Why we rescue

Published 9:18 pm Thursday, December 10, 2015

By Leonard Rizzo

While watching an ASPCA commercial on TV, I just suddenly began to weep. Though I’ve seen the ad often I guess at this time of year and with all the animals I’m currently dealing with, it struck me full face.

I am not submitting a photo this week, I want each of my readers to picture one of the faces from that poignant commercial as you read “Why we rescue.”

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For animal lovers like me, animal rescue is the most incredible, rewarding job, in the history of ever.

At the same time, it’s the most heartbreaking. The truth is…

You see a lot of things you never thought you’d see.

You witness a level of cruelty you didn’t think was possible.

You feel a degree of helplessness you never thought you’d know.

You stare at painful images soon burned into your memory that will haunt your thoughts forever.

You try to pick up the pieces – so many pieces – of the damage you didn’t do.

You do everything in your power but even still, you’ll never reach them all.

You’ll try to stay strong but you’ll mostly feel weak.

You’ll build walls to protect your heart but they’ll never keep you safe.

You’ll place barriers around your soul but the pain will always reach you.

And no matter how hard you try to fight it, over time, here’s the truth about what happens in animal rescue.

The neglect changes you.

The abuse hardens you.

The suffering breaks you.

The ignorance angers you.

The indifference disturbs you.

The injustice destroys you.

On a daily basis your faith will be tested.

Your heart will be wounded.

Your soul will be altered.

On a weekly basis you’ll question yourself.

You’ll question your strength.

You’ll question the world.

On a monthly basis you’ll fall down.

You’ll get up.

You’ll go on.

On a yearly basis you’ll look back.

You’ll see faces.

You couldn’t save them.

You’ll learn to mourn.

To grieve.

To sob.

You’ll learn to trust a little less.

To do a little more.

To fight a little harder.

You’ll learn to try.

To hope.

To pray.

You’ll learn to fail.

To succeed.

To accept.

You’ll learn when to hold on.

When to give up.

When to let go.

You’ll learn who you are.

What you stand for.

Why that matters.

Then at times you’ll forget why you matter.

You’ll question what you’re doing.

You’ll wonder if it is worth it.

But here’s the good news…

When you forget

When you question

When you wonder

All you have to do

Is take a look around

And you’ll see their faces.

You’ll see their smiles.

You’ll feel their love.

In their eyes, you’ll see their journeys.

You’ll remember their beginnings.

You’ll know how far they’ve come.

You’ll remember when they didn’t know you.

When they didn’t trust you.

When they’d given up.

You’ll remember how you healed them.

How you loved them.

How they loved you, too.

And as you look back

You’ll want to move forward.

For them, and because of them.

In your darkest hours, you’ll look around

To find the differences made, the hope given, and the lives saved.

Because you existed.

In those moments when you look into their eyes every doubt will be erased.

Every question will be answered.

Every worry will subside.

Because in that instant in each of your hearts

You both share the very same thought.

“Every bit of pain was worth it for this moment here with you.”

And honestly no matter what else happens

Those moments hold all the strength you need

To keep going.

Rescue is pain.

Rescue is joy.

Rescue is worth it because they are worth it.

And that’s the honest truth.

Thanks for listening.