In all the years I’ve worked in animal welfare, I’ve always held strongly to the belief that we are better together. I do not view other animal welfare organizations as competition, but as my colleagues, friends, and partners in this mission of helping animals and the people who love them. And I don’t just say it – I live it – and by living it, I have learned a lot more than I would have if the only perspective I had was my own.
I’ve learned that no organization is perfect. As a collective group of people that care deeply about the plight of homeless dogs and cats, we need to come to the realization that criticizingothers is counterproductive, and instead, find ways to help each other become more impactful. We all struggle with similar challenges as well as issues unique to our organizations and efforts. Bideawee is not Animal Care Centers of New York and they are not us. We have different strengths and different obstacles. We are not the ASPCA, North Shore Animal League America, ARF or Best Friends. And although we each have uniquely defined missions that vary from organization to organization we should always work together to ensure the greatest outcome for animals in need.
So, what does that mean for Bideawee and for the work we do? What does it mean for the animals in our care? It means that we have our own unique goals for the pets and people we help, it means we have our own areas of specialty (how many organizations can say they do adoptions AND have two pet memorial parks with more than 65,000 pets buried among other programs), and our own unique set of challenges. It means that we are not perfect; we acknowledge this, work daily to be better, and know that we are limited as a singular organization. But I promise you that if we put the dedication and passion of the Bideawee Team together with the dedication and passion of other teams from other organizations, we will do more for the animals we strive to help. I see it in action on a regular basis, from work that moves forward after a casual lunch meeting with peers from other groups, to an email seeking advice that results in a meaningful solution to a challenging problem. We are better when we work as a team.
Sometimes in the emotionally-charged world of animal welfare, it can be easy to criticize the perceived flaws of the those who purport to help. We feel it on a regular basis and we know that others do too. And it can really hurt because we are all trying our best to help as much as possible in any way possible. But there are always more animals to help. Always pets and people in need of our services and we are all limited by something. But I see the incredible passion of everyone working in this field, in my own organization and those around us and I know that rather than criticize our friends and colleagues for their shortcomings, we should instead be asking if they need a little help. We are all struggling to do more and we can only do it by resisting the urge to tear each other down, and instead, build each other up. We are all in this together.