Thursday, September 18, 2008

Love thy neighbors and maybe they’ll help you rescue animals

I was surprised when several shelter managers told me they don’t hire job applicants who declare they love animals more than people. I’ve never been ashamed to count myself in this category.

After years of fighting it, I’m finally starting to realize that saving animals, whether you’re a shelter worker or an independent rescuer, is a hopeless mission destined to fail unless the help of others in the community is enlisted. For the rescuer, that means cultivating a healthy dose of patience and tolerance, plus an understanding of human beings and what inspires them to help you achieve positive results.

In my experience, these interactions with people are frequent and sometimes frustrating. But staying calm and keeping the mission in mind can provide you with rich rewards.

“If you really want to effect change, you have to work with people,” says Penny Cistaro, executive director of the Whatcom Humane Society. “People created the problems, and only people will solve the problems. If you want to work for animals, you have to work with people.”

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