Keeping the end game in sight

Jim Morrison was right …. people ARE strange… at least some of them anyway. And nowhere is that more evident than in the excuses offered in the ‘free to a good home’ section of the dreaded free online site. Do they just wake up one morning and realize they really didn’t think the whole plan through? The backyard breeders and the pet stores didn’t worry whether they had decent dog training skills … or enough experience to understand the type of commitment they were making.
No sir … the folks who were too careless or too cheap or too darned stupid to spay the cat didn’t ask anyone if they were planning on having children, moving or even if their landlord allowed pets.
Nope … there is nothing in any of the no questions asked pet ownership options that will protect the animals from the spur of the moment decisions. There is a chicken and egg aspect to the free online site that keeps perpetuating the whole horrible cycle.
As a rule, long term volunteers tend to find their niche based on their interests. So it should come as no surprise that the folks who work animal rescue often relate better to the animals than to people. Nor are their opinions likely to improve in the course of their rescue work.
Nope …. animal rescue is a labour of love and of course the rescuers will be the animals’ best advocates.
At the end of the day, however, its important to remember that the longer each rescued pet lingers in safe sanctuary, the harder life is for those who cannot find ‘room at the inn”
What is the end game for every animal rescuer? Is it not to find “Forever Homes’ for those they have saved? Of course it is. And do that, animal rescuers have to find a way not to let their experiences with animal abusers prejudice their opinions about potential adopters.
Successful businesses understand the value of customer service. For animal rescue groups and shelters … it is paramount. Adopters, after all, aren’t just the folks with the Forever Homes. They are potential supporters, future volunteers and each and every one of them is an ambassador for animal rescue.
Are lengthy detailed application forms and dire warnings about the cost and commitment of responsible pet ownership good customer service? Do the forms need to be so intimidating when there is ALWAYS an interview? When vet checks are always done? When landlord checks are carried out?
The pre adoption interview can be a great education tool as well, and not just an opportunity to ferret out the folks who won’t go the distance. In many cases, people are kind and compassionate and simply do not know the ropes. Treating potential adopters like teenage shoplifters is definitely not good customer service.
What time is it? Its time to recognise that great pet owners are made, not born … instead of sending them off to perpetuate the cycle where the curbside guarantee offers no ‘customer support’

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