Friday, October 22, 2010

360 Rescue

The world of rescue is full of roads and like life full of choices.  One of the most challenging things for most rescues is making hard choices for very ill or injured animals.  For animals whose temperament or age make them unsafe and unhappy

The other hard choice can be to choose not to pull when the resources are not available.  The constant cry for money and fosters, volunteers and adopters gives the impression that rescues live in a constant crisis mode.  So often there is a strong need to save them all.  Too often this comes at a huge cost to the animals and the rescue.  It does not have to be this way.  There can be sustainable balance where animals can be saved, the rescue can provide care and there are adoptable animals finding a forever home!

As an example, a rescue which is oriented saving the next dog can forget about the dogs which are still needing their care and the fosters and adopters which still need their help and support.  Rescue needs to have a 360 view of the world around them, not just a small angle of focus.  If you look at it not as a pie chart but as a person who stands looking out the same small window, you may see what I mean.

That small window may only show dogs (for example) who need to be pulled from a kill shelter or it may show a sick animal suffering with no care but it doesn't show the whole picture.  It doesn't show the other important jobs of a full rescue.  It doesn't show that the animals still need you even after they are saved.  

A full 360 rescue not only pulls animals from harm (close to home or via long distance relay transport), they ensure that the animals are treated, assessed and made ready for foster homes and then they work with their fosters to get them ready for adoption.  Fosters and volunteers are what makes rescue work, and no one can afford to squander their life blood.

We need less crisis mode rescue and more 360 rescue where the animals are not just saved but also cared for until the end of their life.  No one can survive in crisis mode for long.

360 rescue  and those who see the whole rescue picture understand that you are not successful if you are only focussed on one area.  It has to be more than the pull, the dramatic save it has to be the day to day animals are being placed with the right people, the fosters and adopters have someone who is available to help them and they know they are not alone

All animals, not just special needs animals, should have the fosters and adopters staying in touch with each other for support and help.  Fosters need respite, they need breaks so they don't burn out.  Volunteers need to be heard and those who are adopters need to feel a sense of community.  As a rescue you need to be there for the easy animals  and those who are more challenging.  

When a foster or adopter calls to say they are lost and don't know what to do you need to be there for them and not be focussed on the next pull, next crisis, the next __________.  You made a choice to save that animal you need to keep helping that animal.

Fosters make it easier for animals to be adopted - build supports for fosters!

Adopters make a choice to adopt not shop - built supports for adopters!

Volunteers give of their time and resources - make every bit count!

Rescues make choices about the animals they save and the resources they use - they need to be accountable for each animal.  

From the time you pull to the time they have their last rest.  That may mean making hard choices in a time of crisis.  It may mean doing things differently or facing challenges in other areas.  That could mean choosing for the animal and not for the human self.

Animals only know quality of life not quantity of life.  People put the quantity on things, forgetting that there are times when quality counts more.  That may be hours, days, months or years.  All they know is now is good, or bad.  

Could you choose for the animal when that choice meant stopping their suffering? Or do you have to have the save?  Can you picture how many could be helped if you didn't need the save?  

Join the discussion about 360 Rescue here at Chore Time!

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