I always hear from people that they want to have an animal rescue just like mine, Pet Place International. My advice is to enter into animal rescue because you love animals, have empathy for them, and want to make a difference. 

There's nothing more rewarding than rescuing shelter animals in danger of being euthanized, caring for them, and then finding the perfect forever home for them. However, before considering starting your own rescue, you must have a financial plan in place upon which to sustain your operational costs, such as feed and veterinarian costs.

If you think your adoption fees will cover your expenses, think again; they won't. They may cover your gas to get to the event and your lunch that day, but that's about it. Have a financial plan in place - a partner with a steady income, or another career. Eventually, you will garner support from grantors, but even then there will be lulls in the grant cycles; you'll need to be prepared to sustain your rescue during these times.

Additionally, be prepared emotionally, as you will want to save every animal, but you will not be able to; and not every animal will survive an illness. The guilt is tremendous and one needs to reconcile the myriad of emotions that are inevitable. You must realize you are doing the best you can and that what you are doing is very important. You are saving lives, and making a difference.

As a rescuer, you will open yourself up to scrutiny. Be prepared, as everyone has an opinion and they are happy to tell you what you are doing wrong. The good news is, you'll have many loving supporters and they will outweigh the negative; embrace and appreciate the love and support you receive; let them know how much you appreciate them, and fully accept their support; you deserve it. There may be those who feel you have personally spurned them or are angry because you did not adopt a dog to them, etc.; they will slander you and your rescue in retaliation. Bitter people will try to hurt you by hurting your rescue group. My advice is to pray for healing and health for them, as bitterness is toxic to one's soul. 

As a rescuer since 2008, I have experienced all of the above. Rescue is not for the faint of heart. Be prepared to laugh, cry, go broke, lose your freedom, etc., because your life will never be the same. Rescue is a life commitment of your time, love, emotions, strength, and finances. However, above all, there is nothing more rewarding that I can think of doing. To see an animal transform from despair to hope; to see a family's life change, and watch a new dog bring them together is priceless. 

You will fall in love with every animal you rescue; you'll want to keep every one coming through your rescue (that's how hoarders get started). You cannot keep every animal; as much as you love that animal, he/she needs a one-on-one family, and you need to be able to let go. It's excruciating at first, but it gets easier and in no time, your tears will turn into tears of joy; you'll be smiling as they walk away together to start their new life as a family. "Rescue" is all encompassing, and I can't think of anything more fulfilling than serving God’s creatures. 
Joan, PPI


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