I had a moment of clarity and vision today. It was not good.
I am a scientist. I was at work reviewing a new batch of SDS’s (formerly MSDS’s). Safety Data Sheets-a source containing information about the safety, or lack there of, of various chemicals. One of the ways they determine this is by animal testing. There, at the back of the reports were the figures derived from the Draize tests on rabbit eyes to determine sensitivity. And results of other tests done on rats, mice, etc. Some of these chemicals are acids, folks!
I had to make my mind a blank to avoid having an emotional meltdown at work, thinking what this actually meant for these animals and what they must have suffered. It turns my stomach and causes me distress.
Yes, I am a scientist. I do not need evidence from experiments on some poor animals to know that acid in my eyes or on my skin is going to cause me harm.
This is a blog post that I first published in 2015, and am sharing again in the hopes that you will enjoy the dogs’ stories as much as I do! Some of them have since gone to the Rainbow Bridge, but all went to loving homes.
One of the things I sometimes hear about animal rescue work is “Why don’t you spend your time helping people?” This irritates me for a number of reasons.
Reason number one is because animals are God’s creatures. The God I know wants us to be kind to every living thing. Animals are God’s creation just as we are. Do you really think that God will think it is ok if we let animals suffer when we could have helped? I think not. I realize that not everyone is capable of dealing with the things I encounter in dog rescue. But I am capable and it is my passion so I should do the work.
Reason number two for me is, helping animals is not mutually exclusive to helping people. Doing one does not take away from the other. Helping humans, and animals, can coexist. Just because there are people who need help does not mean it is ok for harm to come to animals until all humans are safe.
And lastly, (for this post anyway!), if you think that I don’t help people while doing dog rescue work then you really don’t understand what I do. I have a few stories to illustrate this point.
Pictured above are Gracie and Zoey. Their owner had terminal cancer. He knew he was not long for this world but he stayed at home as long as he could for his girls, Gracie and Zoey. He didn’t want anything bad to happen to them. But eventually he became too ill. He had to drop his girls off at a local shelter on his way to hospice. He was an older gentleman and didn’t know about breed rescues. He was so sick by this time that he had to sit down and rest on his way into the shelter. I’m sure it broke his heart to leave them there. A couple of nice ladies that volunteer at the shelter saw that the girls were not doing very well in the shelter environment as most shelties don’t. They tend to shut down in this setting. The ladies took Gracie and Zoey home with them for a few day and then set about finding a rescue because, of course, there would be more who needed them. This is how these two shelties came into Northeast Ohio Shetland Sheepdog Rescue and specifically came to be fostered at my house. Their owner wanted them to be adopted together and that is what I agreed to do. I knew this poor man must being worrying about his dogs all the time and did not want this to weigh on his mind during his final days. I called the shelter and got the man’s phone number so that I could try to call and let him know that his girls were ok. That I would make sure that they got a good home. The man was not at home but I left a message on an answering machine with the hope that a relative or friend would stop by and hear the message to let him know his dogs were ok. I don’t know if that ever happened but I desperately hope so. By the way, after spending a few months at our house, Gracie and Zoey (now Selah) did get adopted together to a wonderful new home where they are dearly loved.
And here is Princess. She is a wonderful girl that I would have loved to keep. She played so beautifully with our own dogs. Her owners have a story too. They also loved Princess dearly. Her owners had to separate and live in different house holds even though they didn’t want to for reasons I won’t disclose. Neither was able to get housing that would enable them to keep her. Luckily they did learn about breed rescue and were able to drop her off at my house. They cried and I cried with them. I listened to their tale and sympathized and hopefully made them feel just a little bit better. They had fallen on hard times and saw this as their last option. I was blessed to have Princess in my life for the time we fostered her and to find owners that loved her.
And then there was Blitz. He also came from a loving home. The husband of the couple passed away and the wife had to move to be closer to her children. She did try to keep Blitz. She brought him to her new condo but the ice of winter was too severe. She was an older lady and while taking Blitz out for potty breaks, fell on the ice three times. Blitz is a good dog. The weather conditions were just too harsh for the owner to safely care for him. The lady loved him very much. He arrived at our house with a large bag of dog food, an entire garbage bag of toys, his bed, vet records and a card with his baby teeth taped to it. This boy had a good life. I went to pick him up and the lady cried. Her family was present to support her. I stayed for an hour and talked with them to ease yet another loss. I told them how we care for the dogs and take them in as a part of our family until their forever family comes along. I told the owner she could call me to check on his progress and she did. I told her how he plays with our dogs and has fun. I called to let her know when he got his permanent home and it eased her mind and the guilt she felt. Blitz on the Job, Even at his Foster Home
So, tell me again how I should be helping people and not animals. I hope at the end of the day that I have helped all living things that have crossed my path and left the world to be a slightly better place.
Lacey is continuing with her goal of spreading love and acceptance throughout the canine world. Former foster dog, Sky, is staying with us for a week. He is quite the canine presence. Does this bother Lacey? Not one bit! She just continues on with her quest.
She reaches out to make a connection with him. Sky doesn’t know what to think but Lacey is not daunted.
She even tries to rub her head on him in hopes of winning him over. He does tolerate her but seems confused by the whole thing. But Lacey is persistent. She comes and sits by him every evening. I imagine in time she will win him over. Yet another lesson to be learned from this little feline messenger with the heart of gold. Don’t give up.