By Lola Whelan-Leskody
Spokescat & Founding Member

Sometimes there is just no easy way to do something. Sometimes the need is so great that the thought of trying to figure out a better way is over-whelming, and we choose to do nothing. And sometimes, you just have to buckle up and start somewhere – however small the effort may seem. That is how The Rescue Nation was born, driven by the tremendous need of our rescued brothers and sisters and the loving shelters who care for them.

My sister Sophie, myself, and most of our friends found our furever families while we were in shelter care, and we want to pay it forward any way that we can. We asked ourselves what we could do from the outside to bring attention to the millions of us who remain overlooked and under loved.

We know that the shelter angels who take care of us work tirelessly to get our stories out there and maybe we could help them with that! If people could hear our stories from us than maybe that’s all it would take to convince even one human considering adoption to visit their local shelter in search of their furever friend.

Not all shelters or rescues report their data consistently, which makes it difficult to know exactly how many of our citizens are in shelters on any given day. According to Shelter Animals Count, the Rescue Nation took in 6.5 million new citizens in 2023. If we were all in one place, we would be the second largest city in the United States! Thankfully, 725,000 of our newest citizens had simply lost their way and were reunited with their forever families.

We quickly decided to focus our efforts on our harder to adopt population. Here is the road map we came up with for our mission to bring attention to as many at risk rescues as possible.

    • Black Dogs and Cats have a lower adoption rate, with black cats spending 40% longer in shelters. Sadly, the majority of sheltered cats that cross the rainbow bridge are black as well. Black dogs can spend 4 times longer in a shelter than their lighter furred friends!
    • Big Dogs. While a fear of larger dogs around children may be a factor, there is a misconception that big dogs come with bigger vet bills (not true) cost more to feed (kinda true) and need a lot of room (sometimes true). Ask any of our big and tall citizens how much room they need and they will tell you they only want enough room on the couch to cuddle with you and if given the chance, most of the bed!
    • Senior Citizens. Age discrimination has four legs too! We think the biggest factor is that our Senior Citizen are more likely to be sad and they are shy to let their personalities shine through. Shelter life can be stressful particularly when they are missing the love from who they thought was their forever human and the couch they used to cuddle on. It is important to remember that even though a Senior Citizen will not be in your life forever, you will be the forever human in theirs and that is what makes their world go round.
    • Special Needs Some of our citizens require an Assisted Living Home, whether they were born with a disability, or as a result of an illness, an accident or even worse from abuse and neglect. In spite of their hardships, they all have the super power to love their humans beyond your wildest expectations and we think they have special human healing powers too!
    • Pit Bulls. Straffordshire Terriers have gotten a bad rap. They are thought of as aggressive when in reality they used to be known as “Nanny Dogs” since they were so calm and gentle around kids. Today, an aggressive dog is usually a direct result of the way humans have treated them. Sadly, approximately half a million Pittie’s are euthanized in shelters every year and we know they are worth fighting for!
    Dog Picture

    Shelter life can be very stressful. Our focus groups are the most vulnerable to depression and they can quickly lose their hope of ever finding love again.

         We’re all too familiar with the commercials that show our citizens in the worst of conditions. Even though they are very effective in bringing the hard truth to light, we know that a lot of humans find them too hard to watch and look away. Even we are afraid to watch them in fear that we may recognize someone!

         The Rescue Nation will let our citizens tell their own story, show off their special talents or simply be their silly selves. I must warn you that not all of our stories will be fun or entertaining and that’s just the way the rescue world works. Sometimes one of our citizens may need extra help, extra quick! and we will make sure to get their story out there even if they can’t tell it themselves.

         Our not so secret hope is that as we introduce the world to the citizens of the Rescue Nation, they will inspire people to take action also. Since humans are in charge, we know that they have many more opportunities to help than we do. Even the smallest of actions can make a rescue’s day, while a bigger effort can have a ripple effect that will go through an entire community for years to come.

         We will check in from time to time – letting you know about new things we are working on, give you insights about one of our focus groups, highlight current events that need our attention, give you updates from our shelter partners and most importantly what you can do to help make a difference in a Rescue’s life.

         Together we will change the world, one citizen at a time!

    Cat Picture

    Lola Whelan-Leskody