This year Rescue Rovers Strut Your Mutt theme is “How Rescue Changes Lives”
The beginning of my rescue story is a long one with lots of tears. I told it last year for SYM. Here’s a condensed version.
6 years ago I had a dog with anxiety. He was young, and big, and a little scary looking. And he bit someone. He was taken away from me, despite all my tears, all my refusals, all my fighting and my prayers. I couldn’t do anything to keep him. But I was able to save his life and rehome him, with the help of a community of dog rescuers.
My life now is a direct result of that experience. I can’t wish it had been different, because it led me here. It also gave me a unique perspective and a lot of empathy for people who give up dogs.
About a year after we started fostering I joined the apps team. I told the Adoption Coordinator that I had 2-3 hours a week to volunteer.
Matt laughed at me when I told him how much time I was going to put in. He knew before I did that this would become my whole life.
5 years we’ve fostered 175 dogs and it’s both the easiest and the hardest thing I’ve ever done.
It’s rewarding to foster. And it’s heartbreaking.
It’s exhilarating, and it’s soul crushing. It fills my days with purpose…and some days it makes me want to run away. Fast and far.
Some nights I lay awake, worrying about all the dogs we won’t be able to save. Some nights I rest easy, knowing that today, at least, I made a difference.
My “2-3 hours” became a full time job, and today I spend a good 50 hours a week on rescue. And I love it.
My life has changed so much because of this rescue thing. I look at the world a different way. I’ve grown as a person and I’ve made friends I never would have without rescue. It fills me up in a way that nothing else ever has. It’s said that people who volunteer are happier overall. I know that’s true for me.
We have 2 rescue dogs. Zipper is my big boy. We drove all the way to Glenwood Springs to adopt him from Colorado Animal Rescue. I wasn’t sure I could love another dog after the trauma we’d been through. I had so much anxiety over loving him that I drove the 7 hours home and made Matt hold the puppy. It’s a funny story now, because our bond is so strong.
Zipper and I went through all the training together and were even therapy certified. He’s the most amazing dog I’ve ever owned, and he loves me completely.
Penny is my little girl. She was supposed to be a foster, but never went anywhere. Pen was another dog I didn’t want, but Matt did. And maybe he knew I needed a fluffy, trash-panda teddy bear to be my forever baby. Or maybe it just worked out that way. Penny is as badass as she is cute, and her toughness is inspiring. She doesn’t let her size stop her from running with her brother, even when she probably should. And she lets me cuddle and squeeze her, even when she’s clearly not in the mood.
I don’t know if we’ll ever have dogs we love as much as Zip and Penny, but I know we’ll always have rescue dogs, because they complete our lives and they make our house a home, just as much as our children do.
The fact that we foster dogs who will do that for another family means so much to me. I love that we change these dogs lives. And I love that we change people’s lives, too.
If you’d like to support me (and Rescue Rovers) please donate today. No amount is too small, and every dime goes to the dogs. I appreciate your support!
Rescue Rovers is a 501c3 and your donation is tax deductible.