People to People
If you’ve fretted over the animals you’re not reaching, if you’ve ever wondered why some neighborhoods seem harder to reach or struggled with the fear that your messages and services aren’t getting where they need to go, you need to take a look at the Pets for Life Community Outreach Toolkit developed by The HSUS and funded by PetSmart Charities. Developed over the course of years of work and research in underserved communities around the country, the toolkit explores the reasons some messaging fails, and explores the ways to change that, helping animal welfare organizations get to the people they may be missing. It takes users step-by-step through the best ways to conduct community assessments in order to target outreach, develop program goals, talk to people about spay/neuter, and align your organization’s goals with community interests and priorities. In the battle to help animals, we often forget that people are crucial to our mission, and this publication will help remind readers that connecting with other human beings and meeting them with the nonjudgmental, friendly approach we ourselves would want is not only the most effective means to change, but the most rewarding. A PDF version of the toolkit can be downloaded in its entirety for free, and hard copies can be purchased online; search “toolkit” at animalsheltering.org.
A Paean to Shelter Pets
The first episode of Shelter Me, a documentary series produced by Steven Latham, debuted on PBS stations earlier this year. It’s an uplifting, well-crafted look at the many pets in shelters who would make fine companions or service animals. The first episode has three segments; one follows the journey of two stray dogs who enter the Los Angeles shelter system; the next, shelter dogs who’ve been paired for service-dog training with women inmates in a California prison; the last, shelter dogs chosen for their good temperament and matched with veterans struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder. It’s an engrossing hour, filled with scenes of the human-animal bond that shelter and rescue people will appreciate.