There Are Winners and There Are…
…Winners! You thought I was going to say losers, right? Nay – it’s all about attitude!
Last week we announced the official prize winners in the ASPCA $100K Challenge, but there are so many winners from this grueling competition. Of the 42 agencies responding to our post-contest survey, 86% reported trying new programs, 81% saved more lives than they would have without the Challenge, and 70% broke one or more of their adoption records. Meanwhile, the vast majority (73%) of respondents said the Challenge was more – or MUCH more – work than they’d anticipated. And yet, they tackled the contest with gusto. That’s the right attitude!
- From ARL Iowa, Stephanie Filer said, It’s been an exhausting, yet reviving past 9 months and a journey that we are now better for. If even just 1 more life was saved, it would all have been worth it, but for us, it was 206 more than last year…and it will be even more as we move forward with the programs, processes and momentum that we started as a result of being challenged to be and do better!
- At Monmouth County SPCA, Laurie Garrison reported heading into their fourth consecutive record-breaking month for adoptions: The Challenge has inspired us in so many ways to do everything we do better, and that is resulting in more lives saved.
- Our last empty-the-shelter event was a great success and had the most adoptions ever in one day for our facility. It’s amazing to see the different attitude that staff have … In preparation, they were excited but knew it was going to be a lot of work. Throughout the Challenge and in the end, they were able to see the difference they made in so many animals’ and families’ lives – and it was more than worth it! wrote Stacey Price from Kitsap Humane Society.
But the winning attitude didn’t only show up at the end of the Challenge, there were signs all along the way.
- After their round-the-clock adoption event, Mary Jarvis of Washington Animal Rescue League told us, Not ONE of our staff nor our volunteers complained about the weekend. They were all walking on air with the thrill of sending so many animals home – and some of our longest term residents too!!
- Tomorrow we are going to Palm Beach Animal Control to get some cats!!!!, wrote Jo-Anne Roman of Humane Society of Broward County. We have empty cages for the first time in so many summers. It’s working and we are all so happy.
- And then there was this heart-stopping blog post from The Humane Society of South Mississippi: On October 12, 2011 HSSM experienced, for the first time in history, a day when NO healthy, adoptable pets were euthanized. We want 364 more days like October 12, 2011. It can be done. We CAN end pet homelessness. We are already well on our way there.
Not only did Challengers have to contend with all of the normal things that sheltering throws at you, but many faced natural disasters and responded to cruelty cases. And not only did Ventura County Animal Services have to contend with budget cuts, but also the tragic death of their Shelter Manager and friend. Still, staff and volunteers persevered to keep saving more lives. Monica Nolan writes, When I added in the outstanding transfers, I realized that we met the goal we had put for ourselves – 1,780! The best news is that, not even taking into account the outstanding affidavits, we showed that with a 4% increase in intake, we were able to decrease our euthanasia rate by 11% (dogs) and 10% (cats)! That’s what it’s all about! The Challenge was a “challenge,” but one we learned from, grew tremendously as an organization, and in the end are grateful that we participated in.
And speaking of goals, of all the amazing things that grand-prize winner Austin Pets Alive! staff and volunteers did to save more lives (and there were many), it’s possible that the single most important thing they did was to start out by setting what Jim Collins, author of Good to Great, would call a “big, hairy, audacious goal:” save 2,000 lives in 3 months! In the end, they didn’t quite reach the 2,000 – but it doesn’t matter – they stretched like crazy to get as close to 2,000 as they could and they’re already talking about what’s next!
The 49 agencies that finished this year’s ASPCA $100K Challenge adopted or RTO’d an incredible 52,484 cats and dogs in three months this year. That’s an increase of 8,977 more lives saved. And these numbers don’t even count another 6,878 animals transferred to rescue and other agencies for adoption! That’s a total gain of 15,855 – 36%! That’s 15,855 very important wins – all because staff and volunteers tackled the Challenge with the right attitude.
Which brings me to this great quote by Chuck Swindoll: The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude to me is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company…a church…a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past…we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the string we have, and this is our attitude. I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it. And so it is with you – we are in charge of our own attitudes.