Robyn Buchsbaum, the Development & Special Events Coordinator at PetConnect Rescue, shares the organization’s journey with pet rescuing, the challenging aspects of their work, and the main myth about rescued animals, which she is here to debunk. Read our Robyn Buchsbaum interview to find out more!
1. How did you start your website?
We actually didn’t start online at all. Our founder, Lizette Chanock, was moved by all the images of suffering animals in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. She and some friends made their way from the DC Metro area down to New Orleans and brought back as many animals as they could handle and house. From there, PetConnect Rescue was born! In the 13 years we’ve been in existence, our numbers have grown exponentially. We now rescue about 800 cats and dogs each year, mostly from high kill shelters.
Of course, we’re always ready to respond to hurricane situations. We’ve learned so much since Katrina about how to help families with pets. Animal shelters in areas closest to the anticipated affected area try and clear their shelters of animals by moving them out through the rescue transport system to other areas. This way, those shelters have space available for any animals who get separated during a storm. We just took in 82 cats and dogs as a result of Hurricane Florence.
2. What are the most challenging aspects of rescuing pets?
We always want to save more animals! We are primarily a volunteer-run organization so in order to save more animals, we need more fosters, more volunteers, and more donations. We can only take as many animals as we can handle. We also don’t want to grow too big. We pride ourselves on offering very good “customer service.” We try and guide each adopter through the adoption experience and beyond. That takes time to get to know the cat or dog, and time to find the home where he/she belongs.
3. How do you find your motivation?
Motivation isn’t hard at all. Every day we see pictures of animals behind cage bars who are there through no fault of their own. Many of them come with heartbreaking stories. There’s also nothing better than getting some licks and purrs of appreciation.
4. Your advice for people who want to buy pets instead of adopting them?
We are euthanizing over a million animals each year. Before you “buy” a pet, check out your local rescue and/or shelter. A reputable rescue organization will work with you to make sure it’s a good fit between you and the cat or dog. They will also take the animal back if it doesn’t work out. There are many rescue myths out there that just aren’t true. Many people think rescued animals are behavior problems. Nothing could be further from the truth. Often it’s a mismatch between the home and the pet (i.e. high energy dog in a condo situation). Some people are convinced they need to buy a dog because of allergies. There are dogs of all sizes, shapes, ages, and breeds in rescues and shelters. Give that a try first and help be part of the solution to “save them all.”
You can get in touch with PetConnect Rescue on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, where you can learn more about their mission. We’d love to start a chat on pet rescuing and adoption down below, so share your thoughts in the comments.