My Dad Terry is going to share some interesting information with you today.
As most of you know, I attended the BlogPaws Conference in Tysons Corner, VA earlier this month thanks to the sponsorship of Purina. As a brand, our family has used countless Purina cat and dog products throughout the years and we’ve come to know them as the pet food company we can count on to get it right. But when I visited the Purina Headquarters in St. Louis, MO last October with the other Purina pet bloggers, their commitment to their products and the welfare of pets took on a whole new meaning for me. Whatever mental image I had of a big “corporate giant” in the pet food industry was transformed into one blending real people, real pets, and real compassion for pet welfare, the perfect synergy.
Pet Welfare in America was one of the presentations at BlogPaws sponsored by Purina. When I saw that Brenda Bax from Purina and David Meyers from Adopt-a-Pet were doing the presentation I was beyond thrilled. I met Brenda Bax at Purina last October and believe me, I could feel her compassion for this topic. While I learned about Adopt a Pet while visiting Purina, I had not met David Meyers previously I was anxious to hear his perspective from the adoption front lines. Please check out the terrific programs at Purina Pet Welfare and Adopt a Pet.
As with any presentation, different people come away with different key points, so I’m going to summarize the two top points that had an impact on me:
Let’s start with collaboration. This one sure gets the wheels turning. Think about the area where you live. How many pet rescues or shelters are in your immediate area? In close proximity to where I live, in Upstate South Carolina, there are around 50 such organizations. While some of the groups in my area may work together occasionally in some informal way, I really don’t see any real organized effort to pull these groups together. After all, the one goal in each organization is to help pets, make their lives better, and find them homes. Back in 2009 Purina was instrument in bring just such a group together in St. Louis, to discuss improving the lives of cats and dogs in their community. This organization now has the attention and involvement from many corporations, foundations, civic leaders, educational institutions, and many other groups with the common mission of increasing the save rate of cats and dogs and to achieve goals that no one group can achieve alone. This particular group is now known as The St.Louis Petlover Coalition and I highly recommend that you visit their site which is filled with information and inspiration. So, back to my original question. How many pet rescues or shelters are in your immediate area? Do they all work together with one common goal to help the animals? If the answer is no, what can you do to encourage a coming together with a commonality of purpose, for the good of the animals?
Imagine the possibilities of groups actually working together instead of unintentionally against each other. Each group likely promotes spay and neuter, but imagine the impact of a coordinated community program with a viable base of corporate sponsorships. What do you want the lives of pets to be like in your community? Perhaps, as a collaborative effort, your group could develop an educational program focusing on the importance of pets, pet care and respect and find a way to get that in front of your grade school and middle school youngsters. Each year there are too many pets that simply get lost for some reason. How about a common database of found pets in your area (see STL Lost Pets as an example). How about the real obvious one, finding homes for the shelter pets. Have you ever tried to find a shelter willing to take a pet you found? It can be tedious and time consuming making call after call. Perhaps a collaborative group could develop a common way to know what shelter space is available where. Cat Rescue #1 may be full but they know for a fact that Cat Rescue #5 just had two spots open up, something they really might only know because they are working together with a common purpose.
Then there is perception. We’ve all heard the saying “perception is reality” and there’s a lot of truth there. It doesn’t really matter if it is true or not, if you perceive it to be true, then it’s true to you. Okay, what did you do with your imagination cap? Put it on please. Have you ever seen photos of shelter dogs or cats that looked pretty sad? For most of you the answer is probably yes. Imagine one of those photos, a poor dog, a white dog, with a few black patches, and his white fur is filthy dirty, and he is backed up in his kennel simply looking lost and confused. Even the kennel looks dirty and unpleasant. Oh those sad eyes. Now then, imagine the same sweet doggie, with a bath, with some love and attention for a little while, and with a nice backdrop and a nice blue and white bandana. Smiling, the doggie is actually smiling. Get that great photo. That’s the image you want to plant in the memory of potential adopters. All too often the photos we see are of distressed pet. While they may indeed be distressed, they are not damaged goods, they are homeless and craving love and attention. Perceptions matter. There are great photographers out there, great animal photographers, who might love to help and would love to have their photo credits on the internet for the world to see. Think about your home shelters, how do they portray their pets?
Yes, a picture is really worth a thousand words and can make a life savings difference. Take a look at some of the before and after photos at Shelter-Me Photography, and you will get the idea. They also have a wonderful Facebook site at https://www.facebook.com/ShelterMePhoto and they offer wonderful tips on pet photography.
One thing I can tell you about this presentation, Brenda Bax and David Meyers are totally committed to making the lives better for all homeless pets, they live it and breathe it, and it shows. Honestly, the before and after pictures, especially the after pictures, always make me cry happy tears when I see those beautiful critter faces. I am so thankful that Purina lives the seriousness of pet welfare on a daily basis.
Disclosure: Purina is my sponsor and provided the funding for me to attend the BlogPaws Conference. The opinions of this presentation are solely my own.
Oh gosh, wouldn’t that be so wonderful if the various shelters and rescues could just help each other. Wonder how that could be brought about.
