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Animal rescue groups – celebrating good work

Animal “rescue world” lost?

There are so many people out there doing good things for dogs. I want to make sure to celebrate that.

However, there is a lot of negative energy in the “rescue world,” a lot of arguing.

Certain people think only they know who deserves a dog, how a dog should be obtained and how it should be raised. I can’t be a part of that closed-mindedness.

I believe dogs are better beings than us in a lot of ways. They are open and accepting. They don’t project their feelings and emotions on others. They don’t ask for pity. They don’t need to rescue something in order to feel good about themselves. It is beyond them to make unethical choices.

What I see lately in the rescue world is too much judgement, and I don’t wish to be a part of that. Thousands of healthy dogs and cats are killed every day in U.S. shelters, even when plenty of homes are available. Others are warehoused in cages for months.

I will never tell someone she doesn’t deserve a dog.

Rescuing is a lot like religion and politics and media – a few people telling everyone else what to do. Everyone fighting for recognition.

I walked away from a career in journalism in ’08. I can’t stand the thought of a few people deciding what the “news” should be, what we should fear today, which politicians we should follow.

One woman tried to insult me last week after reading one of my posts. She was apparently appalled that I dared to criticize rescue groups and said I should stay away from journalism and stick to running. I found it interesting she considers my blog journalism and myself a journalist.

I am a writer, but I am not a journalist. This blog is an extension of myself, fully loaded with opinions and biases. Those who don’t like it shouldn’t read it. Very few blogs represent straight news. Mine doesn’t.

Another woman said she never agrees with any of my posts (her wording was less polite). I have to wonder, then, why does she keep reading? What does she gain from it?

I had to smile when yet another woman got on her high horse and told me I continually fail to mention the good things accomplished by her rescue group in Fargo.

How nice it must be for her to think this entire blog is about one tiny rescue group in a small North Dakota city. How nice it must feel to believe all my words are somehow directed to her and the work her group does or doesn’t do.

I am lucky to have 100,000 brand new people view my blog each month in addition to the regular visitors. Hardly any are from North Dakota, and they have no idea where I live, work or volunteer. They don’t care. A worldwide audience doesn’t particularly need to know about a small rescue group in Fargo, N.D.

A friend of mine said she felt awful for days after people criticized her for adopting an outdoor working dog. I don’t want my pages to be a source for that type of closed-mindedness. Adopting a working dog is something to celebrate, a reason to be very proud. I know most would agree.

I will continue to look for interesting and useful information and spread the word about people, rescues and shelters doing good things for dogs and cats. I know my readers will do the same.

Thank you for visiting and for feeding my creative spark. I am so lucky.

Thank you for doing all you do for dogs – and for the humans who love them.

What have you done to help others this week?

Lindsay Stordahl

Wednesday 17th of October 2012

Thanks for reading and commenting! Hope to hear from you again! :)

Cindi Ashbeck

Wednesday 17th of October 2012

I do believe I may have found a new place to hang out. Good for you telling it like it is. Not something that is easy, that's for sure.

This is my first visit to your blog and this second post I have read. I like your style. Keep it up! You're not alone ; )

Lindsay Stordahl

Sunday 7th of October 2012

Thanks, Marcia! One of my pets is from a shelter. I adopted the other two through individuals who were trying to find them homes. I would definitely obtain a dog through a breeder or rescue organization if it were the right pet for me. I don't think it matters where they come from.


Sunday 7th of October 2012

Lindsay....I love your helpful and thoughtful blog. You seem to be an "every" owner, just like the rest of us "every" owners. I think for the most part, owners try to do the best they can and know how to do. I have 4 dogs, 3 from the same breeder, and 1 rescue. They are all the same breed and all are loved and treated the same. Luckily I have many friends that have rescued and bought dogs, all in the same household, so don't run into too many that think I'm a horrible person for buying a dog.


