A little rowing lesson

Like many other gardeners, I keep a journal every year.    Why would I do that for a little home garden?    Why keep all those old seed orders and garden layouts?   For the same reason any other records are kept, eh?

To paraphrase an overworn expression, garden journals are living documents.    Like anything else in life, it is easier to lay future roadmaps if lessons learned from the past are readily available.    I never have to guess which varieties of cucumbers or carrots had the best yield.    Nor do I need to wonder which varieties of tomatoes were the most disease resistant.     At the end of the day, there is no point in making mistakes if one cannot learn from them, eh?

Do you remember how excited we all were six years ago when the society started publishing their statistics?    When they were working so hard to start down a brave new path, what better way to measure their progress?    Really it was almost frosting on the cake  for them to be making their monthly provincial board meeting minutes readily available online!

Gosh .. it was like sugar on top when their ‘new’ website began offering up space for the branches to publish their own board meetings online!

Now this is the point where people are going to want to throw things at their computer screens.    Somewhere along the line last year, the society stopped publishing their statistics!   Why did I not say anything then?    Well … and no snickering please .. in the spirit of fair play, I did not want to make their leadership transition more difficult than it already was.

As of this writing, the last animal care statistics for the society stop at June of last year.   Anything after that is a complete and utter mystery!    Now to be fair, in the fine print, the society is still telling us that they are a No Kill organization.    But we are going to have to take that on faith, eh?

Are they still keeping statistics ?    One would hope!     Will we ever see them?   Perhaps …. after all, the society has recently updated its online provincial board minutes to include this year’s meetings.    Maybe statistics are simply next on the do list.

How about the branch board meetings?    How up to date are they?    Assuming they have been meeting regularly since Oct 2013 .. not any better.   As a matter of fact, three branches never did bother publishing meetings – Lunenburg, Queens and Yarmouth.

There seems to be a culture within the society that is at best reluctant and at worst actually afraid to admit mistakes and shortcomings.    When everyday folk outside the organization complain or query,  all too often the wagons are still circled in familiar fashion.     Sadly, there was a reason we used to refer to the SPCA as the society for the prevention of criticism to the administration.

But I am wandering afield, as I am often wont to do in my meandering way.   The point that I am trying to make today is that… in the society’s case …  transparency is an invaluable tool that can help generate support.    If the born again enthusiasm for the revenue generated by animal control contracts has created a problem with live release rates … those numbers could be used to recruit fosters!   To inspire adopters even!

More importantly, in a province where rescues move heaven and earth to rescue dogs on death row hundreds and hundreds of miles away, a little transparency would help to save more dogs at risk right here in Nova Scotia.   Good golly, cat statistics ( including those refused admission) could be invaluable when talking to politicians about the urgent need for spay neuter!

Best of all of course is that in a world where the society is seen as the official voice for the animals in this province,  more transparency would be the best possible public relations exercise!

What time is it?   It is always time to remember that transparency’s evil stepsister, secrecy, will only ever inspire suspicion and mistrust.

No member of a crew is praised for the rugged individuality of his rowing.  Ralph Waldo Emerson

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