Jan 17

The Most Heartbreaking Animal Rescue Mission I’ve Even Been a Part of

As a vet, I have seen my fair share of neglected and abused animals. You see, I offer pro bono work to animal rescue organizations around the US. I accompany volunteers on rescue missions just in case any of the animals need on the spot treatment before it can be brought to the facility. I have pretty much seen almost every type of abuse imaginable or at least that’s what I thought until I spent 3 weeks in Atlanta helping out with the mass rescue mission spearheaded by the Atlanta Humane Society. Let me tell you the story.

My family and I were traveling to Atlanta for the summer to visit with my wife’s parents. We had a lot of stuff lined up during our trip which included a visit to the clinic of a dentist I found on atlantadentalveneers.org who specializes in veneers in Atlanta, a whole lot of sightseeing, and of course, to volunteer at their local shelters. You may be wondering why our itinerary included a trip to the dentist. Well, I had chipped my tooth the week before and according to Atlanta Dental Veneers, porcelain veneers in Atlanta were a lot cheaper compared to those offered by dentists in our hometown. Since we were going there anyway and would be staying for a month, I decided to just get it done there.

Anyway, we had only been in Atlanta for a few days when I received a call from a colleague who worked at the AHS. He wanted to know if I could join them in a rescue mission that was to take place the following day. They needed all the vets they could gather because they got a tip that there was a 3-acre property at the edge of the city that was being used as both a puppy mill and a dog fight arena. From their initial surveillance, their guess was their were at least 300 large breed dogs in the property that were being used for dog fighting and around 200 small breed canines in the puppy mill area. I was filled with dread when I heard all of this because based from experience, hearing about the situation was nothing like seeing it with your very own eyes. My wife, 2 teenage kids, and I went to the AHS headquarters at the crack of dawn the following day so we could be briefed on the situation before the convoy left.

When we arrived at the property, the only person who was there was a 75 year old man who lived in one of the sheds. As soon as we entered the closed gates, I was hit with nausea because of the stench. The smell was a mixture of feces, urine, and decomposition. Right then and there, I knew what we were in for.

True enough, we found 550 dogs of all sizes – all of which were neglected and abused. The large breed canines were a lot worse than the small breed ones because the former were being used as fighting dogs. The fighting dogs totaled to 320 and the puppy mill dogs were 230. Sadly, we were only able to save half of that number because the others were too far gone. I worked non-stop for 3 days treating the injuries of the dogs we could save and helping euthanize the others as humanely as possible.

It was exhausting but I just couldn’t bring myself to leave knowing that it was within my capabilities to help. My wife and two kids felt the same so they stayed and worked together with the other volunteers in any way they can.

Up to this day, I still can’t fathom how some people are able to treat such loving and beautiful animals so inhumanely. Yes, we were able to save the lives of 270 canines but was the mission a success? That can be left up to debate. For me, a mission can only be dubbed as successful if there weren’t any casualties but in this case, we lost more souls than we were able to save.