There is so much more involved in animal rescue than
just helping unwanted animals. Many people do not realize what all it takes
to become a rescuer or what a rescuer has to go through. It involves long
hours, frustration, no pay but many rewards from the animals you save.
It is very costly to rescue. You need to purchase supplies you will need to
properly provide for the animals you are going to rescue not to mention the
stack of veterinarian bills you are going to have. Many of the animals you
are going to rescue have either never been to a vet or are not healthy and
need immediate medical attention. Some rescues appear healthy only to find a
serious medical problem during a vet check. The normal rescue ferret will
stay in the shelter system 3-4 weeks. The older & ill will stay much much
longer, and you have to put into consideration the food cost, and the vets
bills. These are the biggest out of pockets. For example just today (with a
shelter discount) I spent $148, and have
a running bill of $1,253.82. Yes, we get money from our adoptions. for a
pair (adopted today) $125. Subtract $24 for ADV Test & 9.75 for overnight
shipping. aprox $30 each for shots being updated, and $1.50 per ferret a
week in food (This is top of the line food) This brings the money put back
into the shelter to a grand total of $28. Then you have to think of all the
laundry your going to do and
cleaning supplies, not to mention the heart ache on you.
Now lets talk about the cleaning. You don't get any breaks here either.
<grin> You can easily spend hours scrubbing Ferret cages, litter boxes, toys
the wall and floor around the cage... only to repeat the whole process in a
few days or week later. Oh and don't clog up the laundry drain with all that
fur! That will run you
good $500 to have the drains "snaked" Ferrets do poop too! If only we could
sell it! Ferret litter, YIKES! I use anywhere from 40- 60lbs of litter A
WEEK! so around $8.00
You may spend time nursing a sick ferret, having to feed the animal or
medicate it several times a day, slowly and carefully. You cannot rush
taking care of a sick animal because one mistake can mean the death of the
animal. This is especially true when dealing with an Elder sick ferret.
In the meantime, your family is sitting at the dinner table waiting for you
to join them in the hopes of
enjoying a family dinner together and your spouse is getting madder and
madder that you are neglecting the family -- for the animals. You finally
sit down to dinner and the phone rings. It is about another animal needing
Your friends and relatives think you are "nuts" for doing what you do for
your rescued ferrets and don't like to come over for a visit because you
have too many animals in the house. Wait a minute. This could be a good
thing (just kidding <grin>). Your relatives gets upset and do not
understand why you cancel out on
visiting someone on a holiday because you are nursing a sick ferret.
Now comes time to adopt the animals out to new homes. You can spend hours
interviewing just one person who wishes to adopt an animal from you. You go
over every aspect of owning a pet and the responsibilities involved. You
invite them over to your house to meet the animal and spend more hours
answering their questions and giving them advice only to find they really
weren't interested in
adopting, they just wanted to bring the kids to see some animals or they are
just looking for now. "And don't think for a minute that this won't
happen--it happens often". You rearrange your schedule to accommodate
someone who must come and see the animal immediately or so they tell you.
You cancel previous plans and wait at home for them to show up. They never
show up or bother to call you to cancel.
Now come the people who expect you to give them the animal for free. After
all, didn't you get it for free? Do they consider the medical expenses you
might have in the animal or the food and supplies you had to purchase not to
mention your time involved? You try to explain all of this to them. You even
explain that if you do ever make a profit, if you are lucky, it only ends up
being taken by
another rescue who ends up with medical problems that you have to treat. Do
these people understand? Not for one minute. They only see the adoption fee
before them and start adding up the adoption fees you are charging per
animal knowing that you MUST be making a profit and thinking that you are
taking advantage of them. Don't bother explaining any further. You can not
convince them you are not making a profit even though you have a stack of
veterinary bills showing how far in debt you are from rescuing animals.
Your rescue efforts have grown and developed to the next level. You are
taking in more animals and you need to start thinking about bringing in
extra money to support these rescues. Don't forget fundraising! You have to
do it regardless. One sick can eat up 1,000 in a day. So plan ahead have a
caution or one heck of a good vet that allows billing!
Now you are thinking, "Okay, there can't be any more down sides to rescuing
so now she is going to talk about the joys of rescuing," nope, not yet. Now
comes the personal attacks. People who feel everything you are doing is
wrong. People who accuse you of everything you can imagine. After all, you
must be up to something.
Why else would you rescue animals in need if you claim to not be making any
money at it? You will be accused of taking advantage of the animals you are
rescuing because you are charging an adoption fee. You will hear people tell
you how it is WRONG to ever make a profit from rescuing animals but it is
okay to go in debt up to your ears. You will be accused of charging too
much, not doing enough, not doing it well enough, not being nice enough,
giving wrong advice and the list goes on. However I'm pretty anal in my mind
on my advice!
Why is it okay for Doctors to charge fees for making people well but it is
WRONG for animal rescuers to charge a fee for making animals well? People do
not understand the word profit when it comes to animal rescue. You can not
consider an adoption fee profit. By the time you take out your feed and
supply expenses, vet care expenses not to mention your time involved, there
is NO profit. People will tell you that you should not make a profit anyway.
Those people think small. If you can make some money such as fund raisers...
it can be used towards medical care for future rescues. It's funny, many of
the people telling us how we should not get paid even though we work hard
and put in long hours, would never do what
we do unless THEY got paid.
People who know nothing about you, the animals you have rescued, how you
care for them, the environment in which you keep and house them, will throw
personal attacks at you. They will accuse you of being selfish, just wanting
attention, making money (although they never tell you how you are making
money), or being an animal collector. You will be called all kinds of names
and have every detail and aspect of your rescue efforts picked apart and
Who are doing these attacks and why? People just wanting to cause trouble
for lack of anything better to do. Fellow rescuers who have turned bitter or
become jealous because you are doing rescues better or more efficiently than
they are. What are you as an animal rescuer expected to do? Take the abuse
and walk away. If you defend yourself you will be accused of being too
defensive therefore, you must be hiding something. Each time you make a
statement defending yourself the accuser will tell you how you are wrong. Do
these attackers ever give advice on how you might do things better? NEVER.
They get too much pleasure from attacking without cause, reason or morals.
You will soon come to realize that these type of people
attack for nothing more than the pure pleasure of upsetting you. Do you ever
get offers from people wanting to help you or giving you advice on how you
might improve your rescue efforts? Do you get comments from people
commending you for a job well done? Very rarely and I mean very rarely.
Lets review again for a minute what is involved with animal rescue and why
we want to do it. It is expensive, not to mention hard work and long hours
without pay. You put up with ungrateful people expecting the world from you,
attack your every effort and accusing you of who knows what. So why do we
rescue animals and where are the rewards involved? The animals. What do I
mean by that statement? Just look into the eyes of an abused, scared or
neglected animal finally starting to trust you and you will know what I
mean. That is all the reward we need. I have seen many abused & neglected
Ferrets who have been beaten and almost starved to death by their previous
owners only to readily love and trust people again asking no more of us than
to just love them. If only more people could be this trusting and forgiving.
If you are not scared out of wanting to rescue animals after reading this
then you have what it takes to rescue animals.
Thank a rescue. We can never hear it to much!!
PA Ferret Club & Shelter