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Coffee Break: Most Common Misconception About Your Organization

What’s the most common misconception the public has about your organization? What would you like them to understand about your work, your colleagues, and the animals? That was the question we asked you for this issue’s Coffee Break. Some of you talked about how often people think your work is too sad, while others were surprised by how many people seem to expect your animals and services to be free.

The biggest misconception visitors/adopters have is that everything is given to us “free,” so they wonder why we charge adopters for a pet. We have to constantly explain that we do not get government money, and all of our products and services are not free. Many people remember the days of free puppies being handed out from a box by some child at the grocery store. [They want to know] why are we charging for a mutt—we should be giving them away. We find educating adopters about why we charge takes a lot of our time. Many people also think we must make lots of money, otherwise why would we be charging? … There is also a lot of confusion as to what a “rescue” is. Many think we are animal control and can solve their complaints about neighbors, etc.

Karen Burns, VP/Kennel Manager, Pet Resource Network, Otsego, Michigan

Seemingly daily we shelter employees hear someone say, “I could never do your job because I love animals too much.” The public needs to know that it is because we love animals so much that we do our jobs; year after year, whiskered face after whiskered face, tears upon tears, and smile after smile. It is our deep love, devotion, and dedication to animals that keep us coming back. It is the happy stories, the cheerful tear-filled adoptions and reunions, the relieving of suffering, and the need to educate the public that keep us coming back.

Cindy Carlson, Lead Kennel Attendant, Henderson Animal Shelter, Henderson, Nevada

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