The Front Lines of Rescue

Things have been so busy at TARC these past few weeks that we had no choice but take a brief hiatus from blogging. We have a full house, with many more dogs and puppies than we like to keep in rescue. This is because the situation in our area continues to spiral out of control, with backlash from the community and active resistance from community leaders. The local kill shelter stays at capacity and we all know what that means. Many other individuals and groups who’ve attempted to assist the local shelter have given up in disgust. Major animal welfare organizations across the nation continue to ignore the problem here despite repeated attempts to get them involved. It’s a mess, with no hope on the horizon.


In the rescue world, TARC is considered a front-line effort. Groups like ours are the ones pulling dogs out of shelters and out of ditches, vetting and vaccinating them, and getting them ready for adoption or transport to other areas of the country. Most small organizations like TARC don’t qualify for grants. We’re not a brick-and-mortar shelter and don’t have the ability to match funds. We have a miserably small adoption base in areas already overrun with unwanted pets, operate in poverty-stricken regions where few people routinely donate, and have a shortage of qualified foster homes and volunteers. The big ideas sold by national humane organizations about no-kill sheltering are just a bill of goods for us. Put bluntly—they just don’t work in communities that lack the most basic resources to implement those strategies.

Thousands of dogs in our area die every year that we are helpless to save. We do what we can. We’re fortunate enough to work with groups in the New England area who understand our difficulties and help fund the vetting of animals they intend to bring north. That leaves a lot of dogs here without sponsors and without homes. And sometimes they’re here for the duration of their lives.

How do we end up with dogs in residence for years? Well, it’s like this: unlike adoption agencies outside the region, we don’t get to look at photos and pick the dogs we think we can easily place. When people drive up in our front yard with hounds tied in the back of their pickup trucks and say “if yew don’t take ‘im, I’m gawna set him out in the woods somewhurrs,” and when we see half-starved puppies abandoned in the ditch, or injured animals in the middle of the road that cars pass without slowing down, we feel compelled to act. Often, those animals have behavioral or health issues that make them unlikely—or unsafe—candidates for adoption.

What are we supposed to do with them? Put them down? Place them in unsatisfactory homes where they live their lives on the end of a chain or end up biting a child and being destroyed by the system? It’s a sure bet that dogs like this will not be chosen for transport to other agencies. So here they stay, accumulating, and we are permanently responsible for their care.

Rescue is a complicated and exasperating enterprise. Funding for aggressive spay/neuter programs would totally end the problem in regions like mine, but that funding doesn’t exist. Compassion fatigue is very real here on the front lines. Burnout affects everyone. Sometimes the Happy Tails of those animals who do make it out are the only things that keep us going.

How We Roll

Despite the hardships we face, here are some of the positives that TARC is able to offer dogs in our program:

  1. 14-day intake quarantine
  2. Core disease vaccines at appropriate intervals
  3. Deworming
  4. Sterilization
  5. Microchipping
  6. indoor kenneling with some outdoor turnout
  7. behavioral rehab for mild to moderate issues
  8. socialization

In order to continue operating, we need the support of sponsors and donors from all over the world. Every little bit helps. There is no buffer between donations and application of the funds; money doesn’t languish in escrow or filter downward through a well-paid board of directors. It lands in our wallet and bounces right back out for dog food, veterinary care, and maintenance of the facility. It’s charity you can see in action.

TARC (Tazewell Animal Rescue Coalition) is a registered 501c3 nonprofit in the US. Steemians like @SirCork, @GMuxx, and @Jayna have toured our facility in person and can vouch for our legitimacy. We are a very real, very active, boots-on-the-ground organization with a very worthy cause. We’d love to have your support.

How You Can Help

Donate FIAT through PayPal HERE.

Donate Steem or SBD. We also take Bitcoin, of course. DM us for a receive address.

Sign up to donate a portion of Amazon purchases through Amazon Smile. Look us up as Tazewell County Animal Rescue Coalition.

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