As a new decade begins, your WHS is busy planning ahead and looking to continue to be an innovative, transparent and results-based charity for the next 10 years (and beyond).
I am of course very biased when it comes to our organization, but I honestly believe we have reached a tipping point in terms of achieving critical goals reducing euthanasia rates, giving each and every animal entering our care a fair chance, advocating on behalf of all animals, and becoming a more humble organization, listening and respecting the ideas and opinions of others. And for 2020, we have an ambitious list of resolutions with the goal of accelerating our impact in the community.
Here is our list. Let us know what you think!
1. Roll out more live-saving initiatives
We piloted a new protocol to treat parvo-positive dogs and we will now make it a permanent program. We are also going to implement an open-selection program which will take pets straight from our Intake department to Adoptions, without stopping in the holding area. This requires coordination from our Clinic, so medical checks can be done upon immediate arrival, and determining space availability in Adoptions, so animals which are in holding areas can get to the adoption floor and not kept waiting because a new arrival took the space.
Our Behaviour department has rolled out a new way to score cat