Connection through Conversation

Honest Truths that Might Be Hard to Accept

Candidly Speaking...

Pet Welfare will always be necessary as an advocacy platform representing pet care and therefore requires consistent analysis of the impact due to messaging, policies and conditions (to name a few).  It might be uncomfortable at times but avoiding candid conversations has left pet welfare in a state of crisis, damaging the reputation and mission of Pet Welfare as a whole.  That changes NOW.

January allows for a lot of forgiveness, it’s your opportunity to make a statement about changing, re-engaging and building better relationships with your current audience and re-introducing your platform with welcoming opportunities for pet-loving supporters looking for a place to be passionate and feel a sense of “belonging to something that matters” this coming year.  

We are all facing the same challenges this year, ones that have a lot to do with personalities, states of fear, infrastructure imbalances… they are REAL, Scary, Challenges!  Ignoring them is no longer an option since 2022 will be a pivotal year defining the forward movement or downward fall of pet welfare – but it doesn’t have to be overwhelming as we can and will help you to become part of the solution.  But it must start with you, your leaders and your organization accepting and having a willingness to consider change as your only viable option.

Pet Welfare Organizations need to start the year by really looking at how they represent pet welfare, how they run their organization and by making necessary changes that align with solutions instead of continuing to naively (or arrogantly) contribute to crisis conditions.  

Heavily funded organizations are using their resources to reshape community outreach and  ensure pets in homes have a fair chance of staying there but this is not going to address the hard truth that people within our own sheltering/rescue community need help too and so far – the help offered has not provided security or stability.

Supporting Reference: Animal Shelters Are In Crisis

2020-2021 brought forth justifiable attention to the need for diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI).  But it’s so hard to align ourselves with the well-intentions of DEI when it’s only benefitting those OUTSIDE of pet welfare organizations and is absolutely lost within the hands on community itself.  Leading organizations in pet welfare are embracing DEI  but it has so far only been used as a major influencing role in pet care accessibility and adopter approval narratives by forcing no-barriers language without offering any ability to nurture questioning and without coaching or consolation to offset or mitigate the internal-dynamic chaos when implementing changes that requires altering people’s fundamental belief systems (ie: the safest way to place pets in homes for the long term).

When those closest to the animals in crisis feel the intense pressure and need for change without any ability to enforce it due to lack of finances, human resources, experience or even just simply TIME… resentment and fear builds and since they can’t control the internal environment, they project their anger and frustration onto what they can control – the public/community… to which is met with shaming and guilt from pet welfare industry leaders making it their mission to protect the community first.  It’s a perfect recipe for complete and total destruction of the pet welfare industry, a never ending cycle of toxic blame shifting and by far does significantly more harm than good.

Inundating concerned pet welfare staff and volunteers with “how to” articles and webinars lecturing the No-Barriers/DEI/Fix the Community First propaganda isn’t making a dent in breaking down the actual change barriers needed in most organizations – which is communicating with (or overruling) hard headed leaders refusing progression and protection of those within the organizations desperate for positive-impact change.  

As it stands, it’s hard to convince leaders in pet welfare to implement large scale tactical efforts especially when there is zero acknowledgement of the lack of:

  • Consequence to overpaid executive leaders or under qualified board members
  • Long term strategic nurturing through change implementation
  • Actual human or technological service support
  • Financial assistance for human or technological service support
  • Data providing reassurance results that implementing change makes things more efficient or effective

In addition, it’s hard to stomach the fact there’s a “1%” within Pet Welfare itself and they are blindly focusing on their own objectives in full belief they are doing the right thing, but it is without consideration of the other 99%.  Again, the repeating pattern of guaranteed destruction – lower level organizations WANT to do better and be better, but have zero ability to do so for one reason or another and then are shamed for not doing enough when there feels like there is no feasible solutions available.

In addition to many of us feeling like we have been abandoned by our internal and external leadership, it also feels like pet parents and animal lovers have seemingly abandoned supporting pet welfare organizations as well.  Volunteers and fosters are scarce, funding is low, adoptions are halting, even Tik Tok has a “rescues think they are better than us – shop don’t adopt” trend… However, based on the fact the Pet Care Service Industry is going to be worth over $100 BILLION for 2021, the reality is pet parents haven’t stopped loving or supporting animals.  Actually, they are investing more money into pet care than ever before, so what is really going on – why is pet welfare in such a state of crisis?  It’s our fault for a number of reasons and we are the ones who have abandoned pet parents/animal lovers, not the other way around.  It’s a hard truth but one that is harder to ignore. 

It’s time to let our guards down and work on our overpowering state of fear… We need to take accountability for the way we keep ourselves in a state of struggle by allowing policies, programs, paperwork, pay variances, volunteer culture, foster enabling, donor pampering, grant bias and/or leadership imbalances to provoke us into mistreating our pet loving public because to date, we have been pacifying the lack of diversity, equity and inclusion within our own internal pet welfare space. 

