I have such deep admiration, respect, and appreciation for people who dedicate their lives to animal rescue. Countless (sleepless) hours devoted to coordinating the movement of an animal at risk to a place of safety and hope. It’s such rewarding work!
With an honest heart, I must however admit that I’m growing discouraged. Between our two campuses, we have 469 cats and 335 dogs looking for new homes. Some of these animals are seniors, others needing continued behavioral work, some recovering from costly medical procedures we’ve provided, others who have been with us waiting patiently for months… but mostly there are just hundreds of wonderful, regular animals hopeful that someone will love them enough to take them home…soon.
When I see so much energy being placed on saving dogs and cats from TX, OK, NY, or anywhere in between, I can’t help but think of the animals in my shelters begging for help. I can’t help but wish with all my heart that focus wasn’t on helping pets in other places when the pets in our own community need us… we’re the hometown team!
In fact, despite always being full, we are often asked to help with these out-of-state animals… and there are so many times we do. The very core of who we are is helping people and pets in need. We never want to see an animal needlessly lose their life, especially when we know we can help. So we, too, extend an arm of assistance to help these animals. But we need help too!
Sure, our animals aren’t at risk of losing their lives due to space or their “time” being up… I get it. The beauties of No-Kill (and by the way, I much more prefer the positive language “life-saving” or “life-saving guarantee”) far outweigh the flaws, but boy, does being a life-saving organization put you at risk of everyone thinking everything’s okay. In essence, you become less in need of help – the “urgency” has been abandoned because we aren’t publishing lists that animals are going to die. We are the easiest to be forgotten.
But herein lies the question/thought… our animals may not be at risk of losing their lives for space, but shouldn’t the concern of them losing their minds, their spirit, their hope be equally as important? Is not the same outcome possible for animals who reach that point? Shouldn’t we all be working together to prevent them from reaching that point? Sure, they have a safe place. They are warm, fed, walked and provided top-notch medical care, but they need so much more. They need a home! Few things trouble those of us in this field more than having to euthanize a pet who just can’t handle shelter life. There are certainly worse things that could happen to an animal than a humane death (being abused, neglected, traumatic untreated injuries, etc), but boy, is it heartbreaking to lose them to shelter stress.
When we were considering taking on a second campus in Independence, there was an outpouring of support and commitment to help us through volunteer efforts, financial contributions, rescue support, market awareness, etc. Sadly, we haven’t seen the level of commitment/involvement promised come to fruition. People see our beautiful shelters and again think, everything’s okay there. I’m going to help those who “really” need it. Guess what folks… WE are the ones who REALLY need it! 335 dogs and 469 cats waiting and hoping… and more who need us that have to wait until we have more room.
Don’t let the pretty buildings, the advanced medical care we can provide, and the “no-kill” solution fool you into thinking everything is “okay.” It’s not! We need the community’s help this year more than ever before. Animals are entering our Missouri campus at alarming (increased) rates that far exceed the funding we are being provided through our management contract to care for them. More adopters, fosters, and rescues are desperately needed – DESPERATELY needed! We simply CANNOT do it without help – don’t let the “Great Plains SPCA can do it” mantra fool you… we can’t do it alone! And just think, the more help we get to move our pets, the more we CAN help other animals, providing them with the state-of-the-art care they deserve.
Please, don’t assume that “no-kill = everything’s okay” and shift your focus elsewhere. Your hometown team, your hometown shelter, and the nearly 1,000 animals inside need you… And they need you TODAY!
There are lots of ways you can help our needy animals – we need volunteers to provide a variety of services, some of which can be done from the comfort of your own home! Even if it is only a few hours a week, we need your help! Click here to learn more about our volunteering needs, and if you don’t see what you’re looking for, email our volunteer team and we will find a way for you to help. If you cannot donate your time, donate your dollars! If you cannot donate your dollars, donate in-kind items! Every little bit helps – and every little bit counts towards a future where our homeless and needy pets are no longer in crisis. Let’s do this – let’s have a greater impact for ALL the animals who need us by working more together.
Who’s ready? Who will make the commitment?
In 2014, I will be sharing more of my thoughts about animal rescue in Kansas City and what is going on at Great Plains SPCA, so stay tuned!