Monday, January 04, 2010

Pets Alive and No Kill

A very thoughtful post from Pets Alive's Kerry Clair on what No Kill means and on the model of No Kill they have chosen to embrace.

I owe a tremendous debt to Pets Alive and I'm grateful to have been able to have the experience of volunteering there. I'm glad Kerry addressed the issue of warehousing, a charge that is frequently lobbed at sanctuaries, and talked about the unique way in which they handle the issue.

Dogs that go to Pets Alive for sanctuary due to behavioral (or any other) issue are given the best quality of life possible because all of their needs are considered; not just their physical needs. Even animals that can never be adopted out will be loved, socialized and walked not just by staff... but by volunteers. I'm talking about biters, dogs that have the capacity to be genuinely dangerous. Volunteers who understand the risks that they are taking and who want to develop a loving bond with these animals are allowed to work with them, hopefully to modify their behavior but if that is not possible to enrich their lives and give them as much social contact as possible - to keep their minds alive as well as their bodies, to let them know love.

I do not know of any other shelter or sanctuary that operates this way. Indeed, from a liability standpoint it may be quite insane. But when I was starting to learn more about dogs and really wanted to work with dogs that were behaviorally challenged with an understanding of the risks, Pets Alive allowed me to in a supportive environment - for me and for the dogs. I wouldn't have developed the handling skills I have without that, and I would not have got to know so many wonderful animals who need a little extra time and effort - for which I am profoundly grateful.

UPDATE 1/5: Fixed the first link to Kerry's blog! Whoops!

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