By Jeff Coltenback
Originally written: March 27, 2012
I was sitting at my laptop getting ready to check some email and catch up on messages. Before I knew it, 20 minutes went by as I got lost in thought about how much work there is still to do. I was thinking about all the poor, hopeless dogs out there that will never know what it’s like to cuddle in a warm bed with people that love them. I thought about all the horrible people out there that treat their animals like garbage and just toss them out when they are done with them. My thoughts were so overwhelmingly painful. I couldn’t snap out of it. Wiping away the tears from my cheek, I tried to get myself together because I had work to do. I thought about so many dogs that came across my way (email, facebook, etc) that I couldn’t save. I try really hard to stay positive and focus on the ones I have saved or helped save. But, I always go back to the ones I couldn’t save. Most rescuers know the feeling I am describing. It’s painful. But, it is also motivational. It drives me every day. Every morning I go and take care of the foster dogs at about 7am. It sucks sometimes. Sometimes I’d really like to just sleep in. Yea, they can probably hold it for another hour or so. But, their comfort is important to me while they are in my care. I try to provide them with good food, great treats, lots of exercise and even more love. The smiles I get from them are reward enough and also keep me motivated.
Then, I started thinking about all of the rescuers out there like me. We all experience the things I am describing. We all sacrifice in the hope of making a difference. We all save as many as we can. I am so grateful for all the hard work; the sacrifice; the limited resources; the blood, sweat and tears that people in animal rescue shed for the animals in their care and for the animals we just can’t save. If you’re reading this, I thank YOU for everything you do! I appreciate it and understand the depths you all go through for the sake of trying to save just one dog. Many of you save tons more than me. God bless you for all that you do. This isn’t a thank you article. But, I couldn’t write it without thanking all the animal rescuers out there.
As my thoughts continued, I tried figuring out how we can save more dogs. But, no one ever has any room. I know I rarely have extra room. I know many of you reading this are filled up past your capacity. There are just too many dogs. This is where my thinking shifted drastically from thinking of all the great folks out there rescuing animals to all the folks out there who could foster and aren’t. How can we get more people to get involved? What can we do to motivate others to foster and rescue dogs; even “one dog at a time”? I thought and thought and nothing. Then, it occurred to me! Just ask! When I need something I ask for it. Some pretty famous dude once said; “Ask and ye shall receive”. So, it is that I write this article. I am asking anyone who can…..please save a dog; even if it is “one dog at a time”! Maybe you do have time to spare. Maybe you can manage a few extra bucks a month to foster a dog. Maybe, just maybe, you will be blessed with the experience of saving a dog from death and finding it a forever home. There is no better look in this world than the look you get from the dog you place in a forever home. Yes, I think they miss you a little at first. I know I sure miss them. But, when you see them snuggling on their new sofa or playing in their new yard….gosh….it’s so rewarding. So, I challenge anyone out there to find it in your heart to go and save a dog. Just try it out and see if you can do it. Just see if it’s something for you. If it’s not, that’s ok. You just won’t foster any more. But, give it a try, at least! If it’s only one dog you save, that’s one more that doesn’t die unnecessarily. If 1000 people who aren’t currently fostering just save one dog, think about the impact you all would have! Just “one dog at a time”. If it’s your first and last foster then GREAT!! It’s still helps us on our mission to save just “one dog at a time”. I hate to sound all corny and hoorah. But, together, we can all make a huge difference, even for just one dog! So, this is my challenge to you. Better yet, I AM BEGGING YOU. Try and foster a dog. I just have one warning; if it is for you and you experience the rewards I am describing, you’re going to get sucked in!! LOL. Thanks for reading this. Please spread the word along to anyone who will listen. God Bless you all!
- Jeff Coltenback