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Joel is very correct...I can't tell you the number of applicants I have had at the veterinary hospital that focus on their "love of animals" as the primary reason for wanting to work at the clinic. During the interview, when I mentioned how much interaction with people needs to occur, the look of disappointment in the applicant's eyes was almost too much to bear! This posting is not only important for shelters and rescues, but ANYONE who is trying to help animals (veterinarians included). We simply must be cognizant of the impression we are giving to potential adopters, rescuers, pet owners, clients, etc in any of our communications. Although technology has driven people to expect answers in an immediate time frame and this is fairly unrealistic for most volunteer organizations, there are still MUCH better ways of handling emails and phone calls than what Brent and others have described here. As was mentioned above, it's time to move into the 21st century and realize that successful adoption events and rescues need to have client focused volunteers.
Toggle Commented Sep 8, 2011 on Thanks for emailing at KC DOG BLOG
Happy birthday! As has been said above, your objectiveness and your fairness to so many different topics are the top reason that I and so many other people return so frequently. Looking forward to another 5 ( or 50!) years!
Toggle Commented Aug 26, 2011 on KC Dog Blog Turns 5 at KC DOG BLOG
Kathy...I will say the same thing to you that I told Troy. An attitude that assumes you know better how to care for animals than the majority of the public hurts and hinders the whole process of getting animals into homes. You have likely seen some horrible cases of sheer neglect and unbelievable ignorance, but those cases do not represent the public as a whole. If we followed your thought process (the public can't be trusted to do anything right) we would need to stop people from having children, not allow cars on the streets and forbid pet ownership all together. Don't let the minority of people who haven't been educated taint your view of people in general. For the most part, people want to have a pet that can be part of the family, that they can love (and receive affection back from the pet) and they want to do the right thing for the pet. Sometimes money and other situations prevent that from happening 100% of the time, but that does not make everyone unworthy of owning a pet. My suggestion...if you have the knowledge that will help people take better care of their pets, SHARE IT...don't pigeon hole every person without a fence or all single moms as bad risks for owning a pet. Take the time to get to know the individual/family and HELP THEM find the pet that fits their needs and desires.
Toggle Commented Aug 12, 2011 on Loving homeless pets to death at KC DOG BLOG
Here is the link showing that a good percentage of people thinking of getting a pet would chose rescue or a shelter: http://www.maddiesfund.org/Resource_Library/The_Shelter_Pet_Project_By_the_Numbers.html
Toggle Commented Aug 10, 2011 on Loving homeless pets to death at KC DOG BLOG
Troy...I get where you are coming from...completely. But I disagree with your outlook. You commented to Michelle that you get "one or two great candidates, one or two possibles and the rest are complete morons". If I had my employees at the veterinary clinic exhibit attitudes like that, I would fire them immediately and recommend that they never work anywhere where they had to deal with people and their pets. I think Nathan Winogard has said it best, it's time to change the way we look at how we "save" animals. The old ways aren't working, as he has so often described, and we need to find new and better ways to stop killing pets. Playing it safe is fine...and yes, there are times when a specific animal won't work in a specific situation (like the one you described). But, can't we view each situation as unique and each person/family as an individual instead of lumping them all in with "the morons". Let's try a different example...I recently searched for renting a home. Once most landlords hear that I have a Mastiff, they cringe, throw up all sorts of legal roadblocks and objections WITHOUT EVER LOOKING AT ME (AND THE DOG) AS INDIVIDUALS. One place wanted me to make sure the dog was specifically named in the liability coverage of my insurance and it needed to be for half a million dollars. Thankfully, one property management company saw that I was a veterinary technician with an impeccable history of renting and said "no problem". We see animals injured, maimed and killed by other animals every day...you are right, but that is going to happen regardless of your efforts. The best thing we can do is do our best to educate and help people select the right animals for their situation. As for stats, isn't the fact that 17 million Americans are willing to rescue or adopt a pet enough? Wouldn't that make a huge dent in the numbers of animals that need homes or even eliminate it entirely? (I will find the link to that study and post shortly) I don't really think you and I (and the others commenting here) are really that far apart. You bring up valid points for strongly suggesting a potential adopter not take a specific animal (exhibited predatory behavior towards small animals as an example and the adopter has multiple cats), but many of the examples cited here are for less serious reasons. If I could make one small suggestion though...please take to heart my comment about thinking the pet owning public are all morons and that they bear the lion's share of the blame. That attitude can only lead to continued and growing hatred and that is not good.
