Time to Stop Waiting for the Train ….

I love putting together the holiday parcel every year for my daughter and her family!    What’s not to love?   The challenge of picking presents that will ‘travel’ well is easily offset by the fun of wrapping and fitting it all together like a 3D puzzle 🙂

Even better is the opportunity to send along all the little promised bits that the kids will find new uses for.   Best of all of course is that the whole process has become woven into the new family traditions my daughter has created for her own home!

Wouldn’t it be easier to send gift cards?   Online gift certificates?   Of course it would … but … sometimes there is simply no substitute for ‘the real thing’!

At the end of the day … our labours of love really do define us as human beings.   We do not get paid for the time we spend parenting … for laundry and homework and grounding ourselves as well as our children while we are laying down the law.

Like ever so many other things in life, some of our most meaningful ‘life’ work falls under the category of unpaid labour.  As Winston Churchill once said, “we make a living by what we earn … we make a life by what we give”, eh?

The Yarmouth SPCA Branch has been struggling for some time.  It is a day late and a dollar short to rehash all the reasons why.   This is not the time for finger pointing and coulda, woulda, shoulda’s.    The short version is that this is an unprecedented situation that cannot hope to be addressed in any conventional way.

This is not ‘secret’ or confidential information.   The last two publicly available online minutes posted for the provincial board have devoted considerable time to this subject.

Therefore, I would like to offer the following drastic suggestions for the consideration of the society in general and the branch in specific:

#1.   Revoke the branch’s independent status and change the branch to a satellite under the direct control of provincial.   Ideally this should be for a fixed, renewable period that could be negotiated when the branch is back on the right path.    Why do I suggest this?   Judging by the lack of fundraising effort on the part of the board, it is clear that they are still expecting a Deus ex machina from somebody instead of realistically rolling up their sleeves.    Someone should have told them long ago that the only difference between volunteer and paid work is the salary, eh?

What would this do?     It would allow the society to maintain the animal control commitments, at least until a proper, life saving  exit strategy could be negotiated with the town.   Furthermore, it would provide an opporunity to put proper sheltering protocols in place.      Lets face it, cutting back services and intake is not the same thing as proactively fundraising, eh?

#2.    Find the funding for a temporary shelter manager .   In 2006, when Yarmouth had fiscal problems that were a direct result of the commuting (to the Beulah Burman Shelter in Shelbourne) costs while the Yarmouth shelter was closed by the Dept of Labour, the local MLA found provincial funding to alleviate the cost ( $10,000 according to the 2006 annual report)   There IS an experienced shelter manager with a proven track record of turning things around who was mysteriously not asked to come back after the big frou frau in Kings this year, eh?   ( The very sticky  subject of how someone on the Kings Board lied and told Provincial that she did not want to come back is a testy topic for another day,eh?)

#3.   Make ALL board meetings for the branch / satellite open to all the public.   Engaging the community is always the best way to garner support!

#4.   Publish all branch statistics on the branch web page and the Facebook page …. including all AC intake from the moment the animal is impounded.  As Cape Breton found out, its much easier to get public support and volunteers with real honest to gawd No Kill.   By the same token,  Publish all financial donations on the site and the Facebook page!  

#5  Last but not least …. invite former board members and volunteers to help!   Not everyone will step up .. but it is the worst sort of poor community relations to ignore anyone who has played a role in past successes.

What time is it?   It is always time to think outside the box before throwing in the towel.

Neither a wise man nor a brave man lies down on the tracks of history to wait for the train of the future to run over him.  Dwight D. Eisenhower

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