Rescue Ink with Denise Flaim. Viking. $25.95.
This fast-moving and unforgettable rescue journey is packed with resilience and resourcefulness amidst a torrent of emotions. Flaim’s colorful mosaic of all 10 characters blends tightly while enabling the reader to get a grip and understanding of each individual’s passion and commitment for the challenge facing him and the others on each call-out.
Unless you live in the Northeast or are a regular National Geographic Channel viewer (“Rescue Ink Unleashed” premiered Sept. 25) you might not be acquainted with these guys. But by the time you’ve finished, you’ll be wishing they had a chapter in your area. With names like Joe, Johnny O, Batso, Big Ant, Angel, Eric, Des, Bruce, G and Robert and a background of tattoos, obedient pit bulls and motorcycle meets, they definitely get your attention.
As they met, each discovered a common passion of animal welfare and they began working together on Long Island, N.Y., in 2008 to rescue abused animals and fighting animal neglect, all within the confines of the law. The nonprofit organization has its own web site, too, www.rescueink.org.
Rescue Ink complements both private and municipal animal-welfare organizations with its imposing physiques and fast-growing connections. Flaim, a former Newsday reporter, notes, “Lost causes are Rescue Ink’s specialty: A cat stranded atop a 60-foot tall tree. A duck separated from its flock in a drainage ditch. A family of pigs whose elderly owner can no longer care for them. A Rottweiler left to slowly starve in a suburban backyard. … there probably aren’t many (rescue groups) whose appearance alone prompts police to request a backup SWAT-style team when they respond to a call from a homeowner freaked out at the muscle power gathered on his front lawn.”
“We like it when the abusers call the police, because we’ve got nothing to hide and we’re following the law,” says founding member Johnny O. “It also puts them on the cops’ radar screen – and that’s what we want. “
This volume is full of memorable rescue accounts. Everyone will have his or her own favorites. Mine are the 150-plus cat rescue from incredible filth and stench of one home, and the incredible behavioral and physical transformation of Rebel, a red-nosed pit bull that wandered into a garage in Murray, Ky., with its ears ripped off, leaving ragged ribbons of cartilage framing his skull. He most likely was a former bait dog for a dog-fighting ring.
Packed with confrontation and frustration, “Rescue Ink” delivers with an imposing pedigree and glittering hard edge on a treacherous psychological landscape.