Rescue Corner: Actual meaning of ‘rescue’


Seeing a plea from a family about their missing/found/oops wrong dog/given to another “owner” post on a local breaking news page on Facebook this week got me thinking.

I frequently catch flack from concerned citizens when I am contacted by them about an animal that they feel is neglected or not taken proper care of.

Why? Because I will not now or ever just take anyone’s dog. First of all, it’s illegal. Second of all, I don’t know what the backstory is. Communication is huge, without it no one knows what is really going on.

Right now my “puppy yard” has 5 little skinny, hairless, wormy, shepherd mix puppies and one little blue flea bitten, terrified, skinny  pit bull puppy in it. All received within the last 72 hour. All already started on wormer, given first shots, bathed, and given cocidia meds.

Now let’s say someone comes on my property and sees those puppies right now and they don’t know me or what I do, If they call a rescue and that rescue comes out, not knowing anything, and takes these puppies without my knowledge. Or, if the person themselves takes the puppies because what they perceive is what they believe so it MUST be FACT…right? Wrong!

I can’t say I blame anyone for assuming perception is fact, I mean as rescues we know many horrors. But so much of the time we DON’T know a dog’s history. Now we can make deductions and educated assumptions about their history from observing their behavior and reactions as we work with them. Truthfully, unless they come from a cruelty case and we have knowledge of the case, we can never truly know what a dog has been through.

I get extremely frustrated when I see rescues and shelters using the words ‘bait dog,’ ‘fighting dog,’ ‘abused,’ ect. on post about a dog that has had no observation done and they truly have no way of knowing. It makes people assume the worst about people and jump to conclusions before checking out the facts.

In October 2007 my beautiful angel Sassy disappeared out of my back yard. That was 8 years ago and my heart still stops every time a black and white female pit bull shows up at a shelter I follow because I have no closure. She vanished and I have not seen a trace of her since. My heart aches wondering if she did die and if she was alone. Or if she was taken care of, or fought. Did she have a seizure and die alone? Did she find a family to love her? Did she know how much she meant to me? Does she see the organization I have built because she loved me and my babies? She taught me how to be a pit bull lover and I never told her thank you for being my soul dog.

So many questions…

Not knowing the outcome, no matter what it is or was, is absolute torture She would be 13 in January and just typing this makes my eyes tear and my heart break. This is far worse than having her die suddenly. This is an open wound that will never heal because there is no closure.

My point is this – save them when you see them abandoned or alone, but don’t assume anything about their past. You don’t know what they have come through. A few days without proper care can change everything and shouldn’t reflect on the owners of a lost dog. Also remember that every person deserves closure even if the dog isn’t theirs it’s not fair to leave them wondering and not knowing.

Because you feel they were rude, or neglectful, or it’s not the right dog doesn’t give you the right to keep them from seeing if the dog is theirs. Apparently no laws have been broken (our ridiculous laws are a whole other article), but what happened to common courtesy and just being compassionate?

I will state this for all to see – if I am ever contacted by someone claiming to have my Sassy girl, there is no person or animal on this planet that will be able to keep me from seeing if it really is her. The same goes for any dog we have had come through here that goes missing.

Perception is not fact plain and simple. Hug your pets and keep them safe. Tomorrow is not guaranteed and they are adventurous and sometimes lose their way and can’t get home. So microchip them, please. Better to have it and not need it, than to not have it and have to ask what if. Trust me, the what ifs will break your heart.

Jennifer Buck-Aikman is the Founder and President of Angels & Outlaws Second Chance Bully Ranch here in Erath County. She is a member of the SHS Class of 1996 and a lifelong member of the community. She believes that to truly Rescue means to work together no boundaries, no drama, just saving lives! Views expressed in this column are his and do not reflect those of The Flash as a whole. To further discuss Rescue Corner, email her at


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