To the Rescue! Part 1

Gayle & Mary outsideThis post by Gayle M. Irwin


On Sunday I helped rescue: I transported a dog for English Springer Spaniel Rescue of America (Rocky Mountain chapter – there are chapters across the country) to his new, although temporary home. I have served as a transporter for various dog rescue organizations for nearly six years, primarily helping Springer Rescue and Big Dogs Huge Paws (based in Colorado), but I have also transported for Black Dog Animal Rescue (based in Cheyenne, Wyo.) and I’m on the contact list for at least two other groups. I find great satisfaction in helping dogs go from neglect or other difficult situations into new homes, whether those are caring foster homes (temporary) or their loving, permanent homes.

I transported Pepsi, a springer/beagle mix, on Sunday; he had lived with the same family for more than seven years but was kept outside most of his life and the people spent very little time with him; he’s now in foster care with a friend of mine here in Casper. Last year I transported Boone, a senior beagle who found his forever home in Yellowstone Park with an middle-aged couple. And, more than four years ago, I helped Jazmine, a Great Pyrenees mix, get to her new home with a family in Calgary, Canada. Each dog has a story, and I am now a chapter in their life stories – that makes me very happy!








This month is National Adopt-a-Shelter Dog Month, celebrated and recognized around the country by animal shelter and rescue groups. Many such organizations reduce their adoption fees or at least take the opportunity to bring greater awareness to the plight of animals in need of loving homes. While touring Best Friends Animal Society & Sanctuary last month, I learned the startling statistic of how many animals die in kill shelters throughout this country. Even though I was aware of the annual statistic (3-4 million), the tour guide bravely broke it down to how many every day: 9,000. NINE THOUSAND dogs, cats, and other creatures (bunnies, guinea pigs, birds) DIE EVERY DAY in kill shelters. Yet, Americans shell out billions of dollars every year – in fact, more than $55 billion! – for their pets: food, vet bills, treats, toys, beds, clothing… Americans who love their pets REALLY LOVE their pets to spend billions of dollars every year on them. That’s so cool! Yet, we let 9,000 die every day in kill shelters. That’s very sad and to me, intolerable. It’s estimated that only 35% of pets in shelters are adopted – why do we think an animal is LESS THAN because it’s in rescue or a shelter? The fact is the #1 reason why animals are at those places is because of their human, not because of the animal; the #1 reason people give for giving up their pet is “I’m moving.” Yet, they move with their child, their car, their furniture … and leave their pet behind.

Best Friends has two significant campaigns: No Kill and No More Homeless Pets. Since October is National Adopt-a-Shelter Dog Month, I think it’s a good time to get on the #NoMoreHomelessPets/#NoKill bandwagon and encourage dog adoption. So, I’m taking the stage with this post and asking my friends to join in. Tweet, Facebook, and tout however you can: #NoKill! #NoMoreHomelessPets! #AdoptaDog! #AdoptDon’tShop!

Boone_YellowstoneBoone singing in Yellowstone!


Even if you can’t adopt a dog, cat, rabbit, or other homeless pet, there are many things a person can do to help. Like me, you can transport, or you can donate supplies or volunteer. More about such ways in my next post.

I’ve volunteered and I’ve worked for animal shelters off and on for more than 20 years. Pets are my passion, and I do whatever I can to help. I’m fortunate – I’m a writer, so I can weave my passion into my writing. Whenever I have a book event, I always donate a percentage of sale proceeds to a local or regional animal welfare organization, and I will continue to do so. I’ve participated in animal events as a vendor, selling books and donating back to the group, and I will continue to do that as well.

The dogs’ stories of which I’ve played a part are playing a part in my current writings. I am working on two books that involve dog rescue: an educational/awareness book about dog rescue for children and families – that book idea sprouted from my encounter with Jazmine – and a romance story involving dog rescue (I imagine the hero of my story will rescue the heroine, or vice-verse!). Again, I’m weaving my writing with my passion for pets, and I’m looking forward to seeing how these stories come together. Also, I’ve written articles for our local paper on the various animal welfare groups and I hope to do more such stories in the future. I also write a pet column for different publications and I’ve written for online blogs, including my own pet blog. To me, pet rescue and adoption are vital, for communities, for the animals, and for people, and I’m happy to share my knowledge and passion with others.

How about you? Do you have some type of “rescue” as part of your stories? Or do animals play a role in your books?

Next time, Part 2: Things we can all do to help the animal groups in our area, even if we can’t adopt one.

Learn more companion animal statistics at this website:


Gayle and Mary at KnowledgeNookGayle M. Irwin is a writer, author and speaker. She is the author of five inspirational dog books for children and adults, including Sage’s Big Adventure, Walking in Trust: Lessons Learned with My Blind Dog, and Devotions for Dog Lovers: Paws-ing for Time with God. She is also a contributing writer to editions of Chicken Soup for the Soul, including the latest dog book The Dog Did What?, released in August 2014. She also writes for WREN (Wyoming Rural Electric Network), Crossroads, and Our Town Casper magazines and for the Casper Journal newspaper. She pens a pet column for the Douglas Budget and River Press newspapers, and she’s had articles published in Creation Illustrated magazine. She’s also authored a guidebook for owners of blind dogs, available on Kindle. She volunteers with several pet rescue and animal welfare organizations, and a percentage of proceeds from her book sales are donated to these groups. Learn more at



