Sadly, an abused animal's troubles don't end when it's rescued from the abusive situation. Many animals face lengthy struggles to regain their health. Some never regain their full abilities, and some have lasting psychological damage in addition to physical scars.
The scars of past abuse can mean that rescued animals are not as easily adopted. Prospective adopters may not want the added challenge of tending to a pet's unusual physical needs. Or they may worry that a dog suffering from past trauma could suddenly turn violent. In some cases, that's a problem for shelter and animal alike. A domestic animal will thrive best in a domestic situation. And the more permanent residents a shelter has, the fewer additional animals it can help.
Many rescue organizations operate as nonprofits, so helping rescued animals can be as simple as opening your checkbook or swiping your credit card. The medical bills of rescued animals can be significant. Some organizations, such as Northeastern Boxer Rescue, allow donors to sponsor the medical costs of individual animals. Some organizations maintain a "kennel fund" to help other animals in crisis. If you're looking for more direct involvement in animal rescue -- or if your budget won't tolerate a hefty donation -- there are plenty of other ways to help.
You might already have as many pets as you can handle. Have you considered providing a foster home to an animal? Foster homes provide healthy environments for animals recovering from abuse or neglect. They allow the animals to get used to living with a stable, caring family. In cases of neglect or abuse, a foster home can help the animal regain its strength or health. Additionally, some animals need to go through a period of mourning for their former owners, even if those owners were neglectful. A foster owner can also help with areas of training that the former owner may have overlooked. Fostered pets are better socialized and better adjusted -- and more adoptable.
To learn more, visit the links below.
Related HowStuffWorks Articles
- Animal Sheltering. "Programs and Services: Financial Assistance." Animal Sheltering: A Service of the Humane Society of the U.S. 2009. (Accessed 5/5/09) http://www.animalsheltering.org/programs_and_services/financial_assistance/
- American Kennel Club. "Breed Rescue Groups." AKC. 2009. (Accessed 5/5/09) http://www.akc.org/breeds/rescue.cfm
- Greyhound Rescue Rehab. "Who We Are." 2008. (Accessed 5/5/09) http://www.greyhoundrescuerehab.org/whoweare.html
- HorseNet Horse Rescue. "About Us." HorseNet. (Accessed 5/5/09) http://www.horsenethorserescue.org/about.htm
- National Greyhound Adoption Program. "NGAP War with AMC." NGAP. 2008. (Accessed 5/5/09) http://www.ngap.org/ngap-war-with-amc-y309.html
- Humane Society of the US. "Animal Cruelty Facts." HSUS Animal Cruelty and Fighting Campaign. 2009. (Accessed 5/5/09) http://www.hsus.org/acf/cruelty/publiced/cruelty_facts_statistics_trends.html
- Humane Society of the US. "Animal Neglect." HSUS Animal Cruelty and Fighting Campaign. 2009. (Accessed 5/5/09) http://www.hsus.org/acf/cruelty/publiced/animal_neglect.html
- Humane Society of the US. "Frequently Asked Questions about Animal Cruelty." HSUS Animal Cruelty and Fighting Campaign. 2009. (Accessed 5/5/09) http://www.hsus.org/hsus_field/first_strike_the_connection_between_animal_cruelty_and_human_violence/frequently_asked_questions_about_animal_cruelty.html
- Northwestern Boxer Rescue. "Available Dogs: Sneakers." NBR. April 2009. (Accessed 5/5/09) http://www.boxerrescue.com/AVAILDOGS/Avail0903/SneakersCT0309.htm
- Pet Abuse. "Animal Neglect." 2009. (Accessed 5/5/09) http://www.pet-abuse.com/pages/animal_cruelty/neglect.php
- Pet Abuse. "Is It Cruelty?" 2009. (Accessed 5/5/09) http://www.petabuse.com/pages/animal_cruelty/is_it_cruelty.php
- Pit Bull Rescue Central. "Recommendations for Fostering Pit Bulls." PBRC. 2008. (Accessed 5/5/09) http://www.pbrc.net/foster.html
- Purebred Cat Breed Rescue. "Animal Hoarding." 2008. (Accessed 5/5/09) http://purebredcats.org/
- Salk, Pia. "Rescuers and Humane Society and Animal Shelter Volunteers: The Unsung Heroes of Dog Rescue and Cat Rescue." Adopt-A-Pet. (Accessed 5/5/09) http://www.adoptapet.com/