I founded Demi’s Animal Rescue at the age of 14. The response I got from the public was extremely mixed. I got a lot of, “Wow, you’re so young and doing amazing things!”
I also got a lot of people that thought I wasn’t experienced or smart enough to handle the issue of pet homelessness.
One experience in particular really got to me. A blog writer heard about what I was doing and asked if she could write a blog post about me, to help spread the news about my new organization. I was very excited and happily agreed! The blog came out and I shared it with all of my friends and family, and saw it as a very big deal! As I began reading through the comments, on this post, my excitement quickly turned into horror. One lady in particular said something along the lines of, “Why in the world would anyone allow a 14 year old to help out with such an important issue, such as pet homelessness. She could easily make it worse.”
I was understandably hurt, but decided to write out a very professional response. I explained to her that although I am still learning, I had worked in animal rescue with other organizations before. I sent her my adoption process and applications. I also left her my phone number and told her she could call me with any questions and I would be happy to explain to her my process for doing things. She never responded to me, which is fine.
Another HUGE struggle I had was finding veterinarians to work with me. I got out a list of all of the vets in the area and called them one by one asking them if they offered discounts for rescue groups. I obviously sounded extremely young, and they would commonly ask my age. I told them and they would literally laugh in my face and refuse to work with me.
I found ONE vet willing to work with me and they believed in me. They took the time to teach me a little more about cat health (at the time we only did cats). They soon after went out of business and I was only a hair older and went through the same discouraging process again.
That is when I found Dr. Rice from Three Peaks Veterinary. He believed in me even more so and we still work with him to this day! He has taught me so much and has helped us out, cost-wise quite a bit!
My point to writing about this is that it was REALLY, REALLY hard getting this organization started…. But I never gave up and that was largely due to the people that DID believe in me. Yes, I didn’t start off doing everything right, but there were a lot of things that I did do right and a lot of animals I did save. I still talk to the owners of the animals I adopted out in that first year, and they were some of the best adopters we have ever had.
I also want to say THANK YOU to everyone that did believe in me, taught me, supported me, and stuck with me. I don’t know if I would’ve been able to keep going without you!