@Dale P Green AMEN TO THIS! So many working and/or volunteering in animal welfare overlook the business aspects and importance of relationship building and customer service. And, our customers include the ANIMALS and ALL partners -- sending/receiving organizations, vets, trainers, groomers, donors, program sponsors, people who follow your social media...it must be our goal that anybody who interacts with our organizations in any way, even small, has a positive experience. You never know who might become a donor or adopter or volunteer or advocate. If your name is on it, it needs to be your best work. Of course, rescue is an emotional business and it would be naive to think conflict, disagreements and miscommunications aren't going to happen occasionally. But, if you have well-established relationships, those things are much easier to overcome.
Unfortunately, I think a lot of problems occur and misunderstandings/misinterpretations continue because the people who need the messaging most never get it. Small rescues and rural municipal facilities don't/can't participate in things like the HSUS Animal Care Expo or Best Friends conferences or similar. Some, I dare say most, aren't even aware those things exist. We are new, Silver Comet Animal Welfare Alliance was formed just last year, primarily to advocate for and provide support for west Georgia. A big part of our mission is to help share current initiatives & best practices. We will never get to No Kill 2025 here without some major changes. I have built the Maddie's Pet Forum and Maddie's University into our website and will build a lot of that messaging, including events, into our socials as they grow. I'm hoping for some to take the initiative and do self-study. I also plan to do presentations in our local area to facilitate education that is desperately needed. I know from first-hand experience that most are so hyper-focused on managing the weekly kill lists that the myopic view becomes habitual -- do whatever it takes to get them out and no attention to preventing them form coming in, no implementation of shelter best practices, no continuing education, plenty of excuses and blame.
As to behavior issues, I will say that almost always -- aside from obvious violent aggression to people or other animals -- what a municipal shelter tags as a behavior issue is easily remediable. Most rescues probably recognize that and may send an animal on to the next group thinking they will understand it too (food aggression, decompression needs, refresh on house training...) Unfortunately, medical issues are a big problem here because the resources aren't available. Most of the shelters we assist do nothing -- no s/n prior to adoption, no heartworm testing, no vaccinations...any major medical cases are managed by volunteers through private donations.
One of the things Silver Comet AWA has set up is a relationship with a professional trainer. So, if you (or anyone reading this!) are interested in pulling animals from west Georgia, please let me know and we will be happy to set up a comprehensive assessment program with you. The trainer will board in a high-end facility for up to a couple of weeks and provide an assessment and as much basic training as able depending on volume of paying customers he has. Medical requirements for out-of-state transfer will need to be case-by-case -- depending on what the individual animal needs and what funding we have available. We are also set up with Doobert so transport should be easy enough to arrange. Although my opinion is obviously biased (;-)), we have some highly adoptable animals here, including the more desirable puppies & kittens that will unfortunately be coming in at a high rate soon.
THANK YOU again for the post! Perspective, reminders about professional ethics & the importance of relationships are always valuable but especially in an industry where it can make a difference between life & death. <3