Putting Rescue into Perspective

Michelangelo / Van Gogh / Escher

Michelangelo / Van Gogh / Escher

There have been many great artists throughout history. Michelangelo, Van Gogh, Escher and many more, who have looked at their world and reflected it back to us via their own perspective. All are renowned as great artists. None is a lesser artist than the other, just different.

Photo A. Arguably, not art.

Photo A. Arguably, not art.

I once had an argument with my aunt about photography as an art. She insisted that taking a picture of something can never be art, but I argued that it depends on the photographer’s perspective.

While you might argue that photo A. (at right) is not art, photos B., by Richard and C. by Stephen (below) arguably are.


Photos B and C. Arguably art.

So, what does this have to do with dogs?

Last month I wanted to raise money for a rescue that had a huge vet bill ahead of them for a dog they had rescued. My plan was to ask for donations and if I received donations equaling a specified amount, I would shave my head. But the rescue declined. They said that the fundraiser would put the focus on me, instead of the dog that had been rescued.

Say what?

I had not even considered that perspective. From my point of view, however you raise money for a cause is still doing just that; raising money for THE CAUSE. It all spends the same. Don’t people shave their heads all the time to raise money for cancer charities? Does that take the focus off of cancer?

Anyway, I had to respect the rescue. They do great work and it’s their call.

But that experience is just a microscopic point in a much bigger picture.

There is an insane amount of trash talking in animal rescue. There are people who band together to do what they can to destroy the reputation of a rescue group. Sometimes it’s because the rescuer is too pretty. (really!) Sometimes it’s because the rescuer does things differently than other rescuers. Sometimes it’s because the rescuer is in the spotlight because he or she is trying to accomplish great things.

I don’t understand this vitriol. I’ve actually heard someone complain ridiculously that a certain rescuer shouldn’t ask for donations. When I asked how that rescuer should fund her rescue, the reply was that she should get a job. Really? Where do people get off making judgements like that? First of all, the rescuer being criticized does have a job — and she funnels most of what she makes into her rescue. But I’d like to see a rescuer who funds their organization completely out of their own pocket. Just who was this critic using as a model? And ultimately, why the hell was it any of her business, anyway?

The trash campaigns that are the worst, though, are the ones aimed at rescuers that do things differently. Should every rescue group be a cookie cutter replica of each other? History shows that people who think out of the box do great things. But there is this contingent that doesn’t want anyone to do great things in rescue. The contingent that says “you’re too different,” “you want too much,” “that’s not the way it’s done.”

Says who?

Everybody has goals. Everybody has dreams. Everybody has their own way of doing things, and everybody has mileage that varies.

Who cares how a rescue group goes about fundraising? If one group uses the media and another uses an auction, does that make one rescue lesser than the other?

If one rescue’s priority is to build a facility, and another rescue’s priority is to buy Kuranda beds for the dogs in their rescue, does it make one rescue right and the other rescue wrong?

Moreover, as long as there are no laws being broken, as long as the animals in the rescues are receiving the care they need, whose freaking business is it, anyway?

You conformity police in the “you can’t do that” contingent, quit trying to fit everybody else into your narrow view of what you think rescue should be. And the rest of you…the ones who are focused on your goals and your dreams?  Rock on.  You’re pretty enough. You’re smart enough. Your perspective is just as important as anybody else’s…(you know who you are) and dammit, the rest of us like you.


About yelodoggie

Ariel C. Wulff is an author, artist and animal advocate. They have been involved in pet rescue for over twenty-five years. They have written two books about their true-life adventures living with an ever-changing house full of pets: Born Without a Tail, and Circling the Waggins, and a guide to animal advocacy using the Internet as a tool: How to Change the World in 30 Seconds". Wulff also wrote a pet column and book review column for the Examiner, and was a contributing editor for AnimalsVote.org. They attribute their love of animals to having been raised by Wulffs.
This entry was posted in Animal Advocacy, Random Woofs, The Woof on Rescue Groups and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Putting Rescue into Perspective

  1. Ashley Owen says:

    I adore you, and thank you for being so real and honest, always 🙂


  2. Well said, Ariel!


  3. Rescue is defined as saving an animal in need….however we can, whenever we can, with whatever means we have. To redefine rescue is an unnecessary obstacle, taking precious time and energy away from the cause. The saved dog has no judgement other than gratitude and life.


  4. samanthalaine310 says:

    G r e a t p o s t


  5. Mary Lou Seymour says:

    As long as the rescued animals are being properly cared for, I never have ‘problems’ with how a rescue operates. Unfortunately, some ‘rescues’ are hoarders and the dogs arent cared for well. Some ‘rescues’ are fronts for puppy mills and dog flipping. Those I DO have problems with.


  6. rumpydog says:

    Animal rescuers can be some of the most wonderful people on earth. And some animal rescuers can be some of the most cruel people on earth. I wish there was a way to regulate rescues, so we could know which are legit and which are not without having to listen to all the trash talk.


  7. Hate Campaign Survivor says:

    Nice job on this. It’s a great assessment of the issues. In our experience, our most horrible detractors are in fact guilty of some pretty awful things. One ring leader who has in fact said that we should all have jobs has not worked in years, as far as anyone can tell. She also calls us criminals (none of us have any criminal record) but hers is a mile long. Another calls us criminals but actually spent a year in jail for terrorizing her neighbor. My advice to all is if you are under attack, know that the chances of the attacker being a lying scumbag who does not rescue are very high.


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