I'm on vacation this week so I thought I'd re-post this blog from my old site since I've gained a lot of new followers recently. Thank you for joining me!
Most people in animal rescue have heard it a thousand times. The first time I ever heard it was at church. The pastor used it to exemplify how as Christians we should help each other - even if saving one soul at a time seemed like an overwhelming task. Animal rescuers say that is how they keep going - they save one animal at a time.
It's a beautiful story - I have two starfish necklaces and a starfish pin that I wear proudly. If you aren't familiar with it - here is the original version:
One day a man was walking along the beach when he noticed
a woman picking something up and gently throwing it into the ocean.
Approaching the woman, he asked, "What are you doing?"
The woman replied, "Throwing starfish back into the ocean.
The surf is up and the tide is going out. If I don't throw them back, they'll die."
"Ma'am," the man said, "don't you realize there are miles and miles of beach and hundreds of starfish?
You can't make a difference!"
After listening politely, the woman bent down, picked up another starfish,
and threw it back into the surf. Then, smiling at the man, she said..."
I made a difference for that one."
But I have also seen problems with the single-minded focus of the story. I envision the animal rescuer carefully cupping the starfish (a rescued dog or cat) in her hands. Focusing so intently as she carries it back to the water, she is oblivious to everything going on around her.
Thousands of people have come down to the beach - wanting to know how they can get involved, how they can help - but instead of looking up from her starfish and organizing the newcomers into teams and efficient distribution lines where they could save thousands of starfish - she can only focus on the one she carries. She says: "I'm too busy, I'm too overwhelmed - saving just this one - I don't have time to explain to you how you can help. I haven't had time to educate myself on the newest animal welfare practices and facts and figures." And so the newcomers stumble around blindly - some get discouraged and quit, some waste time re-inventing the wheel, most fall into the trap of carrying one starfish at a time back to the water.
Sound familiar? How many rescue groups and shelters do you know that don't have time to organize a volunteer program, a proper foster home network, an efficient website and social media program or an offsite adoption program? All of these things have proven track records of success for saving lives. How many shelters and rescues are out there that miss out on conferences, free webinars and seminars because they don't have the resources and the time? Yet how can they not make the time? How can they not find the funds? The knowledge gained by learning the cutting-edge methods will save lives, cut costs, and improve efficiency.
Please, look up from that one starfish once in awhile. See, read, absorb - because there are so many new wonderful life-saving strategies that are working around the nation. It is time to run up and down the beach and join forces. We are a No Kill Nation and we are closer than you have ever imagined.