The other day I was reminded that not only do we not know the stories of the animals that come through the shelter; we don’t know the story that brought that family to the point of bringing their pet to surrender to the shelter.
Too many times those of us who work and volunteer at the shelter can be jaded by all the “lame” reasons we hear about – and we get jaded the lack of information left about a surrendered pet.
How do you tell someone about the whole life and personality of a dog on one 8 ½” x 11”sheet with a bunch of generic check boxes? You can’t. But, at the same time I can say that every volunteer lives to see that piece of colored paper behind the kennel card ‘cause you know you will get a better insight into this pet that is trying to come to terms with this chaotic situation and isn’t currently showing that shining personality.
For those that care deeply but have no other alternative, how do we make this surrender process more conducive for more information to be left about their pet? We probably need to take a look at the form and make sure it is easy to understand and fill out. Can we offer somewhere for the owner to sit down (if they have the strength) and spend some time filling it out? Do we offer them a business card encouraging them to email stories and the like?
What do other shelters do? What do you think we can do?