Becky Rice fell in love with Australian Shepherds twenty years ago when a puppy called Gypsy won her heart. After volunteering for shelters and rescue. she decided to start her own – and Aussie Rescue San Diego was born. Becky is what every rescuer needs to be – passionate, and committed – one of TPM’s Pet Rescue RockStars.
TPM asked Becky Rice to share her thoughts on pet rescue by answering our 10 Rescue RockStar questions.
TPM: Can you tell us about your very first pet rescue?
My first rescue was a lovely little blue merle Aussie that had been tied to a tree in the back yard of her home for almost a year. Aussies are not known for being calm and quiet. They need a job and a family who will guide them. The family who purchased her did not understand the Aussie breed.
She was one of the best dogs I have ever owned, and one of the smartest. She helped me make the decision to begin rescue work.
What’s the best part of working in pet rescue?
The wonderful homes we are able to find for the great dogs we take in through rescue. Many who stay in touch for years through pictures and updates.
What are your biggest challenges?
Finding enough foster homes for all the dogs who are in need of rescue.
It is very difficult to have to say no to a dog who needs exiting through our shelter system. We have been fortunate to have many foster family’s volunteer to do this very important aspect of rescue, but that is our biggest challenge.
What are some of the misconceptions about the work you do in rescue?
Some people assume that rescue dogs all have behavioral or medical issues. This is far from the truth.
We exit some wonderful pure breed dogs through the shelters and many great dogs are relinquished by owners.
When things get tough, what inspires you and keeps you going in pet rescue?
Knowing that for every disappointment there are 10 times as many happy endings.
Do you have any advice for people who want to get involved in pet rescue?
Create a network of volunteers – doctors – and have some financial resources to help get off to a good start. There are several bends in the road when starting but they can be overcome.
Outside of pet rescue, what do you think are the most effective ways to help animals and to protect them from abuse?
I believe that a strong spay and neuter program to keep the pet population down is a start. That and educating people.
How about your own pets. Can you tell us about them?
I have a love affair with Aussies! I have owned them for the last 20 years. I now have two. A beautiful red tri, Lucky, who accompanies me when I evaluate a dog to bring into rescue. And a double merle, Pearl. Pearl is deaf and blind. She has been with us since she was 6 weeks and is a great little dog.
We usually have at least 4-6 foster dogs here also. So our home is always a happy place!
Who do you admire most in the world? Another animal advocate, or somebody else?
That’s a tough one… I would have to say the staff at all of our three county shelters. They face some very difficult situations daily. Yet they are always grateful for any help we as a rescue can provide.
A person who was very helpful when I started our rescue, Nancy Heitel, is someone I have a lot of respect for. She has a never ending well of compassion for all things living. She has been one of our biggest supporters.
What’s the best way people can help you and your efforts directly?
Volunteering for one of many positions within our rescue.
Some of Becky Rice’s & Aussie Rescue San Diego Rescue Dogs:
For more inspiring stories of pet rescuers, see TPMs Pet Rescue RockStars page.