Friday, April 21, 2006
Keep up the great work!I've worked at the EBSPCA for about six years. I've seen thousands of animals come and go, many employees come and go, and watched the seasonal trends (kittens, puppies, adoption numbers, etc) year after year. Not a lot is new anymore, but that doesn't mean I've figured it all out.
For example, about a year ago, our Tri Valley shelter was having a hard time adopting out animals. The adoption rates were going down and dogs and cats were staying longer. And of course this was troubling since longer stays means we can help fewer animals.
We tried to think through all the possibilities...of why this was occurring. Did we not have enough foot traffic? Not it. Plenty of people were still coming to visit. They just weren't leaving with a pet. Did we not have a good selection of dogs and cats? Not it. We had a nice mix of every color, size, breed, personality at all times. Did we need to change our adoption process? Not it. We used the same process in Oakland and were doing fine thre. I never quite figured out what the problem was.
Fast forward, a year later...the Tri Valley shelter is kicking butt! They are doing more adoptions then ever before AND the return rate (the number of animals that come back to us after being adopted) has decreased as well. Long term dogs in Oakland are getting adopted in Tri Valley. Adult cats are getting adopted quickly. Clients are happy, complaints are at a all time low, and the place is busier than ever.
So why the change? While I don't actually know the "true" answer (and I probably never will), my guess is that we have an absolutely fabulous team of employees and volunteers there right now. They all want to be there, work well together, help each other and support each other. AND they get that they only reason they are there is to help these animals get new homes. It isn't about whether they "like" a client, or think the family with 3 kids "isn't worthy" enough to get a puppy. It isn't about judging people. It is about helping people find a good match. It isn't about setting people up to fail. It is about setting expectations and following through.
I could not be more proud of all of them. If I was the drinking type, I would raise my glass to T, S, S, A, R, L, L, J, K, S, C and all those volunteers, who do an incredible job each and every day. Keep up the great work!