Tuesday, June 06, 2006
Rules are meant to be broken aren't they?I'm the "rule" queen around here. I think rules, procedures, and policies are critical to ensuring consistent quality of care for our animals, our employees, our clients and our volunteers. Having procedures seems bureaucratic to some, but it also provides a level of professionalism and consistency that eliminates a lot of confusion, frustration and questions. New employees often get overwhelmed by the number of procedures we have and wonder why we have so many. But after a while, they understand that they are all there for a reason to prevent some misunderstanding or problem.
Our dogs are fed at 4pm.
Our poop buckets are kept in the same place each day.
Our cats get towels after spay neuter surgery, but cats in isolation do not.
Our volunteers wear aprons to keep them clean and identify them.
Our employees wear shirts with our logo on them.
You get the point.
But today, I made two pretty big exceptions to rules that I, myself, created.
We got two different emails in our info@ address account. We get about 10-20 per day and two us respond to each one personally within hours, but usually within minutes.
The first one was from someone that adopted a dog from us 14 years ago. Her now 15 year old dog was having a hard time lately. Couldn't move. Losing weight. Not doing well. This person couldn't afford, due to many reasons including divorce, job loss, etc to take him to a vet to get euthanized. She also didn't have a car and had no way to bring him to us. So tomorrow, we'll be going to her house to pick up her poor boy and bring him back to our shelter for a humane euthanasia. We could barely hear her "thank you's" through her sobs.
The second one was from someone that adopted a dog from a rescue. The dog wasn't aggressive, she said, but it was nipping at people. The rescue wouldn't take the dog back and another trainer recommended euthanasia. I listened (ie read) her story and told her that we couldn't place a dog with that history up for adoption either. We could set her up with a trainer if she was interested in working with the dog. She responded that she knew what she had to do, but her family and friends were telling her that she should keep the dog and she wanted someone else to tell her it was "Ok" to put the dog to sleep for safety reasons. We don't offer these kind of evaluations as a service, but I told her to come on in and we'd evaluate the dog. She did and we did and although I'm not sure what she is going to do now, I think she left with a lot more information and knowledge than when she came in.
So, we don't do house calls and we don't offer behavior evaluations like this one, but today we did and two clients and their dogs are the better off for it.
Rules are meant to be broken aren't they?