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Monday, September 10, 2012

On Cross-Posting Animals In Need

©2012 Mia Knerly-Hess
So you want to set up a Cross-posting site? A Facebook Page? OK, great, super. Here are a few ideas. This goes for Cat People too.

It's just not enough to click SHARE. Any idiot with a left finger and a mouse can do that.

First of all, please, do not bombard people with Cross-Posts. There are a few individuals on Facebook in particular who cross-post well over 100-200 animals a day. Your mind goes into shut-down mode; a sense of helplessness ensues. "How can I possible help? There are just too many!"

There ARE too many. That's the tragic truth. It's overwhelming. Just one more tragic story, one more sad face. It can be mind-numbing. That's the fastest way to get un-Friended on Facebook. That and political posts. :-) I have un-Friended a few people because of that. It's heart-wrenching, depressing and in the end, believe it or not, ineffective.

If you're going to cross-post or set up a site for it, it needs to have different ways that people could help.

First and foremost: People have got to have current and complete info on that animal. It's my biggest bitch! I wouldn't post anything that doesn't have enough info on it unless I know it's a purebred Schipperke and I'm hollering out to Schipperke folks on the web. It's a huge waste of time. People want to help, they need info in order to do that. See my Blog on this. I think it would help a ton more dogs if they did better marketing. Plus you, as Site/FB -page Master. need to follow up on each listing and pull it off if the dog is out or dead.

There is a HUGE need for a clearing house, a networking site for Rescues and Fosters, locally in your community, as well as county-wide, area-wide, state-wide, country-wide and internationally as well. If you're in America, there may be a rescue in Canada that may be able to help. Same as in Germany finding a rescue in Italy. Someone needs to shell out some serious bucks and pay a few people to set that up and keep in current. It shouldn't be completely manned by volunteers. It is too vast and the skills involved need money. Even setting up a local Rescue Networking site is a huge undertaking.

Big Note: A lot of these shelters won't let John Q Public take that dog/cat out, even in a High Kill joint or off the Urgent list.....and rightly so. They're figuring whoever is getting that (usually) unfixed dog out is just going to use them for bad things. Having a Rescue/Foster clearing house or network that is kept current is essential for getting animals out and safe in foster.

IF you're going to set up a Cross-Posting site or FB page you need this:

"Here are other ways people can help"

Donating money or items.
Having a fund raiser. Kids can do that!
If there is a Chip-in to get Rusty out of the shelter, and you've got the bread, cough it up.

*Find out what your rescue/shelter needs other than money and see if there is a way to get it. Flea markets, garage and estate sales, etc. etc.

*Figure out what's going on at the Local shelter and who might be the "go-to" person. Do a little sleuthing and see who can help or who's got info. Be respectful and kind. Contrary to popular beliefs, not everyone who works at a High Kill is the anti-Christ and gets a Heinrich Himmler hard-on while gassing or heart-sticking kittens. If there is some monster working there, the devil you know.... You could then work politically to get that person fired but have a few replacements in mind. The Monster has connections? Find somebody with better connections. There is always a way, there is always someone higher up the food chain with a bigger hammer.

* If you've really got some moxie, some balls, a suit and some bread; get on the Board of the Local. Find out who is on the Board too. Those are people you need to watch. That's where the money is and policy is made. Board Members of many organizations are usually very clueless about day to day workings of any place, notoriously non-profits or publicly run or funded shelters. They have their own agenda for being on that Board and it's usually NOT because they're all mushy about animals. It's either monetary, political or resume driven. Or all of the above.

*Contacting or networking with rescue orgs. Life is truly all about networking.

*Connections, connections, connections. Use them but don't abuse them. Have something to give back.

*Are you a professional photographer or a budding Ansel Adams? Donate your services, take pictures or video of animals in need. Snag a friend or staff member for a few minutes to help. One good photo or video can make a huge difference for that one animal.

*Offers of transport. Often the rescue and foster combo is possible, but the ride isn't. If you are driving for a legit 501(c)3 tax exempt means you can write off stuff like the gas on your taxes. (Or you used to be able to do it; it may have changed.)

*Checking references on behalf of a rescue. Or about a rescue!

* Conducting a home check. (I've done this. Very interesting and rewarding.)

* If you are a certified CPDT dog trainer or Animal Behaviorist, perhaps donating your services once a month for a training class or seminar for the general pubic or people who adopted animals you know about. Animal "misbehavior" is usually tops on the list as to why Fluffy gets dumped at the Local. There's a whole lot of crazy information out there but people don't know where or how to get HELP! This will actually help your business in the long and often in the short run.

*Encouraging your vet to have a one day spay-neuter clinic. Or Shots. Or microchips. Or all of the above. Or find someone or a business willing to write this off on their taxes as a charitable donation. Offer to make food for the staff and docs etc.

*Hooking up with local rescues and local kennel kennel clubs. In the Rescue World especially, find out who's in and who ain't. Find out who says they're a rescue and who actually has the 501 status. I can say I'm a Jack-Rabbit Rescue and, being a great schmoozer, I could convince you I am. Trust me, I'm NOT!

*Never Trust Everything YOU Read On The Internet. It is not infallible. It is not the Gospel of anything. Use the phone for starters.

*Ask an org (rescue, shelter) "How can I help?" It may be something as simple-stupid as making (vegan) chocolate chip cookies. (There is a way, but I don't like them myself.)

* Go into your community and see if there is someone you could help with adequate food, shelter etc. for their dog. Get that dog off its chain or off the back porch. That's outreach and it's huge. We only save one dog at a time, really. Look at this one. Break The Chain on Long Island, NY and C.H.A.I.N.E.D. In the Detroit, MI area are some others that come to mind.