Toggle Commented Aug 10, 2011 on Loving homeless pets to death at KC DOG BLOG
Troy...I read your post and was ready to fire back an immediate reply, but it looks like Brent has made most of my points already. As a veterinary technician, someone who is actively involved with several rescue groups AND a history of working in city shelters, I can see this argument from a variety of angles and I must say that Brent and many others have absolutely made valid points. You mention that "Most adopters that have been rejected do not go to breeders; they visit a shelter or pound with less stringent adoption policies, or they check the classifieds or online ads for pets needing homes." First, what stats do you have that show "most" go to a different shelter and second, the last part of your statement actually proves Brent's points. You have an animal, you refused to adopt it because of some technicality (like the adopting person is over 70 years old) and the person went got an animal from a non-rescue source. No one says to throw all rules, regulations and guidelines out the window, but we need to temper those with some common sense and a little trust. As I have mentioned elsewhere, I would have been declined by many big dog rescues when I was looking for my Mastiff because 1) no fenced yard, 2) I have a cat and 3) at that time, I had an 18 month old toddler. Guess what Troy? Two years later, I have a fenced yard, the cat has completely intimidated the 160 lb dog and my now three year old son has a best friend that is NEVER far from his side. But, according to many groups, I was not the best fit or family for their dogs. I am not trying to sound mean and all of us here do appreciate the work that many rescue groups do. It's hard, it's time-consuming, it eats up money quickly and it's often emotionally draining. But, I don't believe that you can deny Brent's points as being valid. In order to save more animals, we need to start trusting a few more people.
Toggle Commented Aug 10, 2011 on Loving homeless pets to death at KC DOG BLOG
Kathy...those are priceless and I bet there are a lot more like those out there!
Toggle Commented Aug 9, 2011 on Loving homeless pets to death at KC DOG BLOG
Brent, as usual, I am bowing down to you and muttering "I'm not worthy"... This is an excellent post and one that needs to be shared far and wide. It's time that everyone who is concerned about animals languishing in shelters start working together to find homes for the pets. Restrictive adoption contracts and clauses about needed fenced yards and no kids and married couples only,etc etc are not helping. I understand the reasoning, but, as you said, it doesn't stop families from getting a pet, it stops them from adopting the pets that you have available. Here's my take on it, although it's no where as nice as yours!! http://forums.petdocsoncall.com/entry.php?175-Do-Some-Rescues-and-Shelter-Actually-Keep-Pets-from-Being-Saved
Toggle Commented Aug 9, 2011 on Loving homeless pets to death at KC DOG BLOG
I think there is a very key component here that is implied but not outright stated. Shelter animals (or homeless animals or abused animals) get to homes faster when the public is aware of their plight AND when proper marketing and public relations is done by the rescue/shelter needing to get animals home. Why did the animals in Joplin and Louisville get to homes so quickly? Because there's a story there. Every one of those adopters can tell their friends and family about the good deed that they did and their pet will always be "the one that survived the tornado/flood/distemper outbreak", etc, etc. I would STRONGLY encourage local shelters/rescues to develop good relationships with local media and use social media as well to help get pets home. BUT...that comes with a caveat that you are available to potential adopters at THEIR convenience (no 12-4 M-F adoption times). Just another thought... :-)
Toggle Commented Jul 8, 2011 on Whose side is "The Public" on? at KC DOG BLOG
As always, another great blog, Brent. I agree with you that microchips could have the potential to get animals back to their rightful owners more expediently, but the overall system is broken right now, with multiple chips, multiple scanners and multiple frequencies. And, I don't know either why we lean towards punitive actions...especially by creating new, sweeping laws that punish diligent pet owners because of a few isolated incidents or miscreants. The move to arbitrarily limit the number of pets people can own is just another example (http://forums.petdocsoncall.com/entry.php?171-How-Many-Pets-Can-You-Own). I too wish I had an overall answer...low cost neutering is one component, as is education, but I think that all animal welfare advocates need to sit down and realistically understand the ramifications of all the different laws and ordinances they propose.
