Open Letter to the Corps, December 27, 2011
Dear Corps Members,
On January 11th 2011, I promised a year of compassion. Together, we have made good on that promise.
Whether you are one of the ARC board or staff members, an ARC Liaison, a volunteer or partner for our rescues, operations or events, a financial supporter of our life-saving work or you have shared our work to end suffering with others – you are the Corps. YOU have contributed to ending cycles of abuse and saving thousands of lives this past year, promising so many animals that they will live a life filled with compassion and love. I am eternally grateful for and awed by your compassion and dedication.
This road has been long, never easy and sometimes emotionally taxing but I know that our work is not only directly saving lives, it is also opening the eyes of countless people to the immeasurable extent of animal suffering going on in the world as well as the horrors of the industries that profit from animals and the cruelty that is inherent to those industries. In saving lives, we have also planted seeds of knowledge. Through this awareness even greater change will come.
Together, we witnessed unimaginable suffering and together we put an end to it. We entered the cruel confines of the puppy mill industry and our eyes welled from the high levels of ammonia and the emotionally devastating scenes that lay before us. We walked through row after row of tiny, filthy and dilapidated, decades-old wire cages packed with hundreds of desperate dogs forced to wallow in their own feces through extreme weather conditions – many without food and water. We saw breeding mothers and fathers with coats matted so tightly that their breathing was severely constricted in nearly mummified caskets of feces-laden fur and puppies standing in pools of acidic urine eating away at their sensitive paws. We felt the presence of the ghosts of dogs we were too late to save lingering behind the empty cages choked with cobwebs and debris. One of the first dogs we rescued this year we found barely alive amongst her two dead cage-mates in their tiny wooden hutch. The fact that she had spent days sealed alive inside a plastic-wrapped coffin getting her only warmth from the fur of her lost companions will haunt me for the rest of my life.
Together, we came to the aid of hoarded dogs and cats forced to live in their own waste in conditions that breed disease and despair. Our hearts sank at the sight of hundreds more neglected, tortured and forgotten animals, the sentient beings that their guardians had failed: bony, hollow-eyed horses staggering under their neglected frames; slowly-starving parrots, forced to live in deplorable unnatural confines without enrichment; monkeys born into captivity, confined to their impossibly small, dank prisons cells since the day they were born, only knowing fear and loneliness, never being able to do what comes naturally to a monkey; and chickens, rabbits, geese and so many other victims of man.
Together, we wept for the animals we were too late for. Their skeletal remains starkly illustrated the cycle of abuse – a cycle that would have continued unaltered, victimizing many more animals, if not for your dedication and perseverance in standing with me demanding that it end.
Suffering of this magnitude is difficult to describe, I know it’s difficult to hear, and it is unimaginable to endure. We expose ourselves to these truths to save lives and to teach others. To shed light on and end this suffering is why we created Animal Rescue Corps, why we do what we do and why you are part of the Corps.
Together, we ended suffering and gave life to thousands. Their once inescapable cruel confines now lay empty because we acknowledge that all lives have value and we put our compassion into action. Together, we made the commitment to communities that they would no longer be without the resources necessary to address animals in need. From shutting down puppy mills for good, to responding to natural disasters at a moment’s notice, to months of planning and implementing a humane and lasting solution to overwhelming pet populations in rural communities – we were there for the animals and the communities who needed us.
Our efforts have come with tremendous personal sacrifice. Together, we have carried on through these challenging times because of our commitment to the animals. Many of us have put everything into this promise of compassion, we have asked our families to understand and join us in this promise. Our commitment to the work and our belief in this organization is so strong that we have worked tirelessly and without financial compensation. Most people are unaware that we have all, every one of us, served as unpaid volunteers this last year.
Our belief has been and continues to be that if we let our actions speak, if we show what is possible by working together putting our compassion into action, then we will not fail and others will join. We have seen this to be true and we are growing and improving every day. ARC has successfully funded the life-saving rescues that are the purpose of this organization. We have been able to raise and apply some limited funds to day-to-day operations and communications. However, In order to be sustainable, there is much needed… there is equipment we have done without or paid to rent, there are systems and services that we desperately need and we need to be able to pay salary to a select few this year.
Our faith is unshaken and our determination has only grown stronger because of your response. You have joined me in the field, you have manned our emergency shelters, you have shared our messages and videos and you have dug deep to give generously to this work. Every new person that we reach together brings new hope and possibility. Together we are building an army of compassion and we know that even a great burden is made light when carried by many.
On behalf of the animals, I’m asking you to continue to stand with me at your highest capacity in our crusade to end animal suffering through direct and compassionate action. Together, we will continue to reach into the dark cages and break the rusted chains, to kick down the doors behind which suffering is hidden and answer the call of the thousands of animals waiting for salvation. We will continue to give them shelter and the promise of a home, as they reclaim the lives that have been stolen from them and we witness the peaceful demeanor that settles over them, illustrating the amazing resilience of animals – a resilience that inspires us to persevere.
Together we can do all this and more in 2012.
It is a tremendous spirit that will carry us into a new year of compassion. I am deeply grateful that you have joined me in this mission. To be called upon to save animals and give the gift of compassion is, in the end, a great privilege. Thank you for your company in making them the promise of new life.
I wish for you and your families a new year filled with peace and compassion.
President and Founder
Animal Rescue Corps
Ps If you haven’t already please enjoy the video retrospective of our life-saving work this past year: “The Gift of Compassion 2011”