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To save a life

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Animal rescue seems to be a buzz word among wannabe do-gooders these days. "I'm a rescuer too. I found a dog the other day and brought him to the pound." NOT! Rescuers know that most shelters will kill an animal within 3-7 days of intake. That's where rescue comes in.

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Every day, hundreds, maybe even thousands of emails and Facebook posts are sent pleading for someone to step up and save "Spot" from euthanasia. Not all carry dramatic, sad stories. Most are just mixed dogs, picked up as strays or surrendered by their owners. How does a rescue choose who to save? Should they take the pathetic, sickly dog that has no chance of being adopted? Do they take the cute little fluffy one that will have a home in no time? Each option has its pro's and con's. If the cute fluffy one gets picked, he will probably be adopted quickly and allow more to be rescued. Taking the sickly dog, who will otherwise be put to sleep, will undoubtedly require additional vetting (and expense) from the norm and most likely tie up a foster home while the dog recooperates hindering future rescues. Ultimately, one will die.

How can we change this sad scenario for animals who've done nothing to deserve death other than being homeless. Imagine if we did this in our homeless shelters for people. "I'm sorry Mrs. Jones, we will have to put you and your children to sleep today because we are out of room and more homeless people are coming in." This would never be acceptable. Social workers get involved, help people find homes, jobs and other basic necessities of life. Rescuers serve the same role in an animals life. To continue to save them, they need somewhere to put them until they've been adopted. They need more foster homes.

Fostering is a simple, rewarding way to actually say, "I'm a rescuer too!" Most reputable rescues will provide you with everything you need: food, crates, medical care, training, leashes, collars and toys. All you need to provide is love. Often times it's said, "I can't, it would be too hard to give them up." Is it easier to watch them die? In the Western suburbs of Chicago, there are numerous animal rescues. Many will be spotlighted in this column in the coming days. Open your heart and your home and foster a deserving animal. That's all it takes to save a life.

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