Tuesday, April 12, 2016
I've been working in rescue and animal welfare for about 2 years now. Two years of happy and sad tears, frustration, pure joy and fuzzy warm feelings, and a little thrill of danger every now and then. I'm so glad to have finally found my calling but it wasn't easy.
I was always one of those kids that had a million different ideas in my head on what I wanted to be when I grew up. I was always bringing home animals when I was a child, I was obsessed with them. I went to zoo summer camps and most people figured I would become a veterinarian. However I never had any interest in that idea. It just wasn't appealing. So I flitted through my teens and early twenties just kind of floating by while everyone else went to college and had a plan. Everyone else knew what they were meant to do... Except me. Now I'm not complaining, I had some great times that I'll forever cherish. It just took longer for that lightbulb to finally go off.
A cute guy after a bad breakup was the one who finally switched on the light. A friend had passed away and we had met at a memorial party. We should have always known each other, the tight circle that our friends had... But we didn't. A couple of my friends introduced us, "He likes dogs." They said. And he did. He lived out of state and was passionately involved with a pit bull rescue. We loosely dated for a few months and in that time period, not only did I fall hard, but he inspired me so much when it came to his rescue work. I had always heard the myths surrounding pit bulls although I can't say I took it as seriously as some people did. He had three of them, all rescues, and were some of the sweetest dogs I had ever met despite coming from awful circumstances like fighting rings. He had rescued dogs in the field, had cut them free from chains... I learned a lot from him. I learned about the stigma, and the truth that was buried beneath it. That time spent with him and seeing what he did, it sparked something in me that I hadn't felt in a long time, if ever.
While we didn't work out romantically (but are still friends) he gave me something better than a relationship. He planted the seeds of inspiration to finally do what I was meant to do. I started looking into rescues to volunteer with which led to me photographing dogs for adoption. That led to me helping with events and pulling dogs that were being surrendered (or in a few instances rescuing in the field). I wanted more, I wanted to do more. Itching to learn from the best of the best was what inspired me to apply for the internship at Best Friends. That internship led to employment at Best Friends and my time spent there is what ultimately helped me land the job I have now. And my guy friend gave me advice and supported me along the way. I feel like I can look to him as an Animal Welfare colleague these days and still hope to be able to do half the things he has accomplished.
I fight hard for bully breeds these days even though I aim to rescue all dogs. They hold a dear place in my heart. They are wonderful, loyal, happy, energetic dogs. I have yet to meet one I didn't like. Yes they have their issues but that goes for any breed. A dog selective bully is no different to Murderface, my Husky/Border Collie mix who's also dog selective.
You never know how or when you'll find the path to your future. It might be in the sparkle of a cute guy's eyes, an unexpected loss, or the slobbery kisses of a cropped ear dog. But it will find you, eventually.