Many people say they don’t go to animal shelters because the experience causes them grief and sadness. This is normal and understandable. Also understandable is the frustration and pain felt by rescue organizations and the people that work within them experiencing the suffering of other animals on a daily basis.
These negative feelings have fueled the promotion of commercials and ads that have often led to “guilt-tripping” people into donating or finally going to shelters and adopting. Though this method can move some to take action, for the most part, people want to avoid negative imagery and messaging that makes them feel bad. Campaigns that evoke feelings of depression or sadness are much less likely to gain traction on social media, the place where ideas spread. According to the Harvard Business review, “Negative emotions were less commonly found in highly viral content than positive emotions” (HBR, 2013). This lack of response from the public leads to greater frustration felt by rescuers, leading to more gut wrenching photos further alienating the very people who the rescue organizations need. Though well-intentioned, this marketing method has quickly become a race to the bottom.
While it is important to provide an accurate portrayal of the realities of animal rescue, we believe that the an accompanying uplifting and positive message of hope can combine to create an even stronger motivator.
We know that all humans are capable of empathy and that every human wants to do what they believe is right and good. Following this notion, we also understand the limiting effects of empathy and how when bombarded with sad and disturbing images of animal abuse, we feel a very real and visceral response, we want to look away.
However, this same feeling of empathy that causes us to close our eyes, that prevents someone from going to the shelter, is the same feeling that once in front of injustice, causes us to take action. This is where there is hope.
Bring awareness to the truth, promote empathy and give hope through pragmatic efforts.
The truth is that there are still millions of animals being euthanized and abused every year.
Here are some statistics from the Humane Society.
- 6-8 million dogs and cats entering shelters each year (down from 13 million in 1973)
- Of the 3 million cats and dogs euthanized in shelters each year, about 2.4 million (80%) are healthy and treatable and could have been adopted into new homes
- Percentage of purebred dogs in shelters: 25%
- Percentage of cats euthanized in shelters: 70%
However, there is also another truth.
- Number cats and dogs adopted from shelters each year: 4 million. That’s half.
While the first numbers are upsetting, it’s incredible to know that efforts have practically cut the amount of shelter animals in half and that of those, half are being adopted. With that, we still have much to do.
Humans are moral agents. Not only do we have the capacity to recognize suffering in another, but we have a moral obligation stop it from happening. These “rescue animals” are sentient beings that share similar interests with humans and so are deserving of similar treatment. Neither want to experience pain and suffering and so neither should be subject such treatment.
We want to propose a different method for achieving the same goal of increasing adoption rates and ending animal abuse.
First, we want to bring awareness to these staggering numbers with large, sensational events in order to reach as many people as possible. Next, we want to offer a welcoming and positive atmosphere that will appeal to more animals lovers. Finally, we want to provide an effective platform from which to carry out these goals.
Introducing Pure Paws Angels and Groom Wars.
Pure Paws Angels is a rescue organization whose primary aim is to increase adoption rates by providing necessary resources and by increasing the visibility of our rescuers or as we call them, Angels.
The Angels “Before and After” awards on our Facebook page
Pure Paws Angels Logo
One platform that we use to increase visibility and to give resources where they are needed most is by monthly awarding “before and after” rescue stories shared on the Pure Paws Angels Facebook page. www.facebook.com/purepawsangels.
Here, Angels share before and after photos and write a short story of either the animals they have rescued themselves or shelter animals they have groomed free of charge. This can be done by both individuals and organizations. The awards include $100 worth of the Pure Paws products of their choice, a $50.00 check for no-kill 501 C’s., a Groom Wars Competitors’ Necklace and a Pure Paws Angels Pin from The Animal Rescue Site where free daily “clicks” on their website help to generate funds to provide food to animal shelters. Pure Paws, in partnership with this organization has already helped to supply 650 bowls of dog food! Support them, give them a “click”, it’s totally free!
We are always looking for partners who also wish to help us in giving to these wonderful volunteers. If you would like to help please email us at email@example.com.
Or you can contact the lovely Angel that helps to run our Angels Facebook page, Valerie Poly. 🙂
Angel, Valerie Poly
Showcasing the positive work Angels do, provides hope that things will get better. We want to show that these animals can improve physically, emotionally and mentally with the right love, care and attention.
Pure Paws Angels
Here’s what one of our our Angel’s has said about the rescue process…
Angel, Robyn Slusky and Deuce
“We all have to keep in mind that kennel behavior doesn’t predict behavior outside of that environment. It’s so stressful there that even the most gentle, and docile dog, can appear “aggressive” in the kennel because of the built up stress. I know all of mine would. But outside of that environment, they are totally different dogs and I wish more people could have the opportunity to see that. Rescue is my life passion, it’s what got me into dog training in the first place.” – Robyn Slusky
We love you Robyn. <3
The Angels Facebook group also serves as a great network for local rescue organizations.
