People who know me know I rarely post anything personal but today I want to share a few of my thoughts with everyone. (Oh-oh.)
As we find ourselves on the cusp of a new year, things are very bad for our cats, and dogs now too. Earlier in 2022, I found myself wondering how we got to this point. After much research, shelter data analysis and even a little common sense, I see it and now wonder why those who knew it was happening allowed it to happen? It goes back to my question from a previous blog: Is it about helping animals or something else?
I will be the first to admit I don’t have “peeps.” I don’t do social media posts that brag about the number of people in my “following” or how far my “reach” is. I seldom say “I” or “me” and use “we” and “us” instead. You can look all you want on social media but you won’t find a picture of me. I don’t financially prosper from the animals. Why? It’s about the animals, not me.
But this also answers my questions as to how we got to this point and why. It appears it was not about animals but building “friends” and roadways to allow “followers” to follow. (Don’t confuse friends and followers for coalitions and communities. They are NOT the same.) Was it about financial and personal gains and maintaining job security with no questions or input from non-shelters? For example, I can’t tell you how many times I have read a shelter post about dogs and commented: What About the Cats? (If you didn’t guess it, there is never a reply. No input wanted?)
So as we venture into 2023 with hope, the best thing we can do to help our cats, and dogs, is to stop and think. Question shelter policy - who does it benefit? (Don’t just follow it.) We are in the trenches and we know reality. Shelters and the big national groups need to understand that they cannot work for dogs while leaving cats to fend for themselves on the streets - mostly unfixed. And they need to understand that the community can't afford to fix all the homeless animals their policies are creating. All community stakeholders need to be part of a real coalition and make decisions together. This is not an attack on shelters but a plea for inclusion of all interests.
Let’s listen to all voices to change things for the positive. Work together. Do it for the sake of our cats and dogs.
Happy New Year!
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Beth Frank is founder/president of Community Cats United, Inc, Fixfinder and Proactive Animal Sheltering.