Thursday, January 5, 2012

In praise of pullng out all the stops .....

My Mother would never play Scrabble with me!    Bless her heart, she insisted that Scrabble was not meant to be a tactical game and that it really wasn't very "nice" of me to position words that blocked the possibilities for her :)
There are parts of the No Kill Equation that some in the rescue community do not think are very "nice".  I am of course referring to the more aggressive adoption strategies that are necessary in order to adopt the way to No Kill
The debate has heated up now that PJ's Pets and Pets Unlimited are hosting satellite adoption centers instead of peddling puppy and kitten mill 'products'.   Well intentioned hearts are worried that same day adoptions do not properly protect the pets.   That pets will suffer by being kept overnight in a satellite adoption center instead of snugly in a foster home.   
Well meaning hearts truly believe that all committed pet owners will cheerfully wait for days while applications are considered and checked and approved.  That offsite adoptions can even be equated with promoting irresponsible pet ownership.
Unfortunately for the animals, not every good pet owner is interested in going to a shelter.   Potential first time adopters are like any rookies ... full of concerns and misconceptions about the whole process.   Some  simply want the opportunity to meet the adoptables in a pressure free environment that does not involve filling out an application.
Here in the real world, animal rescue still has to compete with the pet stores that still sell pets and the free online ad sites for good pet homes.  Why do people continue to shop in these venues when the risks are so well advertised?  Because it is easy and simple of course.
Here in the real world, it does the animals a disservice to make pet adoption adoption difficult.  And before the keyboards catch on fire that certainly does not mean that adopters should not be screened.
It simply means that if references can be checked, there is no reason that same day approval should be a bad thing.   Perhaps .. if there were rescue slots for everyone ... if there were no Unnecessary Unhappy Tails waiting for all those who cannot 'find room at the inn' .... then there would be no need for offsite adoptions.
Not every animal is lucky enough to wait for their 'lucky day' in a comfy foster home.   Well cared for pets in properly run shelters, do not have volunteers and staff on deck 24 / 7, eh?
When I called about adopting Morgan from SHAID, I was fully prepared to jump through all the same hoops as I had when I adopted Miss Ruby.   Instead I was told that their policy was to keep the cat adoption process simple.  Apparently, they had discovered that folks kind enough to choose cat adoption over the ever so easier 'free to a good home' option were not in the habit of returning adoptables.
It was easy and simple and quick.   I brought a carrier.  I signed a contract. I paid the adoption fee.    I brought Morgan home!    As a matter of fact, I drove all the way to Bridgewater for my mighty mini Morgan!
Since starting on their New Path, the society has worked hard to make cat adoption simpler .. and at least at the Provincial Shelter it is so!   They understand that in a world where there are at least eight cats for every dog in rescue ... in a world where there are well over a dozen waiting for every available cat rescue slot .... that it is simply not humane to go with too rigid an adoption procedure for cats.   
As a result, their cat adoption rate has skyrocketed!
What time is it?  While it is never, ever time to throw out the baby with the bathwater, it is always time to remember that the ultimate end game is to help every homeless pet have their own 'lucky day'.    At the end of the day, that is not limited to those already safely in care ... but includes all the ones who are dying for a chance to be rescued!
And that is how I see it on Thursday, January 5th ... the FIFTIETH day since the dismissed shelter manager and the disbanded board created the renegade shelter.

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