Undercutting the competition

Its been a beautiful week and that has made it a great time for many things … from wrapping up the last bits in the garden to sharing the dogs enjoyment in their new play yard. As always, this year my garden to do list ambitions have exceeded my grasp …. not surprising when I am at liberty to spend as much time as I want walking and hiking with the dogs.
I am a middle aged grandmother … so if I am not always wiser, I am at least old enough to understand it is rarely possible to accomplish everything at once. The hardware kit for the gazebo/outdoor kitty room will still be there in the spring. The nursery will still be selling fruit trees next spring to convert the garden on the hill to the worlds smallest fruit orchard. And it will be just as easy to transplant the perennial herbs that I started from seed to their permanent digs next spring.
I’m not quite so prosaic about the changes that are needed to make a better world for the animals. But at fifty-five years of age, I do understand that the necessary legislation simply isn’t going to happen overnight.
Does that mean that nothing can be done in the interim? Of course not … while we are advocating for better laws …. there is more that can be done at the ground level for the animals right now.
Why do people still shop at pet stores? With all the information about puppy mills and backyard breeders, how can they still go in and shop? The plain unvarnished truth is that the majority of folks neither know .. nor to be perfectly honest … care about animal welfare issues.
Its not that people aren’t compassionate. Its not that they don’t care. It is simply that there are just so very many different causes and needs out there that the animals often slide to the bottom of people’s priority lists. Child hunger, poverty, spousal abuse … its a such a hard old world out there that the animals are often overlooked.
Nor is it that people aren’t animal lovers. By best guestimates, at least half of the 350,000 households in the province either have, or are thinking of getting, a pet. Why do most of these folks fly under the animal welfare radar? Because they ARE kind … they spay or neuter their own pets and keep them for life. Safely and warmly and well cared for. There is absolutely no need for folks like that to have anything to do with animal rescue.
With all the stories that have been in the news, why do people still advertise and shop on the free online ad sites? It is just a fact of life that unless there is a personal involvement with family or friends.. most folks don’t remember the stories a month after they’re published. If you don’t believe me, just bring up Celtic Pets in conversation with someone uninvolved in the animal rescue world and see how much they remember.
To make matters worse, most folks never hear about the many, many great pets that were adopted from rescues and shelters. They hear about the ones with unaddressed behaviour issues that make the news and THAT only reinforces the urban legend that pets find their way into rescue because there is something wrong with the pet.
So while we are advocating for better laws for the animals, what can we do? We can recognize that rescue groups and shelters are in competition with pet stores and the free online ad sites for homes for their pets. What do businesses do when they have competition? They pull out all the stops when it comes to customer service. They make it as easy and comfortable as possible to be their ‘customer’.
Right here, right now, it only makes life saving sense to simplify adoption procedures. Why do so many more folks opt to take out fast food orders than to eat in the outlet? It isn’t because its any cheaper. Its because it is easier and simpler and less hassle for families to bring the food back home.
People may want to be kind, but at the end of the day they do NOT want to be inconvenienced.
Good adoption experiences are the best publicity any group or shelter can get. After all, when I adopted Ruby /Henry/ Morgan / Andy, they each became ambassadors for rescue to my friends and family. Andy in particular is an awesome spokesdog for adopting senior pets because unlike the two young dogs, there were no knots to work through and no training to be done.
What time is it? Its time to bring a little business sense to pet adoption and start undercutting the competition.

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