My whole life, my family has been a fan of rescuing homeless pets from shelters and the streets instead of buying a certain breed. My parents raised me to realize that regardless of breed or pedigree, a pet can be your most loyal of companions, and much like people, it is not what is on the outside that makes them unique. I take that feeling with me today into my adult life. The most rewarding relationships and the deepest connections I have had with animals have been with rescued pets that were once strays.
If you have ever stepped foot in an animal shelter, especially a kill shelter, you know how hard it is to walk away from the animals there who are begging and pleading for your attention, for some love and comfort, for a home. At least for me, it is hard not to walk away with every one of them. Especially the older ones. For a few years when I was in high school, I worked in a humane society. I loved it there, and it was full of amazing, caring employees and volunteers. Unfortunately, it was a kill shelter, as so many are. I learned that some of the older and less adoptable pets were the first to go, and that was when my belief in rescuing was cemented. I wanted to adopt those pets that I knew no one else would want: cats that aren't kittens, dogs that aren't puppies, black animals, geriatric or somehow "defective" animals, and the less outgoing ones.
If I were asked, "what do you want in a companion animal?", none of what I would list (loyalty, affection, pure intentions and a true connection) is about appearance. Think about the physical traits you were born with or have acquired over the years: would you want your dog or cat to reject you because you have a little extra weight around the middle, or because of a birthmark, or because you can grow a mustache? I know that is an extreme example. And I am super glad that animals do not judge base on those things because with as close to me as they get, mine would take one look at my mustache and... splitsville! :)
All three of our pets are rescues. Technically, they kind of found us, but I cannot tell you how happy I am to know that because of us, their lives are better. All three were unwanted at some point, and I cannot imagine how that must have felt for them.
One of the blogs that I follow, How to Ruin a Toddler's Day, recently posted about having to put her cat to sleep after having him for 15 years. It was heartbreaking, and just reading it again today, I cried. I know the heartbreak of having to let a pet go all too well. She writes a letter to her cat, the cat who was not the cat she originally wanted, but who taught her more than she could have ever imagined. Grab a box of tissues and see her post here.
The next time you are thinking about adding fur to your family, consider adopting. I guarantee you won't regret it.
We ended up with these goofballs:
No Darwins were harmed in the making of the last picture. He, for some reason, really loves chewing on my knitting needles!!! Love the little goon.
Do you rescue? I would love to hear about it and see any posts you have about your rescued/adopted pets. Comment or post a link!