Dog & Cat Pad’s recent trip to DARG again reminded me of what wonderful people staff animal rescue centres.
I suspect few visitors to rescue centres realise how many of the staff are volunteers and how little the few permanent staff is paid. No one gets rich from working at a rescue centre.
Why do they do it then? Purely for the love of the animals and to try and make a difference, one animal at a time.
What often gets forgotten, even by the staff themselves, is the emotional toll it takes. Far too often they only realise it themselves after they’re burnt out.
You know the anguish you and your family goes through every time you lose a beloved pet, now think about that happening on a daily basis to you. Don’t think you get immune to it, you never get immune to animals suffering and you are often the one that has to make that final decision.
Of course, it is worse when the animal has been there for a while, you grow attached to it, no matter how hard you try not to.
Every loss is taken personally and you are left wondering if there was one more thing you could’ve done.
Don’t even think about their family lives. Looking after a rescue centre is not a morning job, it is a 24/7 job with late night call outs to rescue some scared (sometimes vicious) animal or to take care of a medical emergency at the rescue centre. Very few, if any in South Africa, can afford a full time vet on staff. At best they have a network of kind vets that can take care of emergencies, but the animal has to get to the vet.
So, no family life, the divorce rate at rescue centres are extraordinarily high.
When the rescue centre has a vehicle, it is mostly an older model that was donated by a kind patron and the centre has to service it, and that costs. Staff use their own vehicles and mostly “forget” to claim for petrol and mileage, they do it and will keep on doing it because it is for the animals.
To sum up, no money, no family life, high vehicle costs, why do they keep on doing it day after day, year in, year out?
Simply, they are angels!
Next time you visit an animal rescue centre, spare a thought for the staff and volunteers and maybe, take them a cake. Best yet, adopt an animal, seeing a lonely unloved dog or cat get a new loving home is the best reward!
The photo above is used by kind permission of DARG (Domestic Animal Rescue Group, based in Hout Bay, Cape Town)