Bravo! When we stop looking for excuses and spending our time worrying about potential problems, we can actually accomplish quite a bit. I used to experience the same thing in the veterinary hospitals...employees would create excuses for why a new protocol wouldn't work before even trying it. Thanks Brent!
Toggle Commented May 26, 2011 on Avoiding Excuses at KC DOG BLOG
As others have said, THANKS for doing the math and showing how this number can't possibly be true. I had not heard this urban legend either... Hopefully this "stat" will start going the way of the 1 pair of cats can produce 420,000 cats in 7 years "stat" as well. Anytime you see "news" or blogs that start a sentence containing a statistic with the phrase "It is said that..." or "People say that...", it's probably time for all us to step back and wonder who is really saying those things and where do the original numbers come from. Thanks again Brent!
Toggle Commented May 17, 2011 on "1 in 600 pit bulls" at KC DOG BLOG
I wholeheartedly agree with Dani...your efforts helps make it easier for the rest of us! THANK YOU!
Great topic and one that needs to be continually announced as so many dog owners don't realize the danger. I also understand that some medications are now using Xylitol in their formulations. There is also a good video on this topic at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LMEUWKC9qxk
Sarah...while I agree with your concept of re-investment, I am not sure I totally undertand your math. The proposition limits breeding females to two litters within an 18 month period. So, if a breeder with 40 females bred all of them on January 1, 2011, the earliest he/she could bred those females again and be within the legal constraints of the proposition would be June of 2012. So that's income spread over 2 years, not just 1. And, although your income figure of $100,000 sounds nice (400 puppies x $250 per puppy), I am not sure you took into account the costs associated with those puppies. Vaccination costs, veterinary care, food, etc etc all need to be deducted before implying that these breeders are making six figure incomes. You also assume that 40 females all produce ltters of 10 pups each to reach your 400 puppy mark. That's a pretty large litter for most breeds.
Brent...I have heard some reports of breeders already relinquishing dogs to shelters in record numbers...any truth to those rumors?
Thanks Brent...I guess this just goes to confirm what some of us already suspected...increased costs with no way of addressing those costs in the language of the proposition.
Toggle Commented Nov 2, 2010 on Prop B ballot language at KC DOG BLOG
Thanks Brent...I guess this just goes to confirm what some of us already suspected...increased costs with no way of addressing those costs in the language of the proposition.
Toggle Commented Nov 2, 2010 on Prop B ballot language at KC DOG BLOG
FANTASTIC synopsis! Thanks for all of the links and I hope people will take the time to educate themselves before going to the polls. Shared at PetDocsOnCall.com: http://forums.petdocsoncall.com/entry.php?121-Proposition-B-Looms-in-Missouri
Verjean...as Brent has pointed out in the past, shelters need to step up and offer a more "customer friendly" atmosphere to help entice people to come adopt. I know from my own experience while working at a rural shelter that making changes to include later hours or holding adoptions at better locations is not always received well by the powers that manage the shelter. This further proves the point that "pet overpopulation" and the number of animals that are in our shelter system can be reduced and we can reach a no kill state. One has only to look at the number of shelter pets that are transported to different states to see that the demand for these wonderful animals is there. It also shows, despite the way some organizations and individuals think, the solution to pet overpopulation is not rooted solely in stopping puppy mills or preventing pet stores from selling dogs and cats or even in making all pet owners spay and neuter...The solution needs to be a balanced approach in which breeders, pet stores, shelters, rescues, humane organizations, veterinarians, and pet loving individuals come together and help find the "homeless" pets their forever home.
