How do you get a 9-year old Rottweiler and her six puppies adopted out?
Easy! You put up the headline, “63 year old gives birth to sextuplets!”
That’s just one marketing nugget shared by Mike Arms of the Helen Woodward Animal Center. Mike is an apparent maestro at managing media and message in order to find homes for animals.
Getting animals out of — or better yet, never into — shelters was a strong theme of the Alley Cat Allies conference. It’s a goal widely shared by companion animal advocates, and expressed as “no kill,” or more recently, “Save Them All,” coined by Best Friends Animal Society.
Close to 400 of us, from 37 states, Canada, and Israel gathered with ACA to talk strategy for saving cats. (Israel’s government is joining the movement, with a cash infusion to Trap-Neuter-Return 45,000 street cats there.) And when you save cats, you save other companion animals, because you free up space in rescues, shelters, and hearts for them to find homes.
Favorite conference quote:
“The animals have your hearts, but it’s your minds they need.” Mike Arms
Okay then, let’s play “I Spy:”
When Spartanburg Animal Services wanted to prove that free-roaming cats pose no dramatic danger to birds, their FBI National Academy alum, criminal investigator, used-to-do-narcotics-busts chief, Major Steve Lamb, targeted a cat community with a bunch of birds around and then put up surveillance cameras to watch them. No murders were witnessed. Case closed.
Also put your mind around this, Bonney Brown of the Humane Network reminds us. When you save a cat, you are having a positive economic impact on the community, through purchases of food and other supplies the cat will need. So money is being pumped into the economy, as opposed to killing, which costs taxpayers money.
Expenses associated with shelter intake, animal care, and euthanasia all go down when spay/neuter goes up. There are statistics and stories (because every “euthanasia” is an animal who would like to live) from around the country proving this. It’s even happening in that hub of hedonism, Las Vegas, at the Heaven Can Wait Animal Society. (Love that name!) And in the areas where it’s happening most dramatically, Trap-Neuter-Return of community cats is one big reason why. I’m seeing this in my own home area; check this out from the Humane Society of Tampa Bay.
And by the way:
Why are we calling them “shelters” anyway? Too few animals get out of “shelters” alive. We are working to change that, and one way would be to change our shelter names to “Pet Adoption Centers,” or “Pet Villages” – several names were thrown out, all of them designed to get adopters in and animals out. (See “Heaven Can Wait,” above, for creative nomenclature!)
The Let’s Go Get It Goal:
“Let’s put catching and killing in the history books and file it on the shelves.” Becky Robinson, president of Alley Cat Allies.
The Future is Now and she’s named Kimberly:
11-year old Kimberly Hernandez learned about TNR from a neighbor, cares for outdoor cats, and wants to be a vet. Here’s an excerpt from what she had to say:
I am the future.
I am an animal lover.
I believe that I can reach all my goals because I am me. I don’t have to change.
I believe that cats are a gift. To live is to give them some love.
I will do my best and nothing less to help cats…my best and nothing less.
Side note on conference chow:
The all vegan meals served up by the Hilton Crystal City had non-vegans vowing to convert on the spot. The food was beyond fantabulous. Crowd favorite: Gardein Beefless Strips served up as a stir fry/fajita filler. I saw more than one person going back for third and fourth helpings. (Another beauty of balanced veganism: you can do that!)
And a non-conference thank you:
To My Three Moggies for naming Lucy Miracle their November Fur Friend of the month.
“Moggie” is a colloquial British word for an everyday cat — Lucy loves her friends across the pond. They are a furry friendly bunch!