The days of fighting the public in this “I hate people” and “I love my dog more than I love people” unification through mutual hatred are DONE.  It’s time to stop projecting your anger and frustration about pet overpopulation, abandonment, lack of financial and human resources onto your loyal, passionate pet lovers who don’t even realize you are struggling or understand what your struggles stem from.  It’s not their fault they don’t know and aren’t responding – it’s yours, it’s ours.  

The sooner we all stop closing doors, pointing fingers and blaming everyone else around us, the faster good people, loving and caring adopters, financially capable donors can and will come through all the open ones.

Generationally, it’s hard for the majority of women in pet welfare to have a conversation about anything calmly.  We get it… you’ve been fighting for your right to be heard and be told you are right for far longer than the current pet parent audience approaching you daily.  But many of you have lost respect for people who are coming to you out of respect for what you fight for, for what you represent, for what you offer and for your experience in a world they are limited.

Today’s pet parent wants help, information, guidance, to be educated and allowed the same right to make decisions for themselves as you demand, and keep fighting everyone for.  This isn’t to say answering the same question about “How big will it get” doesn’t get old… But again, these people didn’t willingly get involved in pet welfare to advocate on behalf of pets – YOU DID.  You CHOSE THIS.  So why does it make you so mad? 

Animal Welfare social media platforms have become that needy friend who only calls you when they have drama or need an ego boost – but across the globe, pet loving audiences are OVER IT.  Online Pet Parents and Animal Lovers are setting hard boundaries and cancelling anything promoting (intentionally or not) outdated, self-serving, minimal effort manipulative tactics and those who are only nice when it serves their needs (and nasty and dismissive the rest of the time).

Again, it’s not your audiences fault they don’t know, it’s YOURS.  You cannot expect to thrive in an industry that relies on pet loving people – if you don’t even want to have a basic conversation reflective of pet welfare advocacy with them.  So let’s figure out a better solution than resentment first all the time.

A big change needing to become a priority for 2022 is shifting public facing content to be raw, honest, candidly kind and mutually beneficial.  It’s so important to be raw and authentic and start:
  • Explaining the consistent struggles and exhaustive, hopeless feelings of confusion of those within your organization
  • Detailing the efforts you are actively pursuing in a hope it becomes a sustainable solution
  • Taking accountability for the role each of us played in the pet welfare crisis by letting outdated/old archetypes stand firm in a progressing world
  • Embracing the need for an equally devoted pet parenting and animal loving community support system
  • Discussing the impacts on pet welfare due to COVID, lack of financial and humane resources, breed preference and prejudices 
  • BEING – NICE – FIRST and directing your anger appropriately and fairly

For Pet Welfare to have a surviving chance in 2022, three things (at a minimum) need to happen:

  1. We need to come together in space of alliance for honest and unguarded discussion and debate without being allowed to force agendas
  2. We need to create STRATEGIC plans which detail every goal, thoroughly outline actions to reach those goals and put together a timeline of consistent progress tracking and reporting meetings to openly and candidly determine if the actions and goals are realistic and feasible as a whole or need adjusting
  3. We need to have an openness for collaborating with each other and those outside of pet welfare who can bring skill sets, services and financial incentive opportunities that make pet welfare more self-sustaining
Kick Start Your Knowing

Empowerment Exercises

Open Discussions

Talk the Talk

Want to Discuss Anything One-on-One?

Kind, Respectful, Motivating

Communication Content

It’s important to use your digital platforms to build your organization’s reputation (brand) to become a trustworthy resource for pet parents and animal lovers seeking decision-making guidance.  All of your content should reflect a safe space open to communication and welcoming of those newly learning about pet parenting, care and welfare.

Advocacy Engagement

TRUST Focused Resourcing

Create a monthly collection of connection, awareness, and holiday/recognition day prompts and posts for your digital animal-loving, pet parenting audience that focuses on representing your organization as a trustworthy resource for pet care decision-making.

Sharing is Caring

TEAM Focused Recruiting

Advocate pet rescue as a collaborative effort of rescued-pet SHARING vs individual requirements as a fostering/volunteering.  It’s a fresh new take on being involved in pet rescue focused on joint-efforts and teamwork.  More “need a penny, take a penny” than “this is what we mandate you offer us”.

Pet Representation Matters

PERSONALITY Focused Promos

Focus all efforts on promoting  “harder to adopt” dogs and cats to reframe the current perception animal shelters/rescues are here to satisfy the demand for small, breed-specific pets.  Puppies, small dogs and blue eyed kittens should be on websites only and kept out of the social media spotlight.

We're Listening & We Hear You

In the Works

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