Thanks for a (yet another) fantastic, well thought and well-written blog. I agree with both you and Yesbiscuit...there is no way that anyone can enforce a "resting" period between breedings. I would think the only possible way would be for someone to review all papers of the puppies born during a set period and look for the same dam. Does this bill provide for a way to pay that person to do this?? Thanks also for the mention of my thoughts too!! :-)
Brent...you are absolutely correct...both animal welfare groups and veterinarians are needed to fight this fight. The AW groups often have marketing and publicity resources (as well as volunteers to help with check in, clean up, etc) and the veterinarians have the technical expertise and the surgical skills to make it happen. There are good examples, like you cite, of this happening, but I also see examples where "low cost" spay neuter clinics are set up and little to no oversight happens to insure that low income families are truly served. One local example here in Indy never checked income levels and it quickly became a popular destination for affluent pet owners from areas to the north and west of the city. Now, maybe I shouldn't be concerned about that, after all, the pet is getting neutered and that's the real issue. But, it just seems inappropriate for someone who makes more money than the veterinarian to be asking (and receiving) low cost subsidies for their pet. After spending 14 years working in a group of veterinary hospitals and seeing the thin margins most veterinarians make on an annual basis, I might be a little defensive when I see things like "It should only cost $30). It could also be due to the fact that I saw far too many good technicians and even veterinarians leave the profession because many veterinary hospitals can't afford to provide any sort of benefits, like a retirement plan, good health insurance or even competitive wages at times. Sorry for the highjack...the real point here is that low cost neutering services can be a great source of help for the entire community. I just wish we knew of a way to export the great job you are doing in KC to much of the rest of the US (and even beyond!!).
@Yesbiscuit, I have to disagree with your statement that these surgeries need to be done for $30. The cost in supplies is close to that (if not higher, depending on types of anesthetics used, etc) and the cost of payroll needs to be factored in as well. $30 might be a good price for neutering a cat or a dog, but when a 120lb, 5 yr old Rottweiler female (who is in heat) comes in for her surgery, that $30 isn't going to go very far! We also don't view our pets in the same way as we did 25 years ago. 25 years ago, pain relief medication (another cost)for a spay or neuter was unheard of...now, it's almost malpractice NOT to use pain relieving drugs. 25 years ago, veterinarians could still be found doing surgeries without any attending assistants or technicians. I agree with low cost spay/neuter options, but I feel that often veterinarians are asked to "donate" a much larger share than the pet owner or the public at large.
Thanks Brent...it's so great to hear good news about these dogs and I so appreciate you letting us know!
Toggle Commented Aug 14, 2010 on The Changing Narrative at KC DOG BLOG
Another great post Brent... Unfortunately, addressing Nokillhouston's concern, most media outlets do have an agenda and so your comment about "handing them the "whys" " is very valid. Their agenda might be as simple as gaining more views or viewers (readers) and thus important details (like the "whys") will get glossed over in the interest of sensationlism. Other times, the reporter may have the agenda and will only be looking for a quote that can be spun in the wrong direction. Sadly, we, the news reading public, are to blame for this. We don't care enough about the "good" stories of the day to make it worthwhile for the news to focus on them. We eagerly gobble up sensational stories and ask for more. Like Brent said, many people don't ask the right questions and therefore, the stories are allowed to fade away, even when the initial story was less than accurate. We can change this by utilizing social media to question these stories (as Brent does every day). Repost blogs like this, discuss how things went awry and make sure you use the name of the paper or the station that aired the original story. Eventually, when enough people had questioned their news gathering abilities, that media outlet will do a search on themselves and see the errors that they have made!
Toggle Commented Jul 26, 2010 on The media's race to be first at KC DOG BLOG