Thursday, August 11, 2011

ORA's Founder Thoughts for Thursday

Some days, it really seems like sad news much outweighs the happy. Between wild animal species facing extinction and domesticated animals being mistreated, abandoned and killed, it can be really difficult to find a silver lining.

However, from time to time, some good news leaves us hopeful that things may be improving and that animals may be on their way to being regarded with the respect and consideration that any living creature deserves.

We would like to share one such uplifting story here today. This good news does not come this time from a dedicated rescue group or from some committed animal advocate, but from the “establishment,” from an Animal Control - from Calgary Animal Services.

Undoubtedly, Calgary Animal Services has taken over the “Leadership of Change” amongst all the established animal organizations in Canada, and its success as well as the means employed for its achievements deserve our consideration and close attention.

Almost unheard of before, Calgary Animal Services works together with the local Humane Society and with rescue groups, in the collective and harmonious goal to benefit the animals. Most of us active in animal welfare in other parts of Canada have only experienced rivalry and the deleterious effects of strong egos amongst animal organizations; and most grass-root rescue groups are just objects of contemptuous disregard from the “big ones.”

But if such beneficial cooperation has been attained in Calgary, why could we not do the same in Hamilton, in Toronto, in Montreal and everywhere else? All that is needed is for the “right people” to be in charge - people eager to really help the animals and willing to work seriously toward this objective.

In fact, what Bill Bruce, Director of Calgary Animal Services and Bylaws, and his team have achieved is not accidental: it is due to the desire, vision and commitment to do something positive for the animals. Bill notes that he wakes up every morning thinking, “what can we do better for the animals today?”. The desire to help the animals, the strong motivation and the strong sense of responsibility makes all the difference.

It is this work ethic, together with the refusal to follow the ways of the past, that makes great accomplishments possible.

That is true for any person who makes a difference in this world. Too often, when confronted with some bad news or with issues of animal cruelty, which are predominant in our world - such as factory farming, massive killing of animals in pounds or hunting - many people react with resignation. “That is the way it is,” “What can you do?,” all phrases that reveal disappointment, helplessness and acceptance of the status quo.

We certainly cannot do anything if we do not want to do anything. A lot can be accomplished if we replace the rhetorical question “what can you do?” with a serious investigation of “what are our options and what are we willing to do.” No matter what position we occupy in society, if we are motivated and sincere about taking action, we can make a difference and our deeds can entice others to follow suit.

What Calgary Animal Services is accomplishing is not only beneficial to the animals and to the community in Calgary, but it is also important because it creates a model for others to imitate and follow. Examples are infectious, and before you know it, an isolated case develops into a trend and into a movement bringing about radical change. And this is hopefully the next good story we hope to report and share with you soon: the success of other Animal Services across Canada, inspired by the Calgary example, to put an end to pet homelessness.

Claudia Vecchio
Volunteer Chairperson

ORA-Organization for the Rescue of Animals

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