Fear Not the Bite of Doing Right

Dear Fellow Rescuers (you know who you are),

It does not matter if you rescue abused dogs or wounded humans, some things are the same.

If you are going to be a rescuer, which is a most noble cause, expect to be bitten. We all know that if an animal is scared and has been abused, regardless of our intention, he may bite us. This is not a reflection of the creature, it is a reflection of the fear. It also is not reflection of us.

But we must be prepared.

I do not rescue dogs or cats but I have been around them my entire life. In theory, I, like many of you, “rescue” human beings and sometimes they bite out of fear too. Yet most people do not understand that scared, battered human beings sometimes behave in much the same way as abused animals. Perhaps it is not their teeth they bite with but rather their words and actions, which can hurt just as deeply.

So if you have been bitten, clean your wounds. Wrap them and protect them so they can heal but do not question if trying to rescue the creature was right. It was. Even if you made mistakes, it was right. And just because he or she bit you, does not define the efforts or the outcome. It was a moment. It was driven by fear.

With that said, if you have been bitten by someone, it is ok to choose not to keep putting your hand in front of their mouth. As rescuers, we often feel that we have failed if we walk away but unlike when dealing with animals, the person you are trying to help does have some accountability. No one should expect you to self sacrifice over and over again. Try not to be mean but know that it is ok if you have to walk away from someone.

Of course I don’t really “rescue” people, at least that is not how I see it but I do see the similarities. I do try to help whenever I can. Sometimes it backfires. Sometimes it is painful and hard. Yet I have never regretted doing what I believed was right. Never. Even in the times I was bitten (which has definitely happened many times).

Be Brave. Be Well.