No Baton in a Marathon

Marathon
[mar-uh-thon] noun
Any contest, event, or the like, of great, or greater than normal, length or duration or requiring exceptional endurance

One of our sons was a marathon runner in high school. He didn’t even get warmed up until after the first mile. I have no idea how he did it but he’d get his runner’s face on and just keep going and going sort of like the Energizer Bunny and he won a lot of races. Funny thing, one of my wife’s nicknames is the Energizer Bunny. You’ve probably seen her online late into the wee hours of the morning and if she’s not online, she’s working at the shelter. The work never stops and there are no litter box fairies that come in the night to clean.

It makes no sense for a person to “rescue” an animal if they are a sprinter. A sprinter focuses on getting off of the blocks as fast as possible when they hear the starting pistol. They concentrate and apply as much muscle and determination into every step that they take because the idea is to get to the finish line first. They run for a short while, raise their arms, break through the finish line and it’s over.

True animal rescue is not a relay race where you sprint for a while and pass the baton to the next runner yet unfortunately, that’s what a lot of “rescues” do these days. They grab an animal in need, run with it for a short while and then pass it off to someone else. That’s not even a short term rescuer. That’s an ambulance driver. True animal rescue is like running a marathon and there is no baton in a marathon. You have to pace yourself and keep going and going and going. Twenty five or thirty years later you are still going but you can’t believe it’s been that long because you lose track of time.

A marathon runner doesn’t worry if he or she is not ahead of the pack at the start. They pace themselves. They settle into a rhythm and establish a cadence. Their mind settles into a zone and they just keep going and going and going. In the same way that you don’t run a marathon “for now” you don’t rescue an animal “for now”. You don’t adopt an animal “for now”.

You may like sports but let’s face it, watching someone run is boring and watching a marathon is even worse because it just keeps going and going and look, a squirrel!  People lose interest easily whether they are participants or spectators. What sounds like a good idea to start with might actually end up being a lot of work and require more of a commitment than people are willing to give.

While training, our son asked if I would go jogging with him sometime and almost without thinking I told him no. When he asked why, I explained that when you see people playing baseball, they look like they are having fun. Likewise for football and basketball but when you see people jogging they do not look like they are having fun at all. They always look like they are about to die. It does not look like fun at all to me and I don’t want to do that. I did not want to make that commitment. He went jogging and I stayed home.

There are all kinds of thons,  sale-a-thons, tele-a-thons and adopt-a-thons. They seem like they go on forever but there is actually a finish line and there is usually a prize. In the marathon of animal rescue there is no finish line, there are no cheering crowds and there are no trophies.

At WarmFuzzy’s we don’t wear special shirts with numbers, there are no banners or television crews. There are no cheering masses and there is no finish line except the one where we finally lie down and take a long dirt nap. We keep going until we can’t go anymore. Why we do it should be self-evident. How we keep going and going is you. You are our supporters and without you we couldn’t have gotten as far as we have. The work is never done around here and while there are no litter box fairies that come in the night to clean, you help keep us going. You are the ones who help keep the lights turned on. You help keep the kitties and doggies warm and fed. When we are out of one critical supply or another, you help fill our shelves and buckets. You may not be pounding the pavement in a marathon but your support helps us do just that and we are forever grateful for what you do.

We wish that we could give each and every one of our supporters a trophy of some kind because you deserve one. While we unfortunately cannot make that happen, we hope that you can hear the chorus of thankful meows and woofs, purrs and snores and if we seem a little out of breath, you’ll know why.

Gotta run.

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About the Author

Joyce Ellis is the CEO and Caretaker of WarmFuzzy's Animal Shelter & Sanctuary. She was born with the vision, the Energizer Bunny who keeps going and going. She is Fuzzy1 of all WarmFuzzy's.

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