A rescue WOW moment

We have an automated system here in Malamute rescue, which takes the dog listings and automatically uploads them to a few of the rescue websites we partner with like Petfinder.com and 1-800-save-a-pet.com. This automated system creates thumbnails of the dogs pictures, and uploads them to the respective servers of those organizations. The script I wrote, doesn't clean up after itself. This was an oversight on my part, but a minor one considering the small size of each photo. One afternoon, I was doing some cleaning up of the files when I noticed there this little directory, which wasn't quite as I expected it to be and was a bit larger than I expected. It was called "petfinder". I knew what it was, the directory where I copied the temporary thumbnails to be sent to the servers of our partners. It should only have a few images in it, and all small ones... so how was it, I asked myself, that it was a few megabytes large. Curiosity got the better of me, and I looked in it.

My jaw dropped open! I had one of those rare moments in animal rescue where you see the full force of the work you do. You see, in rescue, especially a big one like WA Malamute Rescue, your always caught up in the "daily grind" of rescue. Coordinate a volunteer to evaluate a dog in this shelter, transport a dog to the vet from here to there, homecheck a house in the next city over, meet-n-greet for a dog already in rescue there... et cetera. We do a lot, but each thing isn't big, plus you tend to get wrapped up in the tiny details. You lose focus sometimes of the big picture. You see the individual dog your saving, and believe me, that is more than enough some days to make it ALL worth it. But you seldom see 3 or 4 at any one time. Sure, you can always look on the website, and see the 15 to 40+ we have in rescue that are available for adoption at that moment in time, but again, you don't know all the dogs personally, and while we have our favorites sometimes, it has a tendency to all just become one great big blur. This time however, I got hit with it, and with both barrels... BANG!

I was looking in this directory, and there they are... line, after line, after line, of all the dogs we had saved since the time when I wrote the automation to do the uploading. That was in Feb 2003. I scanned the lines, amazed, shocked really. I couldn't believe what I was seeing. Most of the dogs I recognized... many I even knew their name, or the story, or just remember the dogs face. All were there because of us as a whole. Even personally as a board member of the rescue, my personal involvement in each of these dogs was minor usually if that. Some I played a big role in, but that's "just one" I always told myself. As I looked through the list tho, all those memories and emotions would come rushing back. I'd smile as I'd see the picture of a previous foster dog who destroyed one of our favorite shrubs, or the foster who finally convinced me to buy an attachment for a bicycle so I could run him at HIS speed and get him the exercise needed to not be an absolute terror, laugh out loud as I remembered the story of one of the volunteers describing the antics of something else that one of them did... story after story, picture after picture, story after story, life saved, after life saved, after life saved.

Since that moment when I first made that "WOW" discovery, this list has grown, but I never want to forget, and frequently re-visit, that very directory which reminded me ever so clearly JUST why we do what it is that we do, and the HUGE impact each and every one of us can have, even tho we all do our small part, one thing at a time, one transport, one homecheck, one shelter evaluation, one vet visit, one life saved, before we move on to the next thing... forgetting the work, the tears, the miles driven, et cetera, as we move on to the next life to be saved.

The following collection, is that very "collage" of that special directory of thumbnails of saved life after saved life. This page here is maintained rarely... you see, the job of this directory, and the subject of this story has a "real" job to do. It does it day in and day out, hour after hour, life after life. That amazing WOW moment and this story, a by-product of the work that little hacked together perl script does, another example of a small piece of the bigger picture. I created this page, and this story, to share that experience and moment in time with the rescue workers around me, because every now and again, everyone, me included, needs that little reminder of the bigger picture. Of how and why it is we do all that we do, even tho we just play our small little part. Because that little bit, pushes the ball that small increment forward, but together, just look at what we can do!

I give you, your very own piece of that special rescue "WOW" moment... enjoy!

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