Sunday, October 16, 2011

Bravo to the Myth Slayers

This is Little Belle. She was fostered at Community Cat  for THREE YEARS and then adopted on the first day of the October black cat promotion. The new owner has  emailed about  how well Little Belle is doing, how quickly she acclimated, and what an amazing cat she is. 

Rumors are easy to start but hard to dispel. More often than not, more people read the original incorrect story than ever hear the correction that may be made later.  They regurgitate the same old myths for weeks, months and even years. Last week a rumor circulated like wildfire via social media that nails had been found in bits of cheese in dog parks in Chicago and Massachusetts.  A picture of a handful of cheesy nails accompanied the story and I must have seen it a hundred times those first couple of days.

Well, the rumor was just that. A rumor.  Snopes investigated and found the original story had come out of Argentina in July. There never were any cheesy nails or antifreeze in water bowls in dog parks in America as the story had reported. But I’m not sure if the truth circulated as widely as the rumor and I wouldn’t be surprised if there are still dog owners avoiding dog parks because of it. Poor dogs, sitting at home during the most beautiful fall weather of the year, because of a rumor.

When we allow ourselves to be held hostage by rumors and myths we lose. And animals in shelters potentially lose their lives.

I am thrilled to see that Community Cat from Whitewater, Wisconsin is facing down the myth of Black Cat Halloween adoptions head on. This is such an old wive’s tale that I couldn’t believe that people even bought into it anymore. But apparently they do.

Community Cat announced on their Facebook page: 
"OH YES WE ARE! Black cat adoption fees will be reduced to $13 for the month of October! Happy Halloween!";

Several fans commented with their concerns. The same thing happened late last week when Rock County Humane Society announced black cat specials. Facebook fans immediately jumped in to express their unhappiness.

So, if you STILL believe that Satan worshippers are waiting to scoop up black cats out of shelters for Halloween – here’s an article from Best Friends Animal Society for you.  And besides, adopters are still screened with normal adoption criteria. If someone flies in and parks their broom outside your shelter door you always have the right to deny them.

Austin Pets Alive has “ Putting the FUN in fungus “ adoption events – where cats with ringworm are adopted out with a goodie bag full of the treatment supplies.  I Love It! For goodness sakes – it’s a FUNGUS, not a life threatening disease. But some shelters are so worried about the consequences of going public when they have a ringworm case that they’ll  “depopulate’ and kill every animal with a hint of a ringworm spore rather than face the fungus head on and educating the public about this minor skin condition.

Most good shelters and rescues now realize that the Christmas holidays ARE a good time to adopt out pets. People are off from work and school and have the time to spend with their new pets.  Last year the IAMS Home for the Holidays promotion resulted in over 1 million adoptions throughout North America. This year they are aiming for 1.5 million adoptions.  How’s that for a live-saving myth buster?

What other myths does your shelter or rescue bust?  Kudos to you. I’d love to hear them.

Trying to squash a rumor is like trying to unring a bell. - Shana Alexander

1 comment:

  1. Those are great ideas--what an inspiring post!

    The shelter I volunteer at does special promotions for types of animals that struggle to get adopted. A while ago there were a ton of brindle pit bulls, so they did a "Brindle is the new Black" promotion to get the word out about these beauties. A rescue group I've worked with does "fall colors" specials for tortoiseshell cats, who also have trouble getting adopted for some reason.

    The putting the FUN in fungus one has to be the best though!