Thursday, November 18, 2010

Profile of a No Kill Advocate

Yesterday, I had a lot of time on my hands - catching up on reading, writing emails, thinking. I was on Lucy surveillance for Lost Dogs of Wisconsin. Lucy is an elusive German Shepherd/Golden Retriever mix that went missing on October 24th. She is owned by an 83 year old woman who was in the hospital and was being looked after by her son. A shy dog anyways, Lucy slipped her collar in a strange rural neighborhood and has been on the run for the last 3 weeks. She finally seems to have settled in a neighboring town and we're hoping a humane trap and some smelly food will do the trick.

Anyways - back to my point. I had lots of time to think - as I was slouched behind my steering wheel hoping to catch a glimpse and a picture of Lucy.  We No Kill Advocates are a bit of an unorthodox bunch and there is more than a few traditional shelter directors that wish we would go away. But too bad, so sad - we're not. So if you're looking for us - here's the typical profile of a No Kill Advocate:

1) An inquiring mind. Always wants to know the Why, What, Who, When, Where and How of animal welfare to figure out ways to improve the system.

2) Usually starts out as a typical shelter volunteer but becomes disenchanted when simple suggestions to save lives go unheeded.  Often becomes labelled as a "troublesome" volunteer - more problem than they're worth.

3) Smarter than average. Reads everything that they can gets their hands on - shares, blogs, posts, and arms themselves with facts and statistics to defend their position against the naysayers.

4) Often willing to get involved politically - because they realize that true change will come when  good laws and policies are implemented that will save lives and taxpayers' money.

5) Willing to attend conferences, seminars, webinars, etc. at their own expense. Again, to strengthen their position. Whereas - the dinosaurs and naysayers are too busy "in the trenches" to read anything new or attend any progressive animal welfare conferences that may save lives.

6) Good sense of humor. They are amused and emboldened by the fact that they are a threat to the status quo.   I laugh when I hear the bizarre rumors that people try to spread about me and I honestly feel sorry for folks who have nothing better to do than to gossip. (I guess you do have some time on your hands in the trenches).  I didn't play the gossip game in 6th grade and I'm certainly not going to start it now.

7) No Kill Advocates meet in coffee shops and fast food restaurants. They are rallying by the tens of thousands.  They couldn't make a difference "within" the system so they have to try a new approach. They are educating the masses and spreading the word about cities like Reno, St. Louis, Austin, Charlottesville.

And when you think about it - isn't it a bit sad? They're treated like the criminals, the outsiders, the troublemakers.  When all they're trying to do is save lives.

“He who rejects change is the architect of decay. The only human institution which rejects progress is the cemetery.” - Harold Wilson

And I got my picture of Lucy!


  1. Wow - what a timely post! See my personal message to you.
    And keep bouncing!
    MJ :)

  2. Reminds me so much of the closing presentation by Julie Castle at the 2009 No More Homeless Pets Conference. Be proud to be called the crazy ones because it's the crazy, outside thinking, ones who drive change. Hears to the CRAZY No Kill Advocates!!

  3. Wow! Its like you know me, but we've never met. Great minds truly DO think alike! Thanks for a truly fantastic post.

  4. you forgot one. A solution based approach to a problem! Realizing a solution is possible with research, resources, collaboration & hard work.

  5. Good Morning and what a power of inspiration.
    Being a NY resident I am ashamed and shocked at the New York City Animal Control Center who kills hundreds, thousands of animals for no apparent reason!! It is heartbreaking every night to see new postings of Pets on Death Row..these beautiful creatures are frighten to the point of shock, some never move they are motionless in their death chambers.
    I can not help but try to connect with people like yourself..I have written to our Mayor Bloomberg and I am ready to ask the millionaire Mr.Trump himself for help for these beautiful babies...what to do with a failing system...this is horrible..sickening..barbaric. I am speechless..
    Love, Lisa Rose Fabia Faga

  6. You are right on, Kathy! Man, I love you. :)