Monday, April 1, 2013

The Jigsaw Puzzle

One of our 1000 piece creations.  The missing piece in the middle? The dog ate it. Seriously.
It was a long, cold winter here in Wisconsin.  My husband and I spent many evening hours working on various jigsaw puzzles on our dining room table.

We have very different methods of working on the puzzles. He, being an engineer; is very methodical. He studies each piece and when he finally tries it in a spot - it usually fits.  I am much more haphazard; trying this and that, until I find the piece's spot. We probably each have a similar success rate. One way isn't better than the other. They're just different!

Sometimes we argued (imagine that); but most of the time we just sat in companionable silence; the only sound being the satisfying snap as the pieces fell into place. And of course, as usual; my mind often drifted away to the problems of animal welfare in America.

Animal welfare is kind of like a jigsaw puzzle; some animal lovers are working on the sky, the big blue boring part. These are the advocates working on changing laws and policies that kill companion animals in America. Some animal lovers are doing the more exciting bits, with more immediate satisfaction: rescuing, reuniting lost pets, adoptions.

At the end of it all, the parts will all fit together; like a jigsaw puzzle, to make a perfect picture of a No Kill nation.

But in the meantime, I think we're often holding onto each other's pieces. We might be doing it on purpose to satisfy our own agenda. Or it may be inadvertent. We're sitting on the pieces, or they're under our elbows or drink glasses.

Some examples:
  • Rescues and shelters with restrictive adoption policies, driving the pet-shopping public to commercial breeders and pet stores.  Requiring potential adopters to do a bunch of hoop-jumping will send them elsewhere and delay our progress. 
  • Well-meaning but misguided advocates that jump on the Mandatory Spay/Neuter or Pet Limit law bandwagon without researching the deadly implications of these laws.
  • A rush by shelters and rescues to rehome lost pets without making a decent attempt to try to locate the owner. Most shelter animals already have a home and shelters that are improving return to owner rates are freeing up space and resources for needier animals.
  • Cat lovers who preach that every cat, everywhere should live inside without realizing that this message is undermining the work of the community cat and barn cat advocates who are desperately trying to save the lives of unsocialized cats or those cats with litterbox problems.

There are a lot more. I bet you you can think of a few.

So please, in the big jigsaw of a No Kill nation,  make sure you aren't holding back the completion of the puzzle. You might have somebody's missing piece!


  1. Exactly! Well said!

    Another example, as you know, could be when animal rescue volunteers do not offer resources on basic training needs. If someone wants to surrender her dog due to potty training issues, hopefully the rescue would give her some training recommendations before jumping to the conclusion that she is a bad dog owner who shouldn't keep the dog.