I volunteer for a local animal rescue organization — not the “adopt a puppy” kind, but the “my dog’s stuck in a ravine” kind. When called out we mobilize with a collection of people, skills and equipment that allow us to help get animals — often large animals — out of a variety of sticky situations.
Earlier today I got the call.
My role today was to get our supply trailer from its storage location and bring it to the site where a dog had fallen into a steep ravine. Other volunteers would rendezvous there as well.
It was expected that some rope climbing would be required, or if not at least some serious safety and securing of individuals who might climb down to fetch the pup. Having all the necessary equipment in the trailer allows us to deal with an incredible variety of situations, the details of which we rarely get until we’re actually on site.
Today’s call-out was a good one. Not because it was successful, but rather because it was unnecessary.
While we were all on the way from our various locations around the area the owner and neighbors had managed to find a way to either get to the dog, or encourage the dog to safely come out on its own. We call that a “self rescue.”
I found out quite literally as I drove up and found the owner holding the animal, all safe and sound.
I turned around, brought the trailer back to its home, and returned to my own.
I’m grateful that organizations like this exist. I’m grateful that I have some capacity to play a part. I’m grateful for all the successes, and even a few of the “failures.” We learn from every call-out, and are often able to provide comfort for an animal, and closure for its owner, when the correct course of action isn’t what we might always hope for.
And I’m grateful for the turn-arounds. The the feeling of being activated only to turn around and go home might feel like somewhat of an annoyance, but honestly — like in today’s situation — it’s the best, and most appropriate outcome of all.
(The photo above was taken on another callout a couple of years ago that had us hiking 4 miles up a trail to help bring back a dog who couldn’t walk back down because his paws had become injured walking on sharp rocks. Not all callouts come with such spectacular views. 🙂 )