Saturday, May 28, 2011

'The Public' this, 'The Public' that....

As the Chairperson for the Pet Alliance of Central Texas (yes, I wear many hats!), I hear so many negative things about the people who 'dumped their pets at the shelter' or 'abandoned their dog tied to the front door of our building.' These stories are each heartbreaking in their own and (luckily) I will never understand the feeling of leaving my pet behind bars as I walk out the door. It is hard not to look at the negative of life, when you are walking down the corridor of kennel doors, while sad little eyes peer out at you, waiting for a new place to call their own. 

I agree with most shelter workers (yes, I have been there!) that the job is a tough one and it takes a special person, one who really loves animals to work where the sadness is an every day part of the job description. 

My advice to every shelter worker out there: Take 5 minutes, every single day, and spend time with one pet. During your 5 minutes, don't think about where this pet came from. Focus on the chance he/she is getting by being in your care. Think about the amazing ways that his life will change because you are there for him. Let him kiss you and while your face is getting covered in slobber, think about the fun he will have going on a car ride and swimming in his new owner's pool. Think about the cozy naps he will have cuddled up on the couch while his new owner scratches his ears. 

It's easy to focus on the bad, but remember that there is good all around us. Each person that walks through your shelter doors looking to make a donation or bring a new pet into their lives.... they are good. Each volunteer who offers their time to take a few dogs out on a walk today... they are good. 

If we are to ever make an impact, it is time to start treating the public as our friend. The public makes up our shelter volunteers, the public walks into our shelters every day looking to add a new member to their family. We need to stop criticizing the bad, focus on the good and put our heart and soul into what is truly best for the animals. 

Stephanie Conrad
The Pet Studio | Owner | Artist