Researching most city animal care and control facilities, you quickly learn they impound an extremely high number of animals a year. On any given day, there are hundreds of animals including dogs, cats, reptiles and more. If they happen to be an open-door shelter, they never turn an animal away which means on most days, they are overrun with animals.
Perhaps you will view their website and see a picture of a plain brick building with modest glass doors, animals frolicking in the grass, vets in the midst of surgery, smiling volunteers and people perusing the many cages looking for animals to adopt. For a second, it might fill you with hope and happiness. However, I have been through the glass doors and heard all the dogs barking and the cats meowing loudly. I see the pictures of the dogs that are pleading to be saved, I have walked in the ‘unadoptable’ rooms where the dogs are sitting in their own waste, shutting down and waiting to be euthanized. I have left heartbroken and in desperate need of a shower but I have never left empty handed. I always have at least two leashes in my hand and daydreams of all the dogs finding forever homes; homes with people that do not think of them as disposable.
Without fail, as we make our way down the long florescent lighted hallways toward the front doors, anyone walking by smiles at the dogs that were saved from the 'unadoptable' room. At least one person always cheerfully says good luck and you know they sincerely mean each of those words. They do not want to see those dogs back here sad, depressed and running out of time. The other day while I was putting two saved dogs in my car, there was a worker watching from her car while she was on break. She had a huge smile on her face and said, ‘you sure made those dogs very happy – just look at the smiles on their faces!’
There is something going on at one of those local animal care and control facilities that is not visible when you walk into the brick structure and through the glass doors. You may not even see it if you toured the entire building. You will see cement cages, metal bars and pathetically sad looking dogs that are unable to communicate their heartbreaking stories on why they are there. Amazingly what most people do not know is that many of these dogs can talk and they can even utilize social networking. You may see these dogs scared and alone in their cages but what you do not see is the many of amazing volunteers with huge hearts working around (and sadly against) the clock. They are taking pictures, posting pictures and sharing their stories to as many rescue groups as possible. They are the Rescue Team and they have placed many ‘unadoptable’ dogs with approved rescue groups throughout the Chicago area. If not for the Rescue Team, most of these dogs would go unnoticed, unsaved and not adopted.
Many of the dogs are in a backroom where the public does not have access to adopt directly. These dogs have been declared unadoptable despite their sometimes young ages because they have broken bones, skin conditions, kennel cough and other easily treatable conditions. They rely on rescue groups to come forward, pull them and treat them at the rescue’s finanical expense. These rescue groups post, share, forward and plead for people to foster, and hopefully adopt, these pups. Most of this rescue takes place in the comfort of their own home because of the Rescue Team and their diligent work to make sure each of these dogs have a voice.
I have been in rescue for many years. Some days are exhausting, depressing and frustrating. The dogs on borrowed time that we are able to save make most days exhilarating, happy and very calming for the soul. The wordless thank you from a rescued dog is worth the tears shed for those we were not able to save and walking toward the glass doors with a dog that was going to be euthanized is an experience I cannot portray with words.
As many of you know from my many FB posts, emails, patch.com posts and daily conversation, I am on the board with Secondhand Snoots Rescue. While I have been with them since early 2012, I have spent many years rescuing dogs. My kids have been very involved with the dogs I have rescued and they have grown up with the cause close to their hearts. We have wanted to plan a fundraiser for a rescue since early last year that would involve children and other pups in the community! I am thrilled to say that it has finally transpired thanks to the generous support of many of my family, friends and business contacts.
Please join us this Sunday 9/30 as we proudly walk with our dogs in Northbrook and have some great fun afterwards! Don't need to have a dog to join us in the walk or fun! Come out and support Secondhand Snoots Rescue, our dogs and anti-bullying kids! 9/30 the walk kicks off at 9am. Festivities at 10am. Westmoor School - 2500 Cherry Lane, Northbrook. $5/adult/kid/dog all donations benefit the animals we save at Secondhand Snoots. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
Please come celebrate the lives we have saved and support us in our crusade to save many more in the future! Help us be the voice for the dogs left behind!