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How do you know which charity to support?

IMG_6819It’s a great question and your hard earned money should go to who you believe is in sync with your beliefs and character. I always recommend if possible, visit the shelter or do follow ups on cases you have supported. With the constant mud slinging on Facebook I see daily, it’s sometimes a really difficult decision. Sometimes jealousy causes people to say unfounded things in order to get people to support them instead of another charity. Sometimes you do or don’t agree with something the charity has said or done. Sometimes it’s just the twinkle in the eye of that special dog, whose story really touched your heart. For whatever reason, choosing to donate to an animal charity is one of the most selfless and admirable things a person can do in my eyes.

There are a few things I always look out for when looking for a charity to support, the first thing is, I should always be able to see if the charity is doing good work, do they have good programs in place for their animals and their communities? When you meet the staff are they knowledgeable about the animals in their care? If a charity starts off by telling me how bad or how another charity doesn’t need my money, it’s never a good start for me. I don’t want to see endless sadness of abused animals, I want to see how they changed that dogs life around and to see with the help of my donations this dog has a new lease on life.

I read a comment on Facebook today, where someone was criticizing an animal shelter because they raised a lot of money. I thought to myself, in what world is a charity being successful and doing huge things for animals a bad thing? No-one ever complains that  Mcgregor and Mayweather earned MILLIONS of dollars, for their boxing match ?

IMG_6736YET people who are dedicating their lives to saving lives are criticized because they raised funds. Some days I think I’m from another planet. It should be all of our goals to raise more funds so we can help more animals or even better, raise so much money that we can sterilize so many more animals so we can eventually be no longer needed. Isn’t that the big plan ?

Within this same sentence they said people should not support the successful, well run charity. They should only support smaller shelters , because the other charity is too wealthy. It’s a sentence I see often on Facebook and a sentence that irks me every time.

With all my being, I totally agree you should support smaller well run shelters but you should be supporting a shelter or rescue group on the work they do not the size of the shelter or the money they have or do not have. The reason the big shelters have more money is because they have done great work and people have supported them and they have grown. All shelters start off small and if you are good and do good work you will grow because people support the good work you do.  The big plus of the bigger charities is, when you need big things done, they are the ones that can step up to the plate and help. We smaller shelters spend all our time focusing on our local communities and don’t always have the means to go out and rescue hundreds of animals in one go.

The comment I was talking about on social media was about the hurricane and flooding in Texas, Best Friends Animal Society. One of the biggest animal sanctuaries in America was putting together a team and the materials needed to get there from Utah to Texas to help with the rescue work. The next day I saw a live video of Best Friends in Texas with boats and huge trucks, to be able to move animals to safety, the following video was them in a hall with 80+ animals they had just transported to safety.  Safety from one of the smaller local shelters that was completely overwhelmed. It was incredible to see so many animal charities working together for the same cause the animals.

So if people had followed the comment on social media and didn’t support Best Friends and just the local small shelter, would the small shelter have been able to rally up the trucks, boats, the location, the qualified staff and the staff to co-ordinate the whole rescue mission? Probably not. So again I ask you to support a charity for the work you see them doing. Not just pictures on social media, real live work they do each day.

 

IMG_6810There is a huge need for all sizes of rescue groups, rescues that may even focus on different areas, so they can hone in on their specific expertise.

There are so many great rescue groups that also focus on a specific need, like specific breed, old dogs, special need dogs or puppies for example. All of these different types of groups are needed and allow each of them to do the best they can for their specific field.

 

Dogtown for example takes in misunderstood dogs, the Dogtown Team are certified trainers and behaviorists so their focus is working with real hands on rehabilitation daily with the dogs in their care, for us it’s better to take in a dog from another rescue centre who they are struggling with, so we can give that dog the chance and guidance they need.While the other shelter can use that space for a more adoptable dog. We both can help each other. What people need to remember is when a shelter is prolife, space is limited. A space can only open up when a dog is adopted, that’s how it works. At Dogtown those spaces dont free up voften as some of the dogs are on a long rehabilitation programmes. We also have a waiting list for those who need our help. So in reality the only way Dogtown can take in more dogs is to expand the centre and build more gardens and hire more caregivers. But again this all takes funds and if we become bigger are we going to be punished for growing. Although our centre concentrates on rehabilitation over 60% of our rescue centre is beautiful adoptable dogs, just patiently waiting for their forever homes. So come and pop in and visit us or become a part of our family and help us save more. Email pat@dogtownsa.org to find out how you can help us.

Animal welfare is not easy for anyone. It’s not just cuddling puppies and taking dogs for walks. Much more happens behind the scenes, much more sadness, frustration and sleepless nights. Every charity works hard to raise funds so they can do more.

IMG_6801Any well run charity will do more as they get more funds. It’s a 2 way street between the public and the charity. If the charity only generates enough funds to properly care for 100 dogs then that’s all they can do. If more people support them, then they can do more.

However if you are doing a great job and taking great care of your animals, people say you have too much money (sobs from the pit of stomach) but then if you take in way too many animals, that you cannot take proper care of, then you’re a hoarder and a bad rescue group. There seems to be no happy medium.

I ask you all this, decide for yourself, check out the charities you like, are they registered? Can you see that the money is being used to make sure the animals needs are met ? I mean all their needs not just food, water and shelter, animals are not plants! Are they keeping their animals stimulated and happy in their being every day ?

Do they have people working for the shelter that truly care for their animals in their care? Can you see the money is being spent to enrich the animals in their cares lives? And the one that always wins me over, do they have the cutest dog on the planet that you just want to help care for till it finds that elusive forever home ? I know Dogtown does <3

By Tracy McQuarrie

Founder of DogtownSA