The Joyful Side of Animal Rescue

Joyful side of Animal rescue

Would you be surprised to know there is a joyful side of animal rescue?

So much of what we see and hear about animal rescue is focused on the pain, sadness, and fear of abandoned and abused animals.  These have become compelling (and well established) motivators for national and international fund-raising efforts. But the dark side of animal rescue is only half of the story.

The other half of the animal rescue, the best part in my experience, is the tremendous on-the-ground, in-person efforts that take place in local communities everywhere every day.  Rescues wouldn’t happen without the involvement of dedicated (and sometimes, unintended) workers, volunteers, veterinarians, adopters, families, friends, neighbors and strangers who step up and step in or the extraordinary response of love and appreciation from the animals themselves.

Joyful side of Animal rescueUnfortunately, too few of us “in the know” are sharing the joyful side of animal rescue.  How great to find a kindred spirit in author Liz Miesnik, whose book, A SECOND CHANCE: An Inspirational Journey Through the Eyes of an Animal Shelter Volunteer, has a simple message “… a positive view of animal rescue and what we can do as a community to make a difference.”

So take a moment to erase from your mind the heart-wrenching images of abandoned and abused animals featured in ASPCA commercials.

The best kept secrets in the animal rescue community are not the horror stories about humans we could tell.  Not the amazing survivability of animals that we could document.  Nor even the deep, mystical connection between animals and humans that we’ve experienced…

What motivates us day-in and year-out is the indescribable joy we get from seeing our individual and collective efforts make such a huge impact in so many lives — both animal and human.  The boundless love we receive from animals after only the briefest encounter.  And, the almost universal sense of kinship and support we feel for others who take part and give in big and small ways to the animal rescue community.

A SECOND CHANCE is a pictorial celebration of love and appreciation from a dedicated volunteer to the people and animals she’s met.  Pairing 183 famous quotes from all over the world with 183 whimsical images of animals and humans from her local animal rescue community, Liz shares a joyful glimpse of what keeps her inspired and motivated and gently reminds us all that rescue efforts are always ongoing.

"When you are inspired by some great purpose, some extraordinary project, all your thoughts break their bonds.  Your mind transcends limitations, your consciousness in every direction, and you find yourself in a new, great and wonderful world.  Dormant forces, faculties and talents become alive, and you discover yourself to be a greater person by far than you ever dreamed yourself to be."

~~ Patanjali

"Love is an element which though physically unseen, is as real as air or water.  It is an acting, living, moving force... it moves in waves and currents like those of the ocean."

~~Prentice Mulford

Have you experienced the joyful side of animal rescue?  If you have, what part gave you the most joy?  If you haven’t yet, just look around, the opportunities to participate are closer than you think.


It is important to note that A SECOND CHANCE is not a fundraiser for any organization or group.  At the end of the book Liz lists several worthy local organizations she knows and recommends.  If you are interested in contributing time and/or money, would like to adopt or need to relinquish an animal —





  1. Also be aware that “no kill” is not always a good thing.

    I have several rescue stories with good endings. We’re working one out right now. Bellatrix warms my heart and breaks it all at the same time. But she’s getting there. It’s going to be okay.


    1. Yeah! So glad!! I’m almost shocked to remember where our two began.

      Yes. Thank you. I may have to adjust my wording. My concern is that people understand the euthanasia policies beforehand because they can vary widely and nothing upsets people more than thinking the policy is X and then finding out after the fact that it is Y.


      1. Yes, I know of people who surrendered an animal thinking it was “no kill,” and it was not. Then again, one of our “no kill” shelters magically emptied at the end of the month and a bunch of strays mysteriously appeared at the dump.


      2. Wow… I’m sure it was budget reasons. But, that is so soo heartbreaking. And probably no one held accountable…

        Can’t say it enough — spay and neuter! Spay and neuter!


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