Susan TasakiBy Cara Sue Achterberg
For a clear-eyed, inspirational and sometimes heartrending account of what it’s like to rescue and foster puppies and do your absolute best to help underfunded refuges improve their competition, read this book. Cara Sue Achterbergknows whereof she speaks.
The subtitle, One Woman, Ten Thousand Miles, and a Journey Into the Heart of Shelters and Rescues, parts up the book neatly. Achterberg clearly described in the honors and drawbacks of giving your heart to dogs in need, something she does at her Pennsylvania home for Operation Paws for Homes( OPH ), an all-breed, foster-based extricate group.
In some styles, One Hundred Dogs and Counting( Pegasus Books) continues a narrative Achterberg started in Another Good Dog( 2018 ), in which she chronicled how she got into the dog-fostering life, one that’s shared by her husband and now young-adult children.
As in Another Good Dog, in her brand-new journal, she includes tales about the dogs she’s fostered–the easy, the challenging, the shoe-hoarding. One of those hounds, Gala, extricated from a South Carolina shelter, supplies one of the throughlines. Devoted to Achterberg and thorn in family dog Gracie’s side, Gala is also bundle of antagonisms and actions that give Achterberg reason to question the lively dog’s following possible , not to mention her own competence.
A second yarn concerns a noble struggle: the OPH Rescue Road Trip. On an early outpouring day, Achterberg; her friend, Nancy, a professional photographer; and six volunteers settled into a van filled with bequeathed renders and a couple of boxes, on their style to stay a short list of southern animal shelters.
It’s this material that twists the reader’s heart–so many hounds, perfectly good hounds, dropped( and too often euthanized) because they’re unvalued and unwanted; because they’re no longer beneficial or young or easy to care for; because they’re “Pit Bulls”; because there are just too many dogs.
To their recognition, Achterberg’s team comes not only to do good works, but also, to understand at ground level these shelters’ problems and needs. Their last stop, at South Carolina’s Anderson County P.A.W.S ., buoys their spirits. Here, they find pragmatic animal-welfare work in action. Led by Kim Sanders, DVM, the equipment is an example of how much good a business-plan-backed approach and transparency can do.
Core to this work is the phenomenon of transporting dogs from southern shelters to northern foster and rescue groups–a supply-and-demand balancing act. It’s not tidy and problem-free, and sometimes there’s no happy intention. But for all that, it’s clear why Achterberg has pursued this work, and the good she, her group and all the foster families and radicals nationwide have done and continue to do.
In this record, “shes been” sacrifices a touching shout-out to her family, especially her husband: “When it came to my’ puppy practice, ’ Nick had been a willing, if not fervent, partner, enabling me to take on more and more with the recovery. He generally launched an obligatory protest at my proposes, but once the dogs were in the house, he was always on board.”
When you think about the immensity of the need, it’s easy to become depressed. How in the world can saving one puppy at a time make a difference? Well, recollect natural history writer Loren Eisley’s starfish story? In one of its popular adjustments, an old boy is moving on a beach littered with thousands of starfish washed ashore by the high tide. He verifies a young boy carefully throwing the starfish back into the ocean, one by one, and invites him what he’s doing. The boy replies, “I’m saving these starfish, sir.”
Amused, the old man says, “Son, there are thousands of starfish and just one of you. What difference can you stimulate? ”
The boy picks up another starfish, gently pitches it into the water, then turns to the man and says, “I made a difference to that one.”
And therein lies the reason beings do this work: deepening the world for one dog at a time is enough. Cara Sue Achterberg and her cohort have much to be proud of.
Read more: thebark.com