*Educate people on the benefits of spay/neuter. Educate people about dog fighting, cruelty, not getting bitten, dog body language, etc. etc. All ages need educating! At about 4th grade, kids are starting to get very jaded.

*Offer to underwrite a Neuter-Scooter for your area.

*Help a foster parent. You can't do it yourself but you can help! Know someone who is fostering? They are the true ANGELS in this whole mess! Go over and give them a hand. Watch the dog go potty or keep an eye on him while the Foster Parent has a cup of Joe or goes to the movies. Throw cookies at the dog, help him learn something. I swear, it takes a village to raise or help or rehab a dog or cat. You could be that dog's honorary Auntie or Uncle!

*Men. We Need Men. Ask Men.
Women, God bless us, we sit around and get sad, get mad, write, blog, yack on FB about the horror, the injustice of it all. We form groups and/or rescues and a lot of the time bad-mouth all the other groups/rescues out there.
Men, God bless them, give them a plan or a task and let them implement it. A poor person with no money and a dog on a six-foot chain needs a dog house and a fence? A two-story Craftsman-style dog condo, insulated with gable roofing and windows made out of scrap from a lumber yard I got for free? I'm ON IT! Let them build it; they will come.

Get more men involved especially in the area of a spay/neuter. We ladies can cluck about how male dogs make babies but some big old Bubba could give a sh*t because, what do we know? We don't have balls. Get your husband/boyfriend/son/dad/brother to help with this one.
The old argument: "You're taking all his fun away?" Trust me, if Gonzo wants to screw, some still do. I had a neutered male that still did. He's not making babies; that is the bottom line. They are not YOUR balls, dude. It's not personal. If a man in your life is some kick-ass, tough as nails, Marine-type, recruit that dude!!
Just remember, Bubba: he's still your lovable dog and if you're that hung up about what's hung under, have those fake balls put on your dog. He's still going to lick his....uh....Richard. He can always do that. A pocket-rocket happens with male dogs, with or without 'em!

*Organize, brave soul that you are, a dinner-party or picnic or cocktail party and invite every stinkin' rescue org in your area. Have food. And invite your local AKC, UKC, kennel club, training club reps. Don't be a lazy person, use emails, phone calls and a written invite. Get to know who does what. Oh, it could get ugly putting all those different groups and factions into the stew, but if you're a sick broad like me, you might get a vicarious thrill. More importantly, you'd get the players straight in your head. As an added extra bonus some of the combatants may get their heads out of their butts and say, "Uh, well, shoot, scooter, we all want to help dogs. Maybe if we work together a bit more?"

*THERE IS NOTHING LIKE FACE TO FACE TIME! We rely TOO much on the internet and Facebook.

*Rescue People, I know you get inundated with calls and emails, pleas, begging, tears but you got into Rescue for a reason. Be accessible. Don't blow people off like you're a Force 10 hurricane. Keep tracks of the idiots, of course. "We just cannot take one more dog into our rescue," (but maybe provide options) is a rather lengthy way of saying, "No!" but it's still no. "No" is totally OK. You do what you can with what you got.
If you can't do it anymore, whether it's your heart, your health, your life circumstances --- no reasonable person is going to flail you ---- after a while. They'll find a new b*tch to burn at the stake eventually. Get out with grace and dignity.

Now I know I've mentioning getting in touch with and on board with your local kennel club. A lot of rescue folks and people involved with shelters are saying, "Eeeeeuuu!" I say, get over yourself. A ton of people involved in shelters and rescue are very resentful towards purebred dog owners, handlers and breeders, citing them as The Problem. "They breed dogs. There are too many dogs dying in shelters, being abused," etc. Trust me, people involved in showing dogs in any arena know exactly (and far better than most of you do) how many dogs (and cats) are dying every day.

Here's a clue by four for you? Ninety-nine times out of a hundred, they are NOT the problem! Read that again. Most people involved in showing and/or breeding dogs (The Fancy, agility, herding, obedience, etc. etc.) are deeply committed to breed rescue. The problem is not purebred dog folks for the most part, it's your idiot neighbor next door. Or worse. To force a mandatory moratorium on dog breeding will not stop it. That is an airy-faery dream that you need to jettison. It will drive the "good folks" out of dogs and it will drive the bad people (dog fighting, puppy mills etc.) further underground and the fallout in terms of animal cruelty and horrific deaths will astound you.

While purebred rescue is their primary focus (and rightly so), many folks involved in purebred dog stuff have a love of DOGS, period. They are also high on your list of go-to folks to fight against Breed Specific Legislation and Puppy Mills. Purebred dog people with medium to large breeds "get" BSL. You don't have to preach to that choir; they are (99.9% of them) overwhelming opposed to it. And Small/Toy dog folks immediately "get" puppy mills. Rescue groups, shelters and purebred dog people don't always communicate and they really should. Is the lady who shows Japanese Chins going to be partial to Chins? Of course. But she might have networks the Average Rescue Person has never even considered!! I've know quite a few show folks who have done dog transports as well, on the down-low, quietly helping as they can.

Don't diss the purebred dog community or your local kennel club. Network with them, maybe join up and help out a dog show (of any kind). You'll actually learn a lot about dogs, learn about dog breeds and types (thus helping with your identification process) and meet some nice folks ofttimes. Yes, there will some snotty people, but, come on, really. Think about it. There are some Seriously first-class, Grade A weirdos in the Rescue community as well.

In short, if you are going to cross-post, broaden your horizons to beyond your Facebook Page.
Just my opinion.
©2012 Mia Knerly-Hess