Caring Is The Key: Another Animal Rescue Adventure

Jul 30, 2011 | 2011 Articles, Helping Hands, Joyce Brandon, Pets

by Joyce Brandon

Joyce is a part of Animal Compassion Team, an animal rescue in Squaw Valley.

“I hear you are the angel in town that rescues stray dogs.”


“I picked up these two great puppies on the side of the road.”


“They are super sweet maybe pitbull mix.”


“But they are really friendly.”

Of course they are.

“The female has hair loss.”

Oh no! vet bills.

“I can’t keep them and if you don’t help I’m going to have to take them to the shelter.”

They are as good as dead.

Welcome to a glimpse of my world. Welcome to the world of anyone who is involved in animal rescue. We have to cope with a constant roller coaster ride of emotions. One minute you can conquer the world and with just a tick of the clock or the ring of a phone you come crashing back to earth with a resounding thud. This morning the phone conversation, condensed above, changed the momentum of my day.

Tammy, an ACT rescue dog

Why is it that the lives of those puppies now become my obsession? Just a few hours ago I didn’t know they existed. I didn’t allow my dogs to have puppies producing these two. I didn’t abandon them in the hills. I didn’t neglect nutrition or healthcare resulting in a skin condition. Why are these puppies now consuming my thoughts? Why does my heart hurt that these pups will likely die in our local shelter? Why am I trying to find a solution to someone else’s problem? Life would be so simple if I could detach, but I can’t, I care what happens to those two.

Care is a verb. Action is required of you when you care for something or someone. Care means to pay attention to, take care of, look to, look after, see to, to keep an eye on, watch – you get the idea. I heard a speaker at a conference say that love is not enough. You must care. Most of us love animals and that’s easy. You get all warm and fuzzy feeling when you see that adorable kitten or chubby puppy but does love provoke you to action? Does love equal care?

Care means to pay attention to. I believe that the number one enemy of the animals in our valley today is complacency. Most people realize there are animal issues but they choose not to dwell on the problem. The fact that 70 to 80 percent of the shelter dogs in this valley are killed does not impact their life – so out of sight out of mind.

Yes, it is sad that I have to take the puppies to the shelter, and yes I know they will likely die there; but, it is inconvenient for me to care for them until they find a home.

Care means to look after, such as our foster families do. There are no-kill rescues all over the valley begging for foster homes so that they can save lives. Fostering is one of the most important tools rescues have. Most animal rescuers are operating out of their homes and do not have the luxury of owning property and kennels to house animals. Foster families are lifesavers, pure and simple. Foster families provide shelter, socialization, training, and love. They are the key to success for any good rescue organization.

I couldn’t possibly keep the puppies. I’m just here on vacation and am leaving for home tomorrow.

Care means to see to; to look after. Maybe you are not in a position for hands on volunteer work but there are many other ways to help a rescue group. It takes all types of gifts and talents to make an organization work. It also takes money. Has the Lord blessed you financially so that you can give monthly donations? Do you love computer work? How about marketing, fundraising, and grant writing? We need activists to pursue changes within the cities and counties. Your talents are needed and are critical in this lifesaving work.

I am disabled so there is no way for me to help the puppies.

Caring is the key. When the day comes that everyone cares enough to get involved, we will see life change for our four legged friends. If you’ve always wanted to get involved in rescue work but haven’t known where to start, or if you are inspired by this article and want to help, just ask me how. I guarantee there is a rescue group in your community that will welcome you with open arms. If there isn’t a group in your community, start one. When you meet the Creator of all, will you be able to say I cared?

Tammy was pulled from a local shelter. She is all smiles on the ride to her new foster home. Tammy was sentenced to die the next day. It took someone to care to save her life.

Tammy gave birth four days after leaving the shelter. Without the care of an animal rescuer, all five lives would have been lost.

Tammy & her pups

Learn more about ACT in their article here at KRL & watch for a new adoptable pet from ACT on our home page every week.

Joyce Brandon is co-founder of Animal Compassion Team, has lived in Squaw Valley for 21 years and has always had lots of four legged friends sharing her mountain home along with her husband Jim, and five children. Joyce works part time for Mountain Valley Community Church and splits the rest of her time between family and animal rescue work. Joyce believes animal rescue is a mission field God has called her to and has given her a passion for.


  1. Great article as always Joyce ! U so hit it my son can’t physically help with fostering but is always offering his van to use for whatever we need. He has lent it to us for many feral cat expeditions if everyone just did a little in whatever area it would help so much..thanks for spreading.g the word I love your articles !

    • Donna, thank you so much for the encouragement. Animal rescue is tough. No other way to put it. You are faced with life and death decisions daily and it takes a toll. You are a blessing to the rescue community and a source of inspiration. Thank you and Don for all you do to help the animals.


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.