24 hours, provided that we don’t sleep. If we sleep, we are left with about 16 hours. 16 hours, provided that we don’t have a job. If we have a job, we are left with 8 hours. 8 hours, provided that we don’t have a personal life. If we have a personal life (a husband, kids, a boyfriend, a hobby, our own pets to take care of), we are left with as many hours as we decide to dedicate to rescue.
So, here are most of the things a dog rescuer is supposed to do, in those 24 hours, that are basically not 24, but 3 or 4.
Being a rescuer means having to pay visits to the vet every other day (if you are lucky). A visit to the vet can take from 1 to 4 hours, depending on how far away is the clinic, how long it takes to drive the animal from its foster home to the clinic, traffic, and waiting. Sometimes we have to wait up to 2 or 3 hours, before our rescue is examined, unless it’s something urgent.
Updates on the Facebook page
Charities are like living organisms. Stuff keeps happening every single day. Posting about what happens keeps our followers informed, the page’s numbers high and the donations and adoption requests running. Sometimes the cases are too many and the time so limited, that we have no time to even post a photo of a new rescue, or reply to a message to someone who is kindly offering a donation.
Depending on how involved you are, phone calls can range from a couple to a few dozens per day. When you run around all day, driving animals to the vet, cleaning up kennels, and going to home checks, remembering to be polite to the lady who calls asking for a purebred puppy as a present for her niece’s birthday is not an easy task.
Filming & photographing
Most rescuers tend to become professional photographers – personally, I became a video editor, as you might know. Posting about a new emaciated rescue will reach a couple of people. Posting a photo about it, will reach more. Posting about it with a great photo, from the right angle, in the right light, will reach more. Smarphones have made it easier, but at the same time a lot harder too. Photographing while rescuing, bathing, grooming, injecting, walking or holding the dog down on the vet’s table can range from difficult to extremely impossible.
After interviewing the family by phone, provided that you decide they are suitable, a couple of meetings with the dog are necessary. A meeting is just a sentence, but the actual thing can take up to 3 hours, depending on where the dog is, and the quality of it’s encounter with the potential parent.
A future family never picks up the dog and leaves. We take the dog to them, check the home, let the dog get used to the new place, sniff around, walk around the neighborhood, sign a contract, and then talk and talk and talk. An adoption, if done property, can take a whole afternoon. It is very rewarding but very time consuming.
I am sorry to spoil your idea of how awesome rescuing is, but believe me, even if none of the above does not apply, shit does and it always will. Cleaning is part of what we do, and no, we don’t just vacuum every other day. Cleaning kennels involves cleaning shit. Actual shit. Shit is part of conversations, pranks and, basically, part of our lives.
Adoption events and dog shows might be awesome for a visitor, but for a rescuer it means having to spend 8 to 12 hours on your feet. And we don’t just pop up there. The events might be an hour drive from home, and if we take our rescues there, we need to drive from home to where the dogs are, form where the dogs are to where the event is, and after the event is over, we need to drive back to where the dogs are and then back home.
Vet visits, adoption meetings, events, and the actual rescue itself involves driving. A lot of driving. Today for example, I drove for 4 and half hours, and this is not an exaggeration.
You might have never considered it, bit when you are a rescuer you need to carry a lot of weight every day. And when I say a lot, I mean a lot. You carry big bags of dog food (the biggest there are actually, because the small ones cost), cat sand (which is ridiculously heavy), water (some shelters don’t even have running water nearby, which means you need to carry water for 20-100 dogs every day). There are rescuers who suffer from chronic back problems and EVEN incontinence, because of all the weight they carry every day.
* Actual rescues
I almost forgot. The actual rescue means literally rescuing. Like, picking a dog from the street, putting it in the car and driving it to the vet or to the shelter… And keep in mind, that the actual rescue might come the night you are dressed up and ready to attend your best friend’s wedding. So there you are, in high heels and dressed in white silk, full make up on and the man of your dreams accompanying you for a big night out, and suddenly the ass hole driving in front of you runs over a dog. You spend the night at the clinic, your dress is ruined from all the blood, and as if this was not enough, you also need to photograph the poor animal suffering on the vet’s table, because if you don’t you can’t post about it. If you can’t post about it, it will be like nothing ever happened. And trust me, there are too many things going on in our lives that “never happened” but that actually did.
Today I had to numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, 7, 9 and 10 and this was basically an apology post, for yelling to my cousin when she called asking what to do with a dog someone abandoned just today right outside her house.