Friday 5th of October 2012

For a blog titled 'animal rescue groups - celebrating good work' this seems to be mainly about you and mainly negative.

You, too, are apparently close-minded about how a dog should be obtained. Many of your recent posts have been dedicated to criticizing rescue groups for the way that they screen applicants, since it is not the way that you believe it should be done.

'Rescuing is a lot like religion and politics and media – a few people telling everyone else what to do.' I recognize that this blog is your opinion, but after reading your many posts about loosening up adoption requirements, it sure feels like you are telling rescues what to do.

I asked on Facebook when you were going to start your own rescue so that you could go ahead and give a dog to anyone, but I got no response. Starting and running a rescue is an awful lot of work, and the rescue takes on the responsibility for that dog's life, so although I don't agree with every rescue's policies, I won't criticize them - they are doing the work, they need to do what they feel is best for the dog. If I don't like it, I am certainly free to start my own rescue and do it the way I want - as you are as well.

Many people that foster and volunteer for rescues only do so because they are comfortable with the policies of the rescue. If a rescue makes the decision to loosen their policies by doing away with home visits and perhaps reference checks, you can bet they will lose volunteers and most certainly foster homes. As you know, it is difficult to give up a foster dog, and if foster homes don't feel comfortable that some effort has been made to ensure the adopter is a responsible pet owner, they will no longer foster. Maybe waiving these requirements would mean dogs could be adopted out faster, but where are the dogs going to live while they wait if there are no fosters? Although some dogs will move in and out at a faster pace, there are lots of dogs that are not going to get adopted quickly no matter what the process is. Rescues need fosters to take these dogs as well as the dogs that move in and out faster. I believe that changing the policies of foster based rescues would result in a decrease in the number of dogs that could be accepted (because of lack of fosters) and adopted out. I personally fostered for a group that did minimal screening on adopters, and after giving one foster dog up to someone I felt like I knew nothing about, I quit. I know several other fosters that have done the same.

You know, of course, that although I am not the 'high horse woman,' I AM a part of that rescue group in Fargo. Although you have readers from all over the place, since you are based in Fargo, I suspect that your largest group of readers are from the Fargo area. You mention our rescue often, for both good and bad reasons. You take screen shots of our Facebook page and both commend and criticize it. You talk about our dogs on a pretty regular basis. I disagree when you say that your readers don't know where you volunteer, give them some credit for picking up on that. So when you write about dog rescues and policies, as a reader from Fargo or somewhere I else, I would probably make the assumption that you are discussing your experience with the rescue that you volunteer for - and that the policies you discuss are their policies. I personally find it difficult not to scream, 'That's not us!' every time you write so negatively about some policies or something you dislike in rescue because I don't want people to make that assumption. You're right, most people from around the world don't care about this tiny rescue in this tiny town - but I do! And so do the other volunteers, because we do a lot of work for the rescue. I don't want even one reader to believe things about us that aren't true because of your blog.

Many, many of your blog topics are based on your experiences with our rescue - taking a dog to training class, fostering a timid dog, fostering an older dog, etc... I have wondered in the past if you volunteer just to have something to write about, and if that's the case, that's your decision. I appreciate volunteering regardless of the motivation behind it.

What I can not appreciate is you telling people it's ok to just go ahead and lie on their adoption applications. You may not agree with rescues' policies, but I certainly think you should respect the decision of the rescues. You can continue to blog about how rescues need to change, maybe your readers will continue to find it interesting after the 30th post addressing the same topic, I don't know. It's your right to blog about whatever you want, obviously, including lying on an adoption application. However, I hope that you didn't expect that there would be no negativity coming at you for that.

Lindsay Stordahl

Friday 5th of October 2012

We are all closed minded in some way, and hopefully we are all working to become more open. Everyone who visits this blog is working to help animals in the way he or she believes is right. We are all doing good work, and we can all make improvements.

No, I don't have any intention of starting my own rescue group right now.