Why I Say No

March 31, 2015

In rescue, it’s one of the hardest things I have to do.  Saying no to a face in need.  It’s not fun.  We, as rescues, don’t enjoy telling people we can’t help them.  We do what we do, because we want to help them.  We do what we do, because it’s our passion and it’s the path we have chosen in life.  However, our resources are limited.  Our funds are small.  Our spaces are out numbered.  Every day, I get at least fifty, often more than eighty, pleas a day.  Fifty to eighty faces – who I know, when I say no to them, they will be abandoned, euthanized, or surrendered to a shelter.  Fifty to eighty dogs daily, that because I said no, may not live to see another day.  That’s not fun.  It’s nothing that I want to do.  I want to save them all.  I want to reply to every email, or call, and say “YES!  My bed can fit another one.  Please bring it tonight!”  But, the sad reality of rescue is I can’t.

When I lay in bed at night, next to my six (that I personally have space for), I cry.  I lay there replaying the photos and pleas of dogs who will never get another shot.  My mind races with flashbacks of puppies, adults and seniors who may have never and may never know love in their lifetime.  Who’s life might end, because I can’t fit just one more – or those fifty-eighty requests I received just that day.  I find myself zoning out while driving – wondering, how I can possibly help more.  Ruffles is completely foster based.  We don’t have kennels, we don’t have a shelter (yet!) and we’re not government or city funded.  I have my home, my bed, my paycheck and the love and support of volunteers and supporters who believe in what I believe in and work towards.  I have three to four foster homes, who, will selectively take on a dog, or two.  On average – the amount we save in a year, is the amount of pleas I get in a day.  It’s a losing battle.  It breaks your soul and spirits, daily.  I more often than not, cry myself to sleep – because of the faces that I see running through my head, that I can not help.  But, I have to keep in mind why I say no, and why we do what we do.

I say no, because of space, resources, financial means – and the number one reason I say no, is because the quality of care – verses the quantity of care.  The truth is, if all my help, supporters and means were to leave – I have to physically be able to walk/exercise, feed, financially support and care for the dogs – on my own, on a daily bases.  Before I can possibly welcome one more in – I have to be able to support and care for the ones I have.  When a foster stops fostering or a adopter returns a dog, I have to physically be able to take the dog back – and still give the quality of care we give.  Could I pack my living room full of crates, and build kennels in the yard – where these dogs will spend ninety-five percent of their time, and save twenty more lives?  Sure.  Sure we could.  But, what type of life is that?

StellaI have a very different outlook than others do on what rescue truly means.  Many think, just because the dogs are kenneled and fed once or twice a day – they have done their job.  The dog is alive and they ‘saved’ it.  To me, that’s unfair.  That’s not a life.  A dog needs physical and mental exercise daily.  They need socialization, boundaries, guidance.  Rotting away in a chain link cell, without the guidance – is not a life.  When I welcome a dog into the Ruffles Family, I have to account for two more daily walks (once in the morning, once at night), four (+/-) more cups of food daily, another treatment of flea medication each month, one more crate to learn crate manners, more bedding for said crate, a minimum of $300 for basic vetting . . my list can go on and on.  When people say, “it’s just one more . .”, they truly have no idea on what just one dog takes to properly house and care for.

Many associate rescues as municipal shelters.  They see rescues as entities that are owned and ran by government funds, that are designed and obligated to take any unwanted or found animal.  Incorrect.  Rescues, are private organizations that are often ran by volunteers (no employees) that are established to assist the shelters and pet owners, with a small portion of the pet over population problem.  Shelters are designed to be a temporary holding facility for unwanted, lost and abandoned animals.  Municipal shelters are not intended to be lifetime living arrangement for the animals they intake.  They are a temporary bed until animals can find their owners, an adopter or rescue.  Rescues, are organizations that welcome a animal and commit to the animal for the lifespan of the animal.  Whether it gets adopted, returned years later, or never adopted.  We are a lifetime safety net for that animal.  Many accuse us that we hand pick the animals we take in – and you are correct.  We have to find a balance.  We need to take into account the needs of the animals we are welcoming in, the needs of the animals we currently have and the needs of the home the animal is going into.  If we have one spot available and that spot has three other dogs, we can not welcome in a dog aggressive dog.  We have to place that dog on hold and welcome in a dog who can get along with the others in that living situation.  If we have a spot open up with small children, we can not welcome a dog who bit your child and place ours at risk.

I truly wished, it was as easy as, “just one more..”.  However, that is not rescue and that is not real life.  Saying no to a dog in need eats rescues alive.  We do not enjoy that aspect of rescue.  We do not enjoy not being able to help you or the 4-6 million animals who enter municipal shelters each year.  We truly wished we could say yes to everyone and save every animal from neglectful situations, every animal running at large, every animal sleeping on a cold shelter floor – but, we are just average humans, humans just like you – who help one dog at a time.

Rescues can always use more help.  Foster homes save lives.  Donations help supply the means for medical attention and items that the dogs rely on.  Sharing photos and stories on social media is a HUGE help.  Spaying and neutering your dogs, or assisting a family who can not afford it can potentially save thousands and thousands of lives being abandoned into shelters.  We can all do something, whether big or small, to help the animals who are in need!


If you would like to make donation to help us save more lives, please click the Ruffles donate button to the left to make a donation via PayPal.

 If you would like to make a donation by phone, Ruffles accepts all major credit cards.  Please just give us a call at (559) 799-4019.

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