Colorado is showing its compassion for homeless pets.
In 2012, an event was started nationally called Just One Day. Created by Mike Fry of Animal Ark Shelter and Animal Wise Radio out of Minnesota. Mike’s idea was pretty simple. Shelters and other organizations would not kill animals for Just One Day. This seemed like a pretty good, simple idea to me. I decided I would get in touch with some organizations and ask them to pledge. And on June 11, we would see more adoption events, more adoptions, and no homeless pets dying in shelters. And then, with empty cages the next day, it could happen again. How far could we go?
Maybe an “A” for effort, but I was not very effective as only 15 organizations signed up and I am not sure how many came from my prodding. I didn’t see a major upsurge in adoption events and after, started looking into why I was so ineffective. I was so disappointed.
I went to the No Kill Conference in 2012 right after that. 900 people from 44 states were there. Some of the most successful communities were represented, not the least of which was Austin, that has successfully been saving over 90% of ALL animals entering the shelter system since around that time.
Talking with people at the conference, getting more involved corresponding with some of them, and thinking of why it’s just not better for homeless pets in Colorado and across the U.S. except in a few dozen communities that cropped up was baffling to me.
Then I realized it was because they didn’t just crop up. Ryan Clinton, founder of Fix Austin and the catalyst for change worked hard and long to change Austin. He stood out there, was ridiculed and attacked. But a few people gather around him. And then a few more. And then a lot more. And then homeless pets in Austin found themselves in the safest place in the United States to be homeless. Austin Texas.
Mike, Ryan and many others made something clear to me; the success is from the general public, which cares so much more about homeless pets than the shelter industry or government officials give them credit for. And if you just reach out to them, they will come forward, they will help save lives.
People around the U.S., spurred by people like Ryan have done this over and over. And when they reach out and ask for help, they find it. Which is how Rescue One Dog became aware of No Kill Colorado. I was looking to start No Kill Colorado and I ran into a few local folks that were doing the same thing. One of the board members invited me to their first public meeting through Facebook and when I showed up, to my surprise, there were more than 20 people there. That was in 2012.
Most of these people were shelter and rescue volunteers, which is a good start and very encouraging. People in the system are quite often the hardest to convince to reject the status quo: “Too many, animals”, “an irresponsible public”, “not enough money”, “killing is a kindness”. None of these are absolutes. None of these should stop us from killing healthy/treatable pets. Most of the attendees did not believe this. They believed not only should we try to save every healthy/treatable animal entering our shelters, it was our obligation to do so, and it was possible to succeed.
No Kill Colorado started looking for how it could help facilitate change in the state. The basic tools started to be utilized. Facebook, Twitter, a web site, email and meetings. Outreach to shelters, rescues, and other related organizations.
And people started coming. A few hundred that have learned about us have joined up. You should too if you haven’t already.
At that point we decided Just One Day should be our first initiative. Just One day needed not only more pledges, but an event to promote the need for adopters, educate the general public and save lives on June 11th. We put the word out and the “irresponsible public” came forward.
We are going to be criticized. How someone turns around and criticizes and event designed to save more pets is baffling to me. But they will reject this attempt at bringing homeless pet stories to the public, getting more adoptions and proclaiming, even if it is for one day, that no homeless pets will be killed for cage space or other reasons other than truly suffering from irredeemable conditions. Some organizations have already made it plain that we are muddying the waters. By trying to save more pets. The status quo hates change.
This year, working with No Kill Colorado, with more people on board, and more effective strategies by organizers and volunteers, Colorado not only has 4 more times the organizations participating, they are leading the nation along with California and Arizona with over 60 pledges, June 11, 2013 will be the safest day for homeless pets in Colorado. Join No Kill Colorado today, and please come to the event in City Park on June 11, 2013 if you can. Thank the participating organizations for changing the chances for homeless pets in Colorado.
We can save more pets that day, we can save them every day together.
You don’t have to adopt to come to the event. Come see the rescues and shelters working every day to save homeless pets. Learn more about what you can do. Having an informed public is the incredibly important. There will be education, entertainment, and food as well as adoptable animals for you to visit. Join here.
Click here you want to help you want to volunteer.
Click here you want to help you have a business that would like to participate.