3 New Ways to Work with Your Sheltering Neighbors
You guys are no strangers to working together and showing your communities that in your neck of the woods, the animals come first. If you’re looking for more ways to strengthen relationships with surrounding shelters, here are a few new ideas to add to the mix.
Turn to Shelters as Rest Stops
Other agencies can help you with your transfer efforts even if they aren’t receiving your animals for adoption. Sometimes the animals you’re transferring in or out face a long car ride, and they’re going to need a break to stretch their paws. See if shelters, rescues and spay/neuter clinics on your transfer route will let you stop in to give the animals a potty break and exercise. The folks at Humane Society of South Mississippi map their route online to locate agencies along the way—“Give them a call in advance to get their permission and give them time to prepare for your arrival,” suggests HSSM’s Shelli Skiados. In HSSM’s experience, many agencies are willing to help.
P.S. Don’t forget to offer up your agency as a rest stop for others!
Get the Big Picture in Your Community
Geographic Information Systems (GIS) is a tool for mapping, literally, the geographic location of animals coming into shelters. These maps allow you to see where at-risk animals—cats and dogs living in areas that are sending the most animals into shelters—are coming from, and target those hot spots with intervention programs like spay/neuter.
To get the most accurate picture of at-risk areas, you’ll need to look beyond your agency and analyze the data of at least 85% of your community—this means working with other shelters and rescues. “Start by looking for a GIS analyst in your area who can help connect you with your neighboring agencies,” advises Greg Miller, ASPCA GIS Analyst. “Check your local university to see if you can find a GIS student willing to volunteer.” Yes, it’s a big project, but it’s a fantastic way to strengthen those relationships within your community!
Create a Lost Dog Network
It’s common sense that in order to reunite more lost dogs with their families in your community, you’ll be more successful if you cast a wider net to cover more area. Take advantage of social media to network with your neighboring agencies.
Use Facebook and Twitter to:
- Post one another’s lost pet info. Usually it’s as simple as hitting the “share” or “retweet” button, and you’re bringing that lost pet a valuable extra multitude of eyeballs—your fans and followers.
- Give each other props. Susan Taney, Founder and Director of Lost Dogs Illinois, says, “When you publicly acknowledge the other agencies in your area that have been involved in pet/family reunions, you go a long way toward strengthening relationships with those organizatons… and just think of all the lives you’ll save and the lost dogs you’ll return when you continue to work together.”
What’s the word in your neighborhood—how are you partnering up with other agencies in your area? We’d love to hear in the comment box.