Also I love your talking about the pictures. I have always said, it is a little silly to put up pictures of really sick and sad looking dogs and cats. Who wants those. A really nice picture is so much better. Great post Terry.
There are a few privately run *charities* that promote TNR and subsidize neutering fees and medical funding for stray animals. I happen to know several of them and also know that they are, sadly, incapable of working together.
Great post. We could do with more charities working together over here too. They seem to always be in competition with each other although their aims are the same. Food for thought. Have a terrific Thursday.
Best wishes Molly
England being so much smaller doesn’t have the same problems as the USA. Mostly the RSPCA is informed if there are animals that need rescuing and there staff go out and fetch them in. They came out and rescued us (all 100 of us) and took us in – got us neutered, micro-chipped and immunised and then put us up for adoption. The smaller rescues here do the same but they can only take them in much small numbers. Even the RSPCA struggled with all of us!!
Luv Hannah and Lucy xx xx
If only many could put their egos aside and do more good, it only makes sense to work together, but they don’t seem to often at all, if ever, here. Sounds like Purina is on the ball with that at least, their food is a whole other story though.
Same as Molly, as we both live over the pond. Have a wonderful day xx00xx
Mollie and Alfie
Mom went to that presentation too and it was GREAT!! it really is too bad that more rescues/shelters can’t get together rather than be devisive.
At the very least this post has given me a lot to think about and a lot to inquire about here in the town I live in.
I wish we had such great Organizations here too. Sadly it’s really “the old world” here.
for a purrson…yur dad rites a prettee darn good blog….pawz up two him….we enjoyed reedin thiz post…N sad lee…wear we lives…de diffrunt organizationz due knot…werk two gether….100% oh de time…R mom heered one say sum thin bout de other…knot bad…but it sure surprized her
hay, hope everee one haza ton oh toona thurzday
What a great blog, Terry. Any information I can get is welcome. Thank you so much.
That would be great
I too think there should be more ways for rescues to work together. After all, their goals are the same – find good homes for the homeless. My human missed this talk – there was too much good stuff going on at BlogPaws!
Great post and very interesting. I too would love it if the various shelters could work together a bit more. Maybe some day it will be that way.
Good pictures really do help a lot! The shelter my mom used to work at started using cute backgrounds and props for their pictures and adoption s went up! 🙂
Working together would help a lot too, but that can be tricky for some reason. Even at my mom’s shelter it was often hard to get people to work together and that was just one organization…
Thanks so much for posting this! I had wanted to attend that session super badly but you know that I couldn’t 🙂
Now I feel as if I attended due to your fabulous summarization!
YAY for Purina!
TW went to the presentation. I think some shelters might think a pitiful looking dog or cat will get people to want to take them out of that situation but the opposite is true. I don’t think there are that many shelters/rescues here and I think they’re all fighting each other for the little money people have to donate. For instance, our friend says that the rescue I came from has a lot of blind cats cos the hospital they’re affiliated with doesn’t know how to do mass spaying/neutering. I’m sure she’s mentioned it to them but they still use… Read more »
I’m so mad at my mom…Blog Paws was so close to us and she didn’t even know…she would like to go some time…and I might let her. It surely was an informative meeting.
Next year’s is in Sin City right?
Hugs Madi your BFFF
Mom has always used Purina products, originally for the dogs and now for all us cats. She likes knowing what great pet advocates they are. Thanks for sharing. Purrs and hugs from the kitties at The Cat on My Head, Lily Olivia, Mauricio, Misty May, Giulietta, Fiona, Astrid, Lisbeth and Calista Josette
Excellent post! It gave me some ideas…
Great shelter pics! We are sure the “after” pics will do more to get homes for the
furries 🙂 Especially with dogs, the after pics make them look alert,playful and not threatening.
Co operation is usually a good thing too 🙂
Purrs Tillie and Georgia,
Treasure,Tiger,JJ and Julie
Very touching post!
You are doing very hard for the animals!!!
Wow, we never thought about shelters working together, but it makes a lot of sense! I didn’t see that session at BP, but I can watch it online. It amazes me how many people appear not to look for lost animals. I’ve taken in many cats and dogs then tried to find their owners but it seems like people don’t put much effort into it, even when someone else is looking for them.
Collaboration sure would be great…. Regarding what you say about perception I 100% agree! I don’t know why, but I tend to “ignore” a lot of those “ugly” shelter pet photos I see on places like Facebook :/ My friend Debra at A Peace-a-Bull Assembly JUST wrote a post about almost the exact same thing you mentioned here. I am more likely to share pets with nice photos… it can start to get depressing for some to keep looking at the ugly pictures of homeless pets 🙁
My sister is a loyal Purina Pro Plan eater…it works great for her! You have a wonderful sponsor there and they do great things for pets, that we know!
UK we have the RSPCA 🙂
Great stuff Brian and the Mr.
Dad is involved with several groups in our area and sees what you are speaking off on a regular basis. Yes they all are really great groups, but, there is little communication except on a personal level as we are all in the local rescue community.
We will post some info on these groups in our coming post at the Tabby Cat Club(Shameless Plug)
Timmy T and Dad