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"I Couldn't Do What You Do."... Then Do Something More!

By Immydog
"I couldn't do what you do."
I hate hearing that statement.  I think we all do.
It is usually stated by an animal lover, when they learn about or discuss our animal rescue work. It is usually followed by "I would take them all home." 
The statement is said with good intentions and likely meant to be complimentary and caring. But it is a burr in my side when I hear it.  That statement is not a "get out of jail free" card.  It does not justify a person's inaction. 
I usually remain quiet about it.  I listen as they tell me that their spouse would divorce them if they took in one more animal, or that they would get kicked out of their house, or that they would need an acreage to maintain all the animals they would have, if they could have...
Again, it is said with good intentions but taking a homeless animal into your home temporarily or permanently is not the ONLY thing you can do to help us "do what we do".  As a matter of fact, there are things that almost any shelter or rescue is in need of your help in doing, and it does not mandate you taking another animal into your home OR you writing a big check! (Although we would be most grateful if you did either!)
Every shelter has a wish list.  A wish list is a compilation of things that a specific shelter needs in order to continue to thrive.  Sometimes the item is something they do not have and would like to have in order to benefit the shelter.  But most wish lists include items that shelter uses frequently and could use your help in stocking up on those items.  These items often include cleansers, bleach, pet food, paper towels, litter, printer paper.  If you have a shelter in mind, check with them as some items might have a specific preference.  For example, maybe they prefer a specific brand of food that the animals are used to eating, or a type of litter that works best in their environment.  These items may mean you spend only $5 extra on your weekly shopping trip, but that $5 means so much more when you walk in the door of the shelter carrying goodies for our furry friends.
In a previous blog, I gave many unique suggestions of ideas, some of which include fundraising parties, hitting yard sales, crafting ideas, photographing a shelter's pet, sharing links to the shelter's pets on social media websites such as facebook and twitter, and many more ways you can help your shelter without spending a lot of money.  Please read "Help your local animal shelter while on a budget" for some amazing low-cost and cost-free ideas.  Some of the ideas listed are very creative, fun, and shockingly easy!  http://vetrescue.blogspot.com/2011/02/help-your-local-animal-shelter-while-on.html
The point is, you do not have to "do what I do" in order to be an important part of animal rescue.  But if you care about animals, remaining inactive is hurting those animals you claim you "wish" you could help. 
Step up! Do what YOU can!  I know you can do something.  I know you can inspire friends to do something, too.  But you cannot sit idle any more, because you become part of the problem rather than part of the solution. 
Next time I see you, I want you to say, "I couldn't do what you do, but you have inspired me to do something more!"  And what you are doing, is likely something that "I couldn't do".
I think I, too, will do something more.  My response when I hear, "I couldn't do what you do", will now be "then what can you do?".  Perhaps that small statement will lead to an enlightening conversation resulting in the christening of a new animal rescue volunteer.  And that small statement won't cost me a dime, but the change could be priceless.
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