by Joyce Brandon
Joyce is a part of Animal Compassion Team, an animal rescue in Squaw Valley.
One plus three equals eight only in animal rescue. How is it that no matter how hard I try the animals in my house multiply? A perfect example of this involves my new foster Jazzy and her litter of puppies.
Jazzy’s picture turned up on the Kerman Animal Shelter Facebook page. How could I avoid offering safety to the scruffy little mama dog and her three puppies looking so sad and hopeless in that posted photo? I was already halfway to Kerman so what the heck!
I drove to Kerman and picked up Jazzy and her three beautiful pups. They settled in very nicely and life was good. A second mama dog with a litter of puppies was taken from the same house. I saw the picture and decided that someone else could be blessed by saving the new little family. The scruffy mama and adorable puppies would surely find their way to safety.
Jazzy and the kids were feeling great, comfortable in their new puppy condo, and life was on cruise control. I was adjusting to the new routine as well; but, then the text message comes in: “The second mama dog ran away.” No worries I say, she won’t go far and leave her puppies behind. Well, that would have been true except, come to find out they weren’t her puppies at all. Her puppies had died and the well meaning owner decided it would be a good idea to take four of Jazzy’s puppies and give them to the other mom. Of course it was a Friday, so the puppies would go the weekend without supervised care; I felt that I had no choice but to take them in. Why me Lord!
What could I do but reunite Jazzy with her other four babies? She was a real trooper and allowed those four puppies to the dinner table. The four pups were only half the size of the three that had been allowed to stay with her and I can only assume the four orphans were just barely getting by. I was told the substitute mama wasn’t very kind to the pups. Who can blame her? Nobody asked her if she wanted to adopt.
My good intentions always get me into trouble. I had planned on four and ended up with eight. Any good rescuer knows the feeling. You go into a shelter intending to leave with one or two and before you know it your car is full of homeless pets. Why is that?
Animal rescuers have been given a heart for the animals that goes beyond the limits of normal compassion. We are driven to make a difference and to save lives. Self sacrifice is the norm and challenged relationships go with the territory. We are not hoarders; we are not crazy; we have seen an injustice and feel compelled to do something about it.
I have finally realized that it just isn’t enough for a handful of us to care so deeply. I cannot “save them all” as I have been so often told. I get that. I am painfully aware that for every dog I save, thousands are dying. I am growing weary and would love to walk away but I don’t know how to turn my back on the problem.
If everyone cared enough to be committed to their pets for life, to spay and neuter to prevent unwanted litters, to vaccinate and prevent the spread of disease, to adopt and never buy from a breeder, I believe the killing could stop. I just don’t know how to make everyone care. Do you have some fresh ideas? I would honestly love to talk to you about them. Feel free to email me at email@example.com
Jazzy and all seven of her puppies will be available for adoption in about four weeks. They can be seen on our website. The second scruffy mama was recaptured and I believe is still in the Kerman shelter waiting for someone to save her. How about you?
Update on our Reedley project: Since March 15, 76 dogs and cats have been pulled to safety by rescue groups. Several of our Reedley dogs will be making their way to Canada! Please become a Facebook friend to Reedley Homeless Pets and help us reunite, adopt, and rescue the homeless pets of Reedley.