- Reach out to group members if in need of volunteers
- Request that an Angel show up at an event
- Work with Angels to create a rescue event
Speaking of events…
Groom Wars – Changing the adoption “game” with positivity and hope
Welcome to Groom Wars, a grooming competition in which groomers can showcase their talents to bring professionalism and pride to the grooming industry while helping to increase animal adoption rates by altering the adoption environment to become more positive, hopeful and fun.
Gamification is increasingly being used in education and the workplace in order to make learning and productivity more effective and rewarding. Through games we compete but we also work together in greater numbers to accomplish great things. Previously isolated and individual tasks and missions are now shared by teams and a community rivaling in good nature.
By combining the tenants of gamification with a positive environment and a shared goal, we believe that we can help to bring greater awareness to rescue efforts and ultimately increase adoption rates.
Here’s a quick cheat sheet of how Groom Wars works
During a Groom Wars event, groomers will compete in the following categories
- Breed Standard
Round 1 – Marvelous Makeovers – rescue grooming
During round one, the Rescue round, 10 groomers will groom 10 healthy animals from the participating rescue organization. After all the dogs have been professionally groomed, they will be judged for various qualifiers like quality, creativity, overall beauty and crowd favorite. From this first round, three groomers will be eliminated. Regardless of who is eliminated from this round, all 10 participating rescue animals will be up for adoption and donations made to their associated rescue organization. 🙂
Round 2 – Breed Perfect – breed standard
For round two, the 7 groomers that moved on from round one, will compete for the Breed Standard groom. Here groomers showcase their talents in grooming to the AKC (American Kennel Club) breed standard. Pure Paws got its start in the show industry and has learned so much over the years from the compassionate and talented handlers and ethical breeders.
Breed standards have helped breeders to aim towards a healthier breeding programs especially when working with regulatory organizations like CHIC (Canine Health Information Center), where “breeders can analyze the pedigrees of a proposed breeding for health strengths and weaknesses as well the traditional analysis of conformation, type, and performance strengths and weaknesses.” (CHIC)
Breed Standard Scottish Terrier from Anne Juliette
Round 3 – En Vogue – creative grooming designs
Finally, for the last round, the final 4 advancing groomers will compete in the Creative Grooming section with one groomer as the victor. Creative grooming is an artistically expressive method that many groomers are beginning to employ in their work. With this style, groomers perform above and beyond a simple shampoo and dry, and transform their dogs and cats into works of art. Competitors in Groom wars can use advanced scissoring techniques like sculpting, carving, and other forms of creative clipping, such as vintage poodle patterns and asian inspired trims, safe and cute accessories like feathers and crystalsThis helps to transforms animal grooming into a high-end salon experience and brings high fashion to the animal grooming industry.
Adding Creative Grooming to a groomer’s repertoire helps to bring artistry into the grooming space, increasing the pride, dignity and prestige of the profession. For the animals involved, they receive extra care and attention from the groomer and inevitably from their Pet Parents. It’s not out of the norm to see pet parents squeal with excitement, laugh and hug their beloved companions as if they are falling in love all over again.
Creative Groom by Groom Wars Judge, Justine Cosley
PetTalk Airbrush Poodle by Pure Paws Educator, Rebekah Sparks
To take part in Groom Wars either as a groomer, sponsor, vendor, or to simply come and enjoy the event, you can buy tickets at the store below! 🙂
Follow the link!
There are millions of rescue animals that need us to take action. A simple way to start is by engaging with the rescue community in any way you can. Maybe you’re not in a place to adopt but there is always a way to help. Take a look at your profession or passions. Can you take a few hours out of your week to help raise awareness?
We are looking for volunteers who would like to give some of their time to help with awareness raising on social media.
Volunteers we are looking for
- Film maker
- News Anchor
- Events Coordinator
If you want to get involved with Pure Paws Angels or Groom Wars, you can chat with the community on our Facebook pages or reach out to us directly via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In our efforts to make change we need both motivation and an actionable method. We can start change in the world and in ourselves by raising our level of conscientiousness and awareness over the issues we are facing. We can persevere by practicing and internalizing feelings of connectedness and empathy. This is at the core of the “why we do what we do.” Finally, we can truly make a difference by approaching problem solving with pragmatism, transparency and bravery.
Thank you to all of those who have helped us with our journey so far and to all of those who support making the our industry a more ethical one.
Author, Jordan Muzquiz