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Born To Rescue

Born To Rescue

Some folks are born to shop, others are born with a will and desire to fight injustices and protect those without a voice.   Kathryn Hostettler is one of those people.   Check out her inspiring story;

I think I was born with an innate desire to protect helpless creatures, evidenced by the menagerie of animals I would bring home over the years. One of my first rescues was in second grade. Some friends down the street got a puppy for Christmas. She was a tiny black poodle and they called her Black Magic. Typically, evil breeders will dock poodle tails but for some reason, hers wasn’t. It curled back onto itself like an apostrophe. On a chilly day during winter break, I went down to visit her and much to my horror, she was laying in the middle of the road. The kids brought her outside with them and the warmest place was on the asphalt road that had been soaking up the rays of the afternoon sun. One good thing about growing up in no-man’s-land was that there wasn’t a whole lot of traffic on the road. Still, I decided this was not an adequate home for this or any puppy.

I scooped her up in my arms and promised her I would find a way to keep her safe. I convened an emergency meeting with my friend and her five year old brother and negotiated the terms of the puppy’s adoption. I wrapped her in my scarf and began the quarter mile trek home. During my journey, I rehearsed my best argument for keeping her, pausing only to wonder aloud what her new name would be once she was ours.

I walked into the kitchen and put her on the floor. I told my mother we simply had to save her. While my mother’s initial response was an unequivocal “No!”, before long, she was on her hands and knees, and the puppy was charming her with kisses. I am unaware of the terms of the adult negotiation but the end result was the addition of Lady Gabrielle Nicole, or Nikki, to our clan.

Nikki was the first in a long line of rescues for my family and me which included more stray cats than I can count, an abandoned litter of puppies, the schoolroom guinea pig, and even a horse. The last of my rescues to date was Ray, a seven month old pure bred blond Labrador that had been severely neglected. While I initially intended to foster him and look for a forever home, it took all of two minutes for me to become completely attached. And the innate rescuer in me wouldn’t have had it any other way.

Because of the neglect, including lack of proper nutrition, exercise, and socialization, and possibly some physical abuse as well, it took nearly a year for him to bond with me, but bond he did. I had Ray for thirteen years. We were together through some of the most difficult and horrible, and lovely and exciting times of my life. We lived on both coasts and made the cross country trek twice. He was an irreplaceable constant in my life. He protected me, kept me company, and entertained me endlessly.

Ray passed away peacefully on November 6, 2008, just after 7:30 PM. I cradled him in my arms as he took his last breath and I thanked him for every moment I had spent with him, how he enriched my life and those around me. I told him that while technically I had saved him, in the end, he had saved me.

To honor Ray, I became a volunteer at Rogers’  Rescues. I was introduced to the organization by Marianne, a board member, volunteer, and foster mom, who understands the sorrow of losing a pet. She suggested I get involved with dogs in need to help ease the pain of my loss.   And how right she was!

Rogers’ Rescues is a colorful bunch! We are a group of dedicated dog rescue volunteers spread from New Jersey to Southeastern Pennsylvania who commit their free time to helping place homeless dogs into loving adoptive homes. The majority of our foster dogs originally come from shelters in the South that are in desperate need of help due to low rates of spaying and neutering as well as lack of homes for the vast number of dogs in need. {EDITORS NOTE: Most shelters in the South still euthanize dogs in shelters at an alarming rate – most with the archaic “heart stick” or “gas chamber” method.   Before you consider buying a dog, remember that a rescued pup would love you just as much.. and you will actually be saving a life!}

Check out this documentary from one of our shelter trips;

While we visit the shelters in the South a few times per year, once each month, we set off in two cargo vans filled with empty crates and head to a centrally located meeting spot in Maryland. We greet, walk, and water the dogs and then load them in the vans, stopping along the way to drop them at foster homes, breed-specific rescues, and private adopters. Some dogs travel from West Virginia all the way to Massachusetts in one day as part of a cooperative network of rescues and individual volunteers, organized and monitored by a dedicated and knowledgeable member of Rogers’ Rescues. Since 2002, Rogers’ has saved more than 1,200 dogs and counting!

See Also

Check out our happy endings video for 2009;

The rewards of being a part of this wonderfully dedicated organization have far surpassed anything I could have imagined. If you are looking for a way to make a difference in a dog’s life, meet new and inspiring people, or perhaps heal some pain of your own, I suggest getting involved in rescue. You won’t regret it. And the dogs will thank you!

For more information on Rogers’   Rescues, please visit our web site, or go to PetfinderTM and search for an organization in your area, or check out GirlieGirlArmy’s weekly list of adoptable pets in urgent need of rescue.

Kathryn Hostettler is a full time social work graduate student, part time pet nanny, volunteer with Rogers Rescues, and vegan home cook. She won an honorable mention in the November2009 Vegetarian Times for her Vegan Pumpkin Pie with Candied Cranberries recipe.