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Why I Rescue

and Why You Should Too

By Sean-Patrick M. Hillman

If you know me, then you know how passionate I am about animals. Hell, I am the Editor-in-Chief and Co-Publisher of a pet magazine for crying out loud! And if that isn’t enough for you, then how about the over 100,000 animals I have helped to save or home in the last 30 years? Or the fact that my wife and I helped to completely change the face and paradigm of adoption in the biggest city in the country at Animal Care Centers of NYC?

Working in rescue, adoption and advocacy sounds like a noble cause. But it is not for the faint of heart. Nor is it for everyone. And while my rescue journey began some 41 years ago at the ripe old age of six, it wasn’t until 2010 when Kylie and I formed Rock & Rawhide, a non-profit animal advocacy organization, that I REALLY started to advocate for animals in a significant way. Don’t get me wrong, I adopted a lot of animals throughout my life, helped friends adopt more, etc. But it wasn’t until co-founding Rock & Rawhide that I was able to make a real difference. No, I am not saying you should start your own rescue or other non-profit. What I do recommend is that you join a rescue or shelter team as a volunteer.

This is why I rescue, and why you should too!

Animals have been a part of the human family for millennia. Some of the earliest cave drawings by Neanderthals and early humans contain images of pets and the like. Fast forward to today and you see people on the streets of major cities with their dogs going almost everywhere, and even cats and pigs in some places (a pot-belly pig that gets walked in the neighborhood lives near Stuyvesant Square). In suburbia, you would be hard pressed to find a family that doesn’t have at least one pet. In other words, pets are literally part of the modern-day nuclear family.

Now, imagine walking through a shelter in New York City. Especially the canine ward. As you walk past the cages, you hear dog after dog barking, excited and wanting to show the love they have in their hearts. They are desperate for a companion. They are literally alone on this Earth with no one to help them. And it’s not like they understand what is happening to them, or why. This is the primary reason why I rescue…to help the voiceless, our furrever ones, find new, loving, and responsible homes. I have provided every single pet I have ever had with nothing but love, adoration, nutritious food, structure, and support. When we started Rock & Rawhide, my wife and I wanted to help make sure that the animals at shelters and rescues had that same experience in a loving home.

Think about this…if you have a pet, when you get home from work, or finish working at your desk at home, your dog or cat knows it’s their time with you. You are literally their entire world. Without you, they don’t walk (dogs), eat or play. They have no one else to love them. They have no one else to keep them active. Now go back to that scenario when you are imagining you are walking through a shelter. Think about all of those animals sitting in cages, waiting for someone to love them. It just breaks my heart…and it should break yours too.

If you have never rescued an animal from a shelter, or adopted from a rescue, then I invite you to reach out to the many shelters and rescue organizations featured in this edition of Pet Lifestyles Magazine. Any of them would be willing to take you on as a volunteer, adopter or foster. I have done all three. And you should too!

I rescue because without animals, life just would not feel right. I rescue because it is the right thing to do. I rescue to save lives. And you should too (are you sensing a theme here?).  

Volunteer. Donate. Foster. Adopt. TODAY.