Almost Home 2020 Initiative: Step 2 is Collaboration

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LF The-Kennel6
Photo: Living Free Animal Sanctuary

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Living Free Animal Sanctuary has put out a call to action to any and everyone who would like to see all shelters in the United States become no-kill by 2020.  It is a big message, but an important one, and getting the word out to people that can be an active part of the initiative is the key to seeing the lives of healthy animals saved and placed into adoptive homes.

Seem lofty? It’s not.  It is a viable, practical plan, but it will need you to make it happen.

Continuing the message of Living Free and their Almost Home 2020 Initiative, this week is a focus on the second of the four steps to success; collaboration. In a word, it sounds simple enough, but it requires extensive coordination and support from all parties involved.

The actions as acknowledged are:

  • Continue to collaborate with other rescue groups to save every life we can.
  • Continue to facilitate the transfer of rescues from high-kill areas to high demand/ adoption areas.
  • Promote no-kill through alliances and coalitions.
  • Share resources, information and cross-media promotions.
  • Collectively support no-kill policies and objectives.

The objective of facilitating transfers from areas that have a high-kill shelter rate to locations that have been identified as high demand for adoptions appears simple enough at first blush, but while the coordination efforts can be challenging, the benefits to all involved could be staggering.  Already this action has seen positive results. It just needs grow to a much larger scale.

Here are some of the facts directly from Living Free:

  • There are about 3500 bricks and mortar rescues, and 13,500 non-profit animal rescue organizations in the US.  That’s a lot of resources, if people band together.
  • There are times animals are killed in shelters when just a few miles away, there’s another shelter with open kennel runs or room in their cattery.  This goes back to policy changes in kill shelters.  In every case of shelter euthanasia, if directors had to demonstrate they had exhausted all options before killing the animal – including the alternative of transfer to a less crowded facility – more animals would be saved.
  • There are rescues in Canada that cannot meet the demand for dogs and cats.  Until  that demand is met, it is unconscionable to kill healthy animals in the US who could be transferred and easily adopted.
  • Transfer costs would be partially offset by the savings of not killing healthy animals.  People forget that there are costs associated with killing animals – some estimates reach $400 on average, when all costs are included.
  • There are groups transferring animals from Korean dog meat farms and kittens from Hawaii.  If they can do that to save lives, what’s a couple of hours of drive time?
  • Fostering is a big part of this.  Fosters can give a dog or litter of kittens a few more days, and often that’s all the need – just a little more time.  Fostering saves lives, no doubt about it, and that’s a great way for “civilians” to help.

The chance to have healthy dogs, puppies, cats, and kittens taken away from environments where their adoption opportunities are limited and brought to places where people are seeking pets seems well worth the effort. Transportation, gas, drivers, travel expenses, animal food, crates, blankets, and the like is an enormous undertaking, but through collaboration, can be realized and the gain will be to those animals that have been rescued from a needless death and the families into whose arms their new pet is delivered.

However, even with the best of intentions, this is clearly not something that Living Free can do on their own.  It will take you, the organizations that you work with and support, the rescues, and the shelters all across the country to make it happen.  Getting out the communication is the key and then aligning with others to meet targets and goals so that by 2020 all shelters in the US will be no-kill.  It may seem a lofty goal, but it is doable, given the numbers.

Remember the four “C’s”; communication, collaboration, coordination and creativity.  Get the word out.  Work together.  Organize.  Be resourceful.

There is a time and a place for action and all cursors seem to point toward making this happen.  Spread the work and be part of the solution.  Collaboration takes what may seem an insurmountable challenge, but with action turns it into a viable possibility.

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