Chances are, if you are reading this, you are an animal lover. Being an animal lover, you are likely saddened by the plight of the thousands of homeless animals dying in shelters every day and celebrating when you see that a rescue has saved them. But do you really know what is involved in keeping a rescue going so that more animals can be saved?
Even healthy pets require vaccinations and to be spayed or neutered before they are made available for adoption. The costs for this run between $200 and $300 in most areas. If the pets are not healthy, which is more often the case, the costs are even higher. Pets also require preventatives such as heartworm and flea protection. Most rescues have vet bills in the thousands every month. Every single month. Most rescues are small organizations run by one or two individuals. Can you imagine having vet bills that high every month and praying for enough donations to cover them? There are also boarding charges when fosters back out, which happens more often than you think. Vet clinics and boarding facilities charge by the day, and new fosters are usually not found quickly.
Food is another big concern for rescues. A bag of dog food may not seem expensive to you, but some rescues go through multiple bags a day. And many dogs have different food needs to consider, resulting in even more food costs for canned or prescription diet foods. Rescues do sometimes receive food donations, but there is never enough supply to meet the demand. Dogs also need toys, treats, leashes and collars so that they can alleviate the boredom of being in a kennel, or to be walked in a foster home. The vast majority of these costs come out of a rescuers own pocket.
Money is not the only concern of a rescue owner. There is always more work to be done then there are hours in the day. Most rescues have very few, if any, volunteers. If multiple dogs are kept at a rescuers home, which is often the case, then the rescuer must ensure that each animal is cleaned up after, fed, and given sufficient attention and exercise. Most rescuers have no life to speak of outside of rescue, since all of their time is spent caring for the animals they have saved. When they are not caring for the animals, they are attempting to raise much needed funding, networking their animals and searching for volunteers and foster homes.
It is almost the time of resolutions, of deciding what you will do with a brand new year. I want to issue a challenge to each of you. Make a resolution to help a rescue, in some way. Dedicate yourself to networking their animals in need of forever homes. Donate when you can. Foster a dog or two in your home while they wait for their forever home. Or volunteer to help care for the dogs for a few hours so that the rescuer has time to do other important work. Every little bit makes a difference, so make a difference today!