Saturday, November 7, 2015

The Courage to Rescue

RASTA, the nearby sanctuary where 13 pigs died suddenly in four short days this September, received the final report this week from the labs investigating the deaths. Neither the BC Animal Health Centre nor the specialized diagnostic centre at Michigan State University were able to identify the cause - necropsies, and thorough testing of blood and tissue samples, revealed no viruses, no bacteria, no poisons or toxins of any sort.  And so the deaths remain a mystery.  As I sat at my desk the day the report arrived, a quote above my computer became even more meaningful to me than it was the day I placed it there.  And so I penned this piece.  
The Courage to Rescue
(c) 2015 Jean Ballard

Tango and Romeo
RASTA Sanctuary residents

There is a saying pinned to the bulletin board above my desk, which reads:
Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, 'I will try again tomorrow'. ~Mary Anne Radmacher 
Every ethical animal rescuer I have ever known  has courage.  It takes courage to carry on when worrying constantly about finances, about the animals’ shelter, and food, and health, and safety.  It takes courage to deal with the public, day in and day out, especially those who don’t understand your goals or don’t agree with the decisions you make or don’t take time to do even a tiny bit of research before getting – or giving up – an animal. It takes courage to carry on when faced with overwhelming despair at the sheer numbers of animals in need.  It takes courage.

Cher, Rusty and Natty
Rescued by RASTA

RASTA’s recent move to Chemainus took courage – to move, to rebuild, to deal with thefts and vandalism, to meet the public, to recruit new volunteers, to face financial challenges. Most of all, it took courage to cope with the sudden deaths of 13 pigs  - Daisy, Jengo, Hannah, Lola, Mortimer, Timothy, Zoe, Webster, Bella, Dolly, Guinness, Josie and Buster - from an unknown cause.  And it took courage to help Wilbur, the senior big pig, to also cross over just a few days after his 13 friends, due to failing health and quality of life issues which were unrelated to the other deaths. 

Rest in Peace,  Wilbur
I feel so blessed to have met you.

I am sure there are many times when Lucie, the owner of RASTA, wanted nothing more than to curl up in a dark quiet corner of the house (or more likely, in a dark quiet corner of one of the animal shelters, surrounded by her warm gentle animal friends) and whimper in fear and frustration and rage.  I am sure she often wishes the challenges and fears would abate, the money would magically appear, the constant requests from strangers to "Please take my pig/dog/cow/cat/duck!" would cease, and most of all that the sanctuary residents that traveled here this summer would all miraculously be alive and healthy and strong again.

Rescued as a discarded calf, now a  massive but gentle steer.
But like the other strong people I know who run sanctuaries and rescues and shelters, Lucie carries on.  That takes courage.

For all the Lucies and Sandies and Janices and Steves and Richards and Pennys and Karens and Carols in the world of animal rescue, sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying “I will try again tomorrow”. 

And thank doG they do.

1 comment:

carol anne lawry said...

Beautiful ! Thank you for putting into words and so eloquently, the feelings we all share on some level, of not being sure we are good enough to take on the challenges that need a champion. Thank doG, as you say, for those that do wade in, get knocked about by the current and rise to do it again the next day.