bit before we see their beauty within and even without.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I heard a story today of an adoption at HB years ago. A family with two young daughters came in and looked at some beautiful dogs but they didn’t make a connection. Then they saw a dog that had come in from Taiwan. This dog had a mangled jaw (?) from an accident or something. I don’t know the details but the dog looked very … different. And the young girls said, no, we want that dog over there because she’s not perfect. And they adopted her and gave her a great life. How proud were their parents?

      Like

      1. derrycats

        Pretty proud, I’ll bet! We’ve had some folks adopt kittens we’ve trapped who have had some disabilities/deformations, and it really does your heart extra good to see them get loving homes. There is good in the world.

        Liked by 2 people

  6. Julie

    Can I get pictures of Emmie??

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Julie, thanks for asking but I do not provide copies of the photos. You can see more photos at the Gardens for Goldens blog here.

      Like

  7. When I get a little depressed over yet another dog abuse story, and wonder how could anybody (do whatever) …………., I also have to remember that there are so many people who will adopt and love that “not so perfect” animal. We have a friend who adopted 2 cats, each of which only had one eye. She jokingly concluded that together they had 20/20 vision! Then there is our Ray. He was a “challenging” dog! He was either abandoned, or he escaped from a situation he did not like, and he was very sick. What a joy around our house he has become. Then of course there are many similar stories told here in “blog land”. It is so rewarding to read about people who are not insistent on perfect pedigree, or cute puppy, or similarly narrow perspectives. There are so many dogs in shelters that are just waiting to love, and be loved, that we cannot stress too strongly what wonderful family additions they can become. Ray’s attitude would have turned off so many people, and his health situation would have been a deterrent to many …. but we have never looked back. I have made a lot of good, and a lot of bad, decisions over my many years. Adopting Ray was one of the best ones …. probably THE best one!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Colin, I am so glad Ray was able to find you. That was most certainly his luckiest day.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. … and mine! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Rescuing an animal is a beautiful thing, you have a good heart!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. My mother always said I had a black heart so it’s nice to get an alternate opinion.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Beautiful. People wonder how we can do it. After you have been involved a little while…we wonder: how can we not? You captured that perfectly.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you, Ogee-Wan.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Kathryn

    Nice post Rob, you captured the meaning of rescue for all of us.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad you liked it.

      Like

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