Saturday, June 22, 2013

Introduction to Rescuers101

Sad, lost, abandoned, and confused - That is how many animals arrive at a shelter. All in various states of health, various ages, various breeds, and all from different backgrounds/situations. However, one thing remains the same...they need someone to step up and help them, to love them, and to show them that life is good. That is where we come in. We are the voices for the voiceless, we stand up for them when others cant or won’t and we help them on their path to recovery, whatever that may be. We are the animal advocates, foster parents, the trust, the feeders, and the light. We are Rescuers 101.  

Quite a few of us work with the Oahu SPCA - here is a quick introduction for them: “Every healthy, treatable animal will find a forever home" has been a success thanks to the support of wonderful people like you, who are an instrumental part in establishing the first Oahu SPCA and the largest animal shelter in Hawaii based on a “no-kill” philosophy. The Oahu Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals was founded in 2009 when, within three months, they were thrown into a large scale sheltering operation, in the largest rescue in Hawaii's history. Each day they rescue animals suffering from abuse, neglect and abandonment throughout the island, primarily on Oahu, and re-home more than twenty animals each week. The non-profit organization survives on the generosity of animal lovers such as yourself. You can help to make a difference for hundreds of our animal friends with your donation and/or support towards the Oahu SPCA. Your gift will help them to Rescue, Rehabilitate, and Re-home these beautiful animals. Find the Oahu SPCA on Facebook or visit them on the web to help work toward reducing euthanasia of Oahu's homeless, abandoned, abused and neglected animals.

We know that at some point in their lives everyone has rescued a kitten from the road side, find a dog running loose or even taken a foster animal into your home. It isn't always easy, there are questions, worries and concerns. Please feel free to ask us, with our diverse group - we have probably seen or done it. So please feel free to email us ( questions, problems, situations, sad stories, happy stories, and anything pertaining to animals. We will help, answer, showcase and share it!

You’ll see stories of our favorite animals, some of which that have suffered, but have still shown unconditional love. You’ll see some of the issues we face every day and measures that can be taken to limit or prevent the issues. And, of course, causes we are passionate about. These are our personal stories and experiences from countless years in animal rescue. Our small group all come from unique rescuers, we all have different backgrounds and different jobs. In this blog we will be following the stories of Dex, Nilly, Blanca, Jack & Jill, Hera, Bebe, "The Piggies" and many more. 

Let us introduce just a few of the people who will be writing for us.

Sass' kids - Beau and Maddy
Sass' kids L-R : Indiana, Charlie and Beau
Sass - "My name is Sass Smith. I have always had a way with animals - I have always just put it down to a friendship and respect. It wasn't until August 2011 that I was really thrown into the rescue world - and I will be forever indebted to this amazingly giving person who always put them first. It wasn't a quick submersion into the rescue world but after a point it is all consuming. If you are in the business, you know what I'm talking about. You just can't help it. You become driven - driven to rescue them all. However, I digress - I grew up in Brisbane, Australia. A place where the rescue scene isn't as big, but animals are a big part of your life. I grew up with dogs, rats, horses, birds and fish. I got MY first dog at age four and lost her nineteen years later. I guess you could say that is where my devotion comes from. Jae (my dog) was my world, she was extremely loyal, loving and the best friend a growing girl could ever want. I went to college and focused on Criminology, Behavioral Science, Law and Journalism. Although a fascinating career path, it wasn't for me. Recently, I have made it my world to understand the canine companions. I am studying to become a dog obedience trainer, I am also in school to become a Vet Tech. Understand a dog is my love. I am an avid reader of all things furry and for the last year have been the adoption coordinator at the Oahu SPCA. Whilst there I have worked with all sorts of dogs and cats - my latest "project" has been a three year old feral shepherd who has resided at the Oahu SPCA since November who has zero trust for humans or her canine brothers and sisters. Every day I sit with her and have recently started walking her - the leash being a new concept for her makes every day a challenge to get that little bit further down the street. I will write more about Nilly in upcoming weeks. I also have four dogs of my own - three of whom have come through the rescue system and came to me in not the best emotional state. I have worked with Beau (five year old abuse rescue) since November 2011 and he has recently graduated as my service dog. He spent three years being physically abused. Charlie and Maddy were victims of abuse and neglect. I cannot imagine my life without them. I look forward to learning more about the rescue world and hope that I can use my experiences to help others. My reasoning behind wanting to start this rescue resource is my experiences in every day life. After working ten hours a day at a shelter that has zero government funding, my experiences have been amazing good and tear jerkingly bad. Some days you see the best and others you really see the worst and wonder how you can keep going on. I want to share this - I want to show people what really goes on. I want to showcase the challenges, the negativity, the cruelty, the hatred, the love, the devotion and the exceptional people you get to meet. I get to do amazing things everyday - I want to tell the world". 

