Enough with the “Rescues”

Before I begin, let me say that posting to a blog I’ve neglected for 5 years is intimidating. Nevertheless, here goes…

“Is she a rescue?”

It’s the first thing everyone at the dog park wants to know. When I was a dog-crazy kid, I asked everyone their dog’s name, age and breed, but today it seems the most important piece of information about my dog, and consequently about me, is whether or not my dog is a rescue.

The answer, in a word, is “No.” She’s a dog, specifically an Alaskan Husky. She’s generally well adjusted, spends most of her time outdoors, loves running, has treed a bear but is afraid of the cat, and hates vegetables. But she’s not a rescue.

As I see it, dogs taken in by a loving family are no more “rescues” than adopted children are. Imagine if adoptive parents were similarly compelled to include their child’s hard luck story in their introductions: portraying themselves as heroes, unnamed strangers as villains and the adoptees as hapless victims, all based on second hand stories of questionable veracity. Imagine if our first question to every adoptive parent was, “Did you save her from a horrible life?” How disrespectful and needlessly pessimistic!

No, Mitz is not a rescue. She’s a dog, who by her very nature lives happily in the moment, a trait most humans can only hope to emulate. She doesn’t care about her yesterdays, stormy or otherwise and at my best, neither do I. Yes, there are moments when some dogs require a little more patience… but shouldn’t that really be on offer to everyone, whether we know their story or not?

Maybe that’s how dogs win their way into our hearts so easily: by offering consistent and unconditional love, with no need for a backstory. If only we could offer them the same dignity.

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