The following post comes from Melissa at PetConnect Rescue.
According to the Humane Society of the United States, 6-8 million animals end up in shelters. Of these, 4-5 million are euthanized every year. That is an extremely high number of lives lost, just for lack of resources. Enter the rescue group. Largely non-profit, rescue groups come to the aid of these unwanted animals, pulling them to the safety of a loving home environment. Volunteers open their homes to these unfortunate pets, offering a second-, third-, or maybe even fourth-chance at a happy life.
While most animal shelters do their best to help abandoned and unwanted animals, their capacity to do so is unfortunately limited. Volunteer rescue groups around the country help alleviate the dire need for additional care-giving. Reputable rescue groups are registered with the government and are recognized as 501(c)(3) charitable organizations. There are some individuals out there who call themselves rescues, but in many cases the animals they are responsible for receive tragically little care. While these do exist, the vast majority of rescues are manned by volunteers who are truly committed to welfare and well-being of animals, providing medical care, training, food and shelter in a loving environment.
During their time with a rescue group, these pets flourish with the individual attention and stability that shelters often cannot provide. The stress of living in a shelter cage can affect an animal’s behavior, often discouraging a possible adopter from considering them. Loud noises, bright lights, metal cages, and unfamiliar people and animals can make an already scared animal even more distressed. In the safety of a foster home, dogs and cats are able to relax and learn to trust, sometimes for the first time in their lives. Foster parents are also able to provide potential adopters with details about each animal that could only be learned by living with them.
Why not consider becoming a rescue volunteer? Requirements include: the desire to save an abandoned animal’s life, a safe home environment in which food and shelter can be provided, the ability to share the joy of living with a pet who was previously unwanted or unloved, and a short time commitment which can range from a few days to a few months. Many foster families report that it can be difficult to let an animal go to their “forever home” with an approved adopter, all fosters feel good about helping to save the lives of innocent pets. I know from my own experience volunteering with PetConnect Rescue, which is based just outside Washington, D.C., that it is an extremely rewarding experience that has changed my life — and those of the animals that I’ve helped save.