The unsung heroes of the rescue world are undoubtedly the long-suffering husbands, partners, children, and friends of those who are part of the rescue world work force.
My husband is one of the most tolerant, since his life is inevitably entwined in the mire of rescue work through me. Obviously no kind of pre-nuptial agreement could have warned him how our home and marriage would be shared with 100’s of small creatures, and how he would become a rescuer widower over the years. He is rarely an enthusiastic volunteer, but rather the volunteered muscle, chauffeur, administrative assistant, accountant or tough love therapist. He will take on the shopping duty when the refrigerator contains nothing but greenery, and he believes the rest of the family deserves a home-cooked meal. He is the laundry pro when the human clothes take on a life-form of their own and threaten to break out of the bedroom and creep towards the kitchen, even though the animal laundry is being done with admirable efficiency on a regular basis.
My husband has driven many miles at night or in the early mornings to transport or pick up animals in need (often without me) since I am needed at base camp to “take care of business”. He has accepted vacation planning to include visits to animal shelters and the pick up or drop off of rescues along the way. Vacations are often planned apart since one responsible adult needs to stay behind with the animals. Fond farewells are frequent and days by hotel pools are spent trying to remember if the person we married really exists and what they are looking like these days.
He accepts most weekends as the loneliest time since adoption events will take precedence above all. Date nights have to be booked weeks in advance to have any chance of success. In reality, date nights often include a verbal competition about who is the most exhausted and a race to see who starts snoring first on the couch! He basks in the sympathetic glow from comments about his long-suffering lifestyle from visitors and friends. He is also the first to jump to my defense, puff out his chest, and step in to defend me when needed. He picks up the pieces of my heart when I am distraught over an animal or situation, and keeps me from going completely off the deep end, which is frequently just a step away. Strong arms hold me when my own strength is totally wiped out, and he reminds me that I am actually part of the human race and not part of the rodent family.
My rescue husband asks when “retirement” from my preferred volunteer profession will happen, citing daily overtime and below minimum wage as good reasons for consideration. Silence is a strong reply. I would not count my rescue husband as a dedicated animal lover, yet have been surprised at times how he has risen to an animal task in order to help me. A vet enlightened me once, saying my husband does not do what he does because he loves the animals, he does it because he loves me.