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20 thoughts on “To the Rescue! Part 1

  1. This is such an important post, Gayle. We’ve adopted cats and a dog from shelters and they are the most beautiful pets! It’s almost like they know where they were and are happy for a forever life with a family. Our new puppy is not a shelter dog, (our friends gave her to us from a litter of pups) but if she were she’s one of the ones who would be snapped up immediately. Why is it that the “cute” ones get adopted and others that are equally wonderful pets get left behind? So sad to hear the statistics you mention. I volunteered in the Pet Shelter while I lived in Mexico and it was very rewarding. You are such a beautiful person to love dogs the way you do and do anything you can to help them. More people should follow your lead. I used to sew bandanas for the shelter, but then started making blankets for preemies in the hospital’s neo-natal unit. I love the pictures you posted – such beautiful dogs! Can’t wait for part II!


    1. Thank you for re-blogging and for your comments, Linda. If puppy mills were shut down (bad breeders) and people would spay/neuter their animals (no more boxes of puppies and kittens in the Walmart parking lot or listed in the “free” section of newspapers), we’d cut the euthanasia rate in half or more. And, then more people would adopt because those “sources” would be gone, which would probably cut the kill rate even more. Two simple solutions: ban/stop puppy mills and s/n household pets — just think #NoMoreHomelessPets and #NoKill in those two solutions. We can all do one small part to help, including sharing this post, so thank you for doing so! And, thank you for your love and concern for animals, too — those of us who feel as we do need to work together on behalf of these creatures which God has made and called “good.” 🙂


    1. No, Cher’ley, that was another dog, more recent, that I saw on another rescue website. Jasmine was a bit skinny when I transported her, but that was because she had nursed 12 puppies! I’ll try to remember to post a photo of Jasmine with her new family — it’s a cute photo! — with my Part 2 next week. We can all do something to help animals in our community (and beyond) — and it doesn’t take much to make a strong, positive impact. Thanks for your comments and your love for your doggie!


  2. Great post, Gayle. I always tried to give great coverage to the local animal rescue organization in the county I covered in North Carolina. Did feature stories on their fund-raising efforts including a pet walk/race and a giant yard sale held at the local American Legion Hall. Their leader, Bob Roman, is a retired Marine officer from nearby Camp Lejeune, and he and his fellow animal rescue volunteers found forever homes for rescued dogs.


    1. As writers, that’s one way we can help the animals and those who help them, by writing stories. I was blessed to be able to write a short series for the Casper Journal last October and November and helped the local rescues promote their work and fundraising events. It’s interesting, Mike, that you lived and worked in North Carolina and our Casper Humane Society has been helping a rescue group in North Carolina called Operation Dog Tag by taking some of the dogs that are slated to be killed in NC shelters. It takes people all across the country to make an impact on this national issue that’s also a community issue.


    1. I’m superwoman, Abbie! LOL I don’t transport frequently, usually two or three times a year; I’d do it more often if I had the money and time! As mentioned earlier, if I won the lottery …!!! I believe we always find time (and money) for those things we’re passionate about, and this issue is at the top of my list! Thanks for stopping by and for your kind comments.


  3. You have such a big heart, Gayle! Both my cats are rescued–one by friends and then I adopted her, and another who showed up at my mother’s house as a stray and I took her home with me. Adopting a pet from a shelter or a rescue service only makes sense.


    1. Stephanie, it’s wonderful you took those cats into your home; you, too, are a rescuer! Animals need our help, there’s no doubt about it, and thankfully, there are people (like you!) who care enough to help when they can. Thank you for your kind words and for letting me know about your kitties — enjoy them!


  4. I agree whole-heartedly on banning puppy mills and spay/neutering. We might be able to do the first, but educating people to not let their pets reproduce will be a never-ending battle. “Puppies are so cute.”

    The same type of thing happens with horses. One breed gets popular and people jump on the money bandwagon and breed anything with papers, even if it’s a junk animal. Then you get a bunch of horses that are no good for anything and what do you do with them? Horses can live into their 30’s and are quite expensive to feed and care for. If only people would be sensible about breeding and making good choices.

    Glad you’re able to help the rescues. Keep up the good work.


    1. Kate, you are so right about the animal “bandwagon”, whether it’s a breed of dog, cat, or horse. And then shelters and rescues overflow with a certain breed … or lots of breeds because of the breeding itself. Shutting down the puppy mills and providing low-cost spay/neuter programs will certainly help … will we ever get there, though, is something that weighs heavily on me, that’s why I do whatever I can whenever I can. Thanks for your comments and for doing what you can as well!


  5. Anyone who has read my work knows that animals are always a vital part of the story. The animals I write about and interact with are generally not pets. I do have a sleeping dog at my feet most of the time. She was a rescue, just like our last dog. In just a few months she will be 13. Although I know people that have spent hundreds of dollars for a purebred dog I never had. I just think mutts make better pets and rescue animals just seem to know how lucky they are. Yes many rescue pets come with baggage, but don’t we all?


  6. S.J., you and I have much in common: all of my books are about animals, my pets are rescues (and part of my family!) and they hang out with me in my home office — I SO LOVE THAT! You are so right about everything you said in your comments — many people expect perfection in the animals they bring home and then they “return them” when they are perfect … yet, no person is perfect either so why do they think the animal should be?! Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting, I truly appreciate your words!


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