I hate conflict.
Nothing makes me feel worse than following an online argument. Except maybe when the subject of the argument is really important. And even worse, when the fight does nothing to improve things.
So you can imagine how tense I find the online bickering surrounding animal rescue. Because a flame war never saved a single animal.
Fighting Over Caring For Animals
You know how most of the squabbles start.
A rescue or shelter leader makes a controversial decision. Others disagree. Pretty soon there’s a flame war being lodged online.
It’s not that I believe that every leader responsible for making important decisions always decides the right way. And if they’re mistaken, it’s important for caring people to point out their error.
But what if instead of bickering online, we did things to empower animal rescue leaders to make good choices?
Why Did You Make That Choice
Maybe there are people out there who volunteered in animal rescue for years, got jobs in shelters, worked their way into leadership, and labored for long hours for little money just so they could decide which animals live and die. It’s a power thing, right?
When you read it, it sounds ridiculous.
The truth is more boring. And more easily dealt with.
Kill-shelters remain kill-shelters because they don’t believe they have the resources to find homes for every pet that enters their doors. Low or no-kill shelters will put down a pet because they don’t have the resources for major medical or behavioral treatment.
Yep, it comes down to room and money.
So how do we help leaders in animal rescue help more animals?
Give them room. And give them money.
7 Ways To Save More Pets
You can’t do everything. But you can probably do at least one thing.
- Adopt – find your next companion at a local shelter or rescue.
- Foster – make room for other rescued pets by sharing your room with those who need time in a home.
- Give – hold a fundraiser. Put your local animal rescue into your budget. No nonprofit ever (except maybe the National Football League) has too much money.
- Volunteer – how many more animals could a rescue handle if they have the help they need to walk dogs, clean kennels, socialize cats, and feed animals?
- Lead – learn about making tough choices by serving on a rescue’s board or advisory committee.
- Share – promote adoptable pets on social media. Or offer to make flyers and post them around town.
- Avoid Flame Wars – take the time you’d spend arguing online to do something that actually helps.
If you want more ideas and inspiration to see how people, families, and communities help animals across the U.S., check out Maddie’s Fund suggestions for how you can help more shelter animals find homes. And check out other posts in Blog The Change For Animals.
And just imagine how much we could get done if every second people now spend in online bickering went instead to help, really help animals.
Your Turn: Do you think I’m unfair? Does online debate actually improve the lives of animals?