Harder than having to look at the terrified eyes and having to smell the stench of their mange and the poop in the matted fur around their raw and oh so tender backside.
Harder than seeing them cower in a corner because they have been so badly abused in the past they have no reason to expect anything different.
Harder than cleaning up the puddles because they urinate out of fear every time someone looks at them.
Harder than shaving them to the skin because they are so horribly matted they could never be combed.
Harder than finding festering sores or even broken limbs under all that matted fur.
Harder than cleaning their poop off the floor or out of their crate because nobody ever cared enough to teach them about going outside.
Harder than seeing them frightened by grass because they have spent their lives on wire floored cages.
Harder than smelling their rotten breath because their diet has been so bad their teeth are all destroyed.
Harder than watching them bump into walls because they are blind from the ammonia stench in the lower puppy mill cages.
Harder than hearing the vet say, "There's not really anything we can do."
The list could go on forever.
None of this comes close to being as hard as letting them go once they are whole again.
But it is all part of doing rescue. If we kept them all we would eventually run out of space and there would be no room for the next one who needs us. Therefore we have to let go.
Animal rescue is one of the most heartbreaking jobs in the world and there are not enough people doing it. Our hearts will be broken again and again.
We are horribly outnumbered by the animal abusers, irresponsible owners, greedy breeders and the like.
But then, there is the reward. Seeing the most disheveled, terrified, emaciated animal blossom into a loving, beautiful, loyal, healthy, confident creature.
They look into your eyes and you know.
It is worth doing over and over and over.