Humbled by Heroes: Another Animal Rescue Adventure

Aug 27, 2011 | 2011 Articles, Contributors, Helping Hands, Joyce Brandon, Pets

by Joyce Brandon

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

I was honored this past weekend to speak at our Women’s Ministry breakfast. I prepared faithfully. My PowerPoint was loaded with great photos, my narration was polished, and the technology was all checked the night before. All systems were go.

After a fabulous breakfast, I heard my name introduced and I was feeling confident, in fact, excited to share about my animal rescue world. I spent a few minutes turning on projectors, computers, and getting the various remote wands ready to roll. I was on! Imagine my surprise that when I got about two sentences out of my mouth I broke down crying. Wow, I didn’t expect that. I was in the process of thanking my daughters and my husband as my unsung heroes when I just couldn’t go any further. The tears poured, the words failed me, and only by the grace of God, and the prayers of the women in that room, was I able to proceed. There was a lot of healing in those tears. I was incredibly humbled.

I have been running so fast for so long that I have failed to adequately recognize the animal heroes in my own home. My husband and daughters have been asked to sacrifice a lot. They have been asked to share their home and rooms with a constant flow of dogs and cats. They have been asked to share their wife/mom (me) with a cause that takes me away from home nearly every weekend and often multiple days during the week. They have to deal with animal hair, animal noise, and let’s just say other animal byproducts that are inevitable.

My family has been doing this for years, largely without complaint, and for that I am so thankful. We have all learned, in the process, more about compassion and empathy then we could have ever learned anywhere else. We have learned to share of our time and resources and we have learned to raise our voices for those who cannot speak for themselves. We have saved hundreds of lives and for that there can be no regret. Please indulge me a few minutes of your time while I thank my heroes.

Joyce's husband Jim

My husband Jim is amazing. He is a constant source of support and strength. When I am out running the countryside trying to save the world, he is home cleaning and feeding and caring. It would be so difficult to do this without him. Jim provides me with the solid foundation I need so badly and nice broad shoulders to cry on. He is my partner and I am so thankful God chose him for me. He has such a tender heart for the homeless. Imagine my surprise one day when I came home and he had rescued a stray kitten from work. The kitten was all set up with litter box, food, water, and a warm bed. That’s my guy!
Taylor would be happy as a clam if our home only included her dogs, Missy and her three pound Scooby Doo, but she pitches in and helps constantly. She has tons of love to give and is always ready to hold and comfort those little sick ones. She has a tender heart and I know God has big plans for her. I remember vividly three or four years ago I was sitting up all night with a parvo puppy. The puppy needed water and meds every couple of hours. Taylor, barely a teen then, came to my room in the wee hours of the morning and sat with that puppy so that I could sleep. She hopes to have a career in medicine, who knows, maybe that night started it all.
Taylor won’t like this picture but I adore it. She sat up most of the night nursing this little parvo pup. The pup survived and so did we.

Taylor with rescue pup

Ashley loves the dogs but even if she won’t say it, she has a soft spot for the kitties. She almost always has a foster kitty or two sharing her room. Ashley’s creative side has resulted in some great photos, videos, and slide shows. She is always pitching in and is my number one helper. I hope Ashley follows her dream to be a filmmaker one day. Who knows, perhaps an animal rescue documentary is in her future. I would love for you to take a look at her “Olivia” video, Olivia was going to die in the shelter because of an aggressive temperament. After a few days of de-stressing at our home, she became one of Ashley’s favorites. Ashley has such a tender heart and feels things so deeply, this has been a difficult calling for her but she has managed beautifully.

Ashley with one of her rescue cats

My family has learned about life and death, loving and letting go: we have been so enriched by this experience. We have also been stretched and tested. My prayer is that one day when my girls look back on these years they will consider them well spent and valuable towards the shaping and forming of the strong women of character I see them blossoming into.
Animal rescue take a village. It takes support at home, support within the rescue community, support within the professional community, and a passion that just won’t let you quit when everything around you says this just isn’t worth the sacrifice. I work with some amazing women within our Animal Compassion Team organization. Several of us quit every other day for a moment or two; but, our love for the animals and our sense of justice just won’t let us stay down long.
Thank you Katie, Cassie, Brenda, Whitney, and Tracy, my ACT team, for standing strong.
It is somehow healing to stop and reflect on those heroes around you and it is really important you take the time to thank them. Time can’t be reclaimed, how about thanking those heroes in your life today. Post them here if you like, we would love to hear about them.
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. Joyce you and your family are absolute Trojans! You are the reason why people who love animals don’t feel alone in their caring and concern.

    Sending hugs to all of you from Australia,


  2. Thank you for your kind words. How wonderful the internet is to be able to hear from Australia. I know your country has many caring people working to make life better for the animals there.

  3. Hello! I am helping a terribly underfunded horse rescue/shelter, Begin Again Farms, in Ellerslie, Ga, raise money. Would you help us out by sharing our link with your readers?
    The horses and I thank you! 🙂

    BTW- Contact me to put together a free online fundraiser for your favorite shelter!!


Leave a Reply

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