Duchess - Montana's Oahu SPCA Foster Fail

Montana - My name is Montana and I've loved animals, more specifically dogs, before I could even walk. It started with my grandparents dog, a big black Akita named Kilo. I would sit out side and make him mud pies all day long and use him as my pillow. He was my very best friend, even though he weighed three times as much as me and I could probably have ridden him as a horse. My love carried over, and at the age of 12, I began volunteering with a couple of rescues in Las Vegas, Nevada. Every weekend, my mother would make the hour long drive down to the petco where I would help set up the event, walk the dogs, and tear down when done. Then the hour long journey back home. It was my first experience in working with shelter dogs, and my first experience in fostering (it always started with "Mom, pleeeeeeeeeeeeeease?" and big sad eyes). We only had two puppy fosters, and only for a week, but I knew I was in love and as soon as I was old enough, big enough, on my own, I knew I would return. Unfortunately, my volunteering came to an end, but that didn't curb my love for animals. Even though I was unable to volunteer, I spent a lot of time with our personal dogs, most of which were Pit Bulls. I grew up around Pit Bulls and they have stolen my heart. Unfortunately, due to breed specific legislation on military bases, my Pit Bulls now reside at home with my Mother. After high school, I moved to Oregon for college, where I doted on our family dogs, including the awesome fat roll of an English Bulldog named Baylor. Baylor became my constant companion, following me around the house, attempting to go on walks (when you're that fat, its hard) and generally being a nuisance. After a couple of years in college I got engaged to Andrew and moved Oahu, which is where I am now. We've been on island since August and I got my very first dog of my own in September. Kaila is my special girl. She is an eighteen month old German Shepherd/Hound mix. Smart as a whip, careful and kind, but a little bit broken. When we got her, she wouldn't move. She would hide on our back patio for hours and cower in fear. She hated men, especially men in uniform, and would growl and hide from Andrew whenever he was around. She wouldn't eat, or play, or move. The only time her tail would come out from between her legs was walks. She had severe separation anxiety and had to be medicated for quite some time. In October, Andrew went away for training for a month and in that time Kaila bloomed. Without a man around, she came out of her shell. Her tail wagged (just a little, but it was something), she started eating, and her training progress grew exponentially; she became my little shadow. Utterly devoted to me and by my side all of the time. Andrew returned home, and she reverted a little, but with a couple of weeks and patience on his part, she grew to accept him. Upon his return I begged to foster dogs. I knew we could only have two, and I wasn't ready for a second permanent one, so we started out fostering.  
Montana's Pack L-R: Roscoe, Dodger, Duchess, Kaila

Since November of 2012, we have had 10+ foster dogs (and a couple cats) through our home. We had our first foster fail a couple of months ago when Andrew fell in love with a Shar Pei mix puppy. She was feral, caught in a humane trap with her brothers and sisters, and only a couple of weeks old, refused to eat or drink. She was needy and screamed whenever alone, so we carried her around in a baby sling. Now at six months, she is still needy and screams when left alone, but she's a good girl and has made lots of progress. Having these two has been an adventure, and even more so with the constant trickle of fosters through our home, but I wouldn't change it for the world! I want to share my experiences because it has made me who I am. I often get asked, isn't it hard to let them go? The answer is no, as long as it the right family it is not. I know I've done the best I can do for them and I helped them on their way to finding their very own forever home. I know I can't adopt them all, I know I can't save them all, but I can try. And one of the easiest ways to do so, is to raise awareness and inspire others to help out, be it volunteering at a shelter, fostering dogs, donating, anything really. Every little bit helps. I hope through my stories and experiences, others will be inspired to get involved and to help those who need it the most, the voiceless furbabies, who, for one reason or another, have ended up at a shelter.

Lisa's Beautiful Furry Friend
Lisa - "My name is Lisa DeRego. I was born into a family of animal lovers and grew up surrounded by dogs, cats, horses and the occasional bunny. My parents instilled a kindness and compassion for all living things in my brother, sister and me at a very early age. I have lived in Hawaii for almost 25 years. While there are many things I love about island life, one my my greatest disappointments in our state are the lax laws regarding animal protection. It reflects so poorly on the loving, caring image our state projects to the world. While I have always supported rescue organizations with donations of money, supplies and the like I did not actively begin fostering until my beloved "chipmunks" needed a place to go. Those puppies are the best advertisement for animal rescue and fostering. The tiny little bundles of sickly puppy that we picked up from the OSPCA that October day are worlds away from my rambunctious, insane, maniacal PERFECT 10 month old puppies. We can't remember life before them. We've fostered a few kitties along the way and now have the honor and pleasure of watching Dex realize love. He's old, missing teeth and about to become a tripod but he knows unequivocally that he is loved, adored and treasured. Many people tell me "I could not foster". To those people, I say, take 5 minutes and go to the shelter website. LOOK, really look, at those sad, hopeful little faces and tell THEM why you can't do it. I'm very fortunate in many ways. I love what I do. I own a dog walking and pet sitting business called Simply Pets Hawaii. I am blessed to spend my days and nights walking dogs, pet sitting and transporting pets to vet and groom appointments. It's our belief that pets do better in their own environment, so we provide in home pet care as an alternative to boarding". 

Rhea - Rhea is a graduate of Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from University of the Philippines. She has been in small animal practices for seven years - specifically treating dogs and cats. She has worked at Dr. Nonie Coutts Veterinary Surgery in Bahrain and has recently started volunteering for the Oahu SPCA using her skills and knowledge to help them care for the multitude of animals that come through the doors - making sure they are healthy and up to date with vaccines and microchips.  Rhea is an amazingly strong person whose dedication to animals is nothing short of amazing. She has dedicated her life to ensuring that all animals have the care they need and deserve. Rhea is invaluable asset to the Oahu SPCA and to us at Rescuers101. Rhea told us that "Treating sick animals is one of my passions. I was told that the night I was born, cats were roaming around our house. Sure enough, I grew up taking care of stray cats". She is the proud Mama of a siamese cat and Shih Tzu back home. If you have a question for Rhea - feel free to email us. 

Disclaimer - Please be advised that none of us are veterinarians, our advise is given from experience in the field. If you have serious concerns or questions about your pet's health, please consult a vet hospital. 

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