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Get Over Yourself

Over the past couple of months I have had the pleasure to chat with Amanda Arrington – Associate Director of Humane Communities Program for HSUS and the director of the Coalition to Unchain Dogs. We are both involved in a regional project around focused spay/neuter. Once the region enters their data into our GIS technology, we will then identify neighborhoods of high-intake risk and develop S/N interventions to impact this population.

Once we find the areas of risk, the difficult work begins – how do we assure that pet guardians take advantage of our services?

Amanda inspired me with her passion for understanding the perspective of those we want to impact. Simply put, she understands how ineffective—and, frankly, disrespectful—it is to preach the urgency of S/N from a euthanasia or “overpopulation” perspective to an individual who may be living a reality of trying to find funds to put food on the table.  Amanda’s experience comes from her work as director of the Coalition to Unchain Dogs, a grassroots program that builds fences for pet guardians with dogs on chains.

The program is wickedly successful because of the one-on-one contact and the simple animal behavior technique of thinking from the perspective of others in order to modify behavior. I can talk all day about the power of this process… but how about you see for yourself. Take a look at this video.

I love how the team becomes a part of the community.  I love when the one fellow is asked why he did not want to hear about S/N and he says, “’Cause I breed… that is what I did…” And when asked why he does not anymore… the way he points at Amanda and says, “She don’t give up…” Man, oh man … it takes work to affect change! Whether we are trying to adopt more animals, spay and neuter more animals, or increase the likelihood that pets will stay in the home, we must take the time to learn our audience and come from their perspective. In the words of Amanda, we need to “get over ourselves…” How will you take this work and incorporate it into what you do? Related links: Coalition to Unchain Dogs Just Who Do You Think You’re Talking To?

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