Every gardener has their own particular impossible dream. In my case, its a lovely sweep of hostas flowing along the edge of the woods to the upper pond. Why is that so out of reach for an experienced gardener like myself?
For years I could not figure out what was happening to the hostas. They'd get off to a great start and then almost overnight they would vanish. Finally, I went rummaging around online for the answer and discovered that deer like hostas every bit as much as I do.
Behind every good garden is a plan b, so the remaining hostas now prosper in a raised bed right by the house and there is a lovely long sweep of day lilies in their original spot.
Plan B always makes the difference between the impossible dream and the achievable objective. The ability to shift gears and find a plan that works is one of the lynch pins of the No Kill Equation. It was only when determined directors changed shelter practices that they were able to move away from the myth that there would never be enough homes.
When I found out the facts and wrapped my mind around a different way of doing things, I was able to have both my hostas and the lovely long low maintenance garden to greet visitors to my yard.
Like any other successful plan, the road to a No Kill Community takes a lot of different components. While its wonderful to have so many No Kill rescues in the province ... while its super that the society has embraced No Kill .... the actual path to No Kill will have to engage Animal Control as well.
In this province, that gets a little hinky, because there are as many different ways of doing business as their are municipalities. If there is one constant, it is that there is NO constant.
There are a couple of websites south of the border that represent great examples of how volunteers CAN help animal control. Not by doing unpaid work but by trying to promote the adoption of the pets in AC care.
The first one is run by dedicated volunteers in Georgia. Athenspet.net faithfully lists every dog ( and now every cat as well ) that is impounded by Athens County Animal Control A volunteer comes in and takes a few lovely pics of each pet and writes up an appealing little bio. So how is that different from a Petfinder bio or say for instance the lovely web site that Homeward Bound Pound has?
Its different because nothing is sugar coated. Even better .. this is being done with the full cooperation and blessing of the county AC.
When dogs' time is up .. that's right out there. When dogs are killed... that's clearly stated. When there are behaviour or health issues, dogs are only available to rescues and yes .. you got it .. that's listed too.
There are no mysteries. Nothing is glossed over. Regular visitors to the site KNOW whether a dog has been adopted, transferred to a rescue or has been killed.
This site has save a LOT of lives by NOT trying to pretend that everything is just peachy keen. Just imagine what would happen if any of our own municipal animal controls would let volunteers have a site or a face book group like that, eh?
Of course that would involve some of that darned transparency that so many at all levels of government seem to be so allergic too, eh?
The Second site that I REALLY love is an award winning one that saves lives on a broader canvas south of the border. Dogs In Danger has a pretty cool premise. Shelters sign up with them and the shelter volunteers have their own accounts so that they can list their animals ... including the scheduled day for the dog to die. ( I'm sorry but I still refuse to use euphemisms ... dogs are not put to sleep ... they're not going to 'wake up' ... dead is dead)
The site has been running for three years now and they don't sugar coat things either ... when the dogs reach their scheduled day ... the are moved over to the memorial section.
This type of thing is the way that volunteers can really help the pets in animal control. Its a Plan B that promises a lot more successful outcomes for the animals than the status quo.
Not of course that we know what the status quo is ... instead of being freely available to tax paying Nova Scotia voters, its swimming in a murky sea that will need Freedom of Information requests to bring to light. ( The subject of how backed up the underfunded Freedom of Information office currently is begs a whole different post on a separate day, hmmmm? )
What time is it? If Animal Control is looking for an appropriate way for volunteers to help the animals, letting them shine a little light on the picture would be an excellent place to start.
We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light. Plato