Saving lives through collaboration


ark6Some of you have asked me in person, or in email how is it we could work with the ASPCA on the Arkansas rescue when we have vilified them in the past, especially over Oreo.

I’m surprised that people don’t understand this.
Surprised that some of YOU don’t understand it, and I felt that writing a blog would help to overcome some of the misconceptions.

Have you ever read Pets Alive mission statement?  Oh don’t bother to go and look for it, let me post it here for you:

Our mission is to improve the lives of companion animals everywhere by any means possible, including rescue, adoption, advocacy, collaboration, intervention and education.

That’s our mission statement.  Short and sweet.

One of the key words? COLLABORATION. Meaning?

1. the act of working with another or others on a joint project
2. something created by working jointly with another or others

So when we are approached by ANYONE to help them save the lives of animals, we need only consider our mission statement before saying YES.

I don’t disagree with everything the ASPCA has done.  They have done a lot of good.  They have a kick-ass spay/neuter program in NYC that spays, neuters and vaccinates pit bulls for FREE,  all the time, not just “on special”.  They do humane education. They offer low cost spay and neuter for other breeds via their mobile clinics.

ark1I’m not going to be a commercial for the ASPCA.  I can’t sing.  (OK, *I* think I can, but other people tell me I can’t).

You all are well aware of the MAJOR issue that we have with them, but to not help 100 little furry lives in Arkansas because we have issues between us is completely disgusting, reprehensible and absurd.

Our mission is to help animals. We would never ever turn away help to do that in any way.  Why should we?  Why would we?

Look at all the faces in this blog. Without the ASPCA’s help this time around, there would be NO WAY our rescue could afford to get them here.  It is costing between $5,000 and $10,000 to do so.  Our budget has absolutely no where near that sort of excess in it.  We struggle each month to pay all our bills and have a little left to buy needed operational items.  Our tractor just died.  Our gator barely works. Without a tractor the boys do everything manually.  When the gator goes, I can’t even imagine the extra work, especially with the farm animals.  Right now the axle of the gator is held together with a wrench that is permanently attached and can’t be moved. It’s a matter of time….

So when another organization steps up to the plate and says yes they will help and they have the money and the power to do so, then I say jump on board and let’s take this ride, because there are a lot of little lives counting on us.

ark5Last year we had some major disagreements with Best Friends.  Yet when they needed help with saving all those beagles from the laboratories we said YES, bring them here, we will help. And we did.  And together many lives were saved and we adopted out over 100 beagles in less than two weeks. What was the answer for those dogs if we had not stepped up?  If they had not stepped up?

We don’t have a lot of money but we ARE an adoption machine. The organizations that DO have a lot of money can work with us to save more lives, more animals AND more quickly and more efficiently.  So it behooves us all to work together to do that.

In this case we are working with the ASPCA, and Southwind Veterinary Hospital and another animal organization in Arkansas called AARF and I’ve also reached out to another organization in Arkansas (thank you Joy McMannus!) to help us go forward and be backup support for the rescue we are taking the 100 dogs from.  As they close their doors they will need support if any more animals get dumped on their doorstep.

It is all of us working together that will save these lives.

We could not afford to do it on our own.  The other organizations also couldn’t do it alone – they need someone to step up and take the animals in.  I’m forever grateful that we have our Westchester Facility with so much space, that we ARE able to do this.

ark7Alone we can save a number of lives.  Working TOGETHER we can save vastly more.  The numbers are actually limitless.

So what do you choose?
Save a few here and there?  Or save them all?

You have also asked if it is difficult to work with groups we have argued with and so vehemently disagreed with in the past.  That’s a good question.  I will admit it can be awkward and uncomfortable at times, but in this case and in the case with Best Friends, while we disagreed with decisions their upper management were making, the people on the ground, shoulder to shoulder with us, working in the trenches, scooping the animals up and working on solutions – were exactly like us.  No different.  They all loved animals.  They all wanted to see them safe.  They all hoped for the best and hoped for the future of the animals that were suddenly put into their arena and that they suddenly took responsibility for.

We are all the same.  We are all different.

But putting aside differences to work on saving lives CAN be done, and done well.

ark8I genuinely like the people I have been working with at the ASPCA on this mission.  Very much.  And I genuinely like the people I worked with on all the Best Friends joint ventures we have done.

We won’t ever forget our differences and it is likely our organizations will never agree with each other, but I find it inspiring and commendable to see us all come together when the lives of animals are at stake.  To put aside our differences and in front of us see ONLY that set of eyes that has no where else to turn. I’m not going to let those little eyes down.  None of us are.

So in this case all I can say is:
“Hey ASPCA – you ROCKED IT!  Thank you!”

So in conclusion what does this mean? Well to the dogs in Arkansas? “We got yer back little furry ones. We’re all here to be a soft landing for you.  I can’t wait for you to get here on Tuesday and to start to send you on your way to some warm and loving homes.”

And because of us, and because of the ASPCA and because of Southwind Animal Hospital,  100 dogs will find a safe place to land for Christmas.

Look at the pictures on this page.

They are worth anything.

They are worth everything.

– See more at:

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