Years ago, several of my staff were traveling to NYC. While there, they thought it would be nice to visit another animal shelter. I called to make an appointment for them so that it would be a convenient time for the shelter. I was surprised when I got a less than enthusiastic welcome. They were in the middle of strategic planning, it was a Saturday, etc..... So my staff decided they weren't welcome and didn't go.
This weekend I visited a shelter in another state. It was very small (in comparison to our shelter) but I was impressed that they had a low cost clinic. While walking through the shelter a man greeted me and asked me if I was interested in adopting. I said no, I run a shelter in Pennsylvania and was interested in visiting other shelters. He said OK and walked away. I was disappointed that he didn't offer to show me around or see if I had questions.
Then I noticed a pit bull in a kennel. He just stood there. No response to me walking by. No bark, no wag, no response to my voice. He looked depressed. His cage card said that he had been seized during an investigation and had been at the shelter since December of 2010!
I then went to the front desk and started a conversation with the the staff. I told them that I ran a shelter in PA. (No reaction) I then asked about the pit bull who had been there so long. Apparently, once a dog had been seized, it remains in the kennel until a final court determination is made, and it stays in the kennel. No chance of a foster home, no chance for human interaction. How sad.
And how sad that no one in that shelter wanted to take the opportunity to brag about what they do there. Or ask me question on how we handle different situations.
I often feel overwhelmed by my work. It is never ending and not always joyful. But I love to brag about my staff. They truly work their fingers to the bone, and I love them. I believe we do great things for the animals in our care. We are not perfect....but we are striving for perfection!