I wanted to take a moment to praise a rare creature indeed. You might be one of them yourself, but you’d never know because you don’t think about it.
- You are the person who fosters a litter of malnourished puppies, who wakes up every two hours to administer fluids and check vitals. You do it even though you know there is a chance they might not make it and that you’ll end up digging a tiny grave in your backyard for them. You know this because it has happened before.
- You are the person who spends hours outside in the bitter cold waiting for a terrified dog to get desperate enough to approach you. When you realize the dog is still terrified, you throw dog treats filled with sedatives in the hope that they’ll relax enough that you can get hold of them. You wait a few hours for those to take some effect, then wrangle them into your car.
- You are the senior citizen who continues year after year to set traps for the feral cats in your barn so you can have them spayed. You are on a fixed income and you aren’t as healthy as you used to be, but you never consider stopping.
- You are the animal welfare officer who goes into unimaginably horrible situations to rescue wretched animals and document what has happened to them. You watch as sometimes, despite your unflinching efforts, the perpetrators get away with it. You keep at it.
- You are the person who finds an emaciated stray, takes them in, pays for their vetting, and finds them a new home. You do this again and again. The people in your small rural town think you are crazy because you do this. They know your weakness, and they don’t hesitate to push your buttons if they want you to do something — find homes for the puppies your dog had, take a dog your grown child abandoned. They’ll tell you they will take the newborn puppies to the pound — a death sentence — if you don’t take them today. You know what they are doing, but you don’t let on.
- You are the person who ends up with a dog who is so profoundly traumatized that they are truly unadoptable, so you keep them and dedicate yourself to making sure that they feel safe for the rest of their lives. It means changing the way you live, but you do it gladly.
You are a unicorn. Most people don’t know you exist, because you don’t grandstand, but I’ve seen you work your magic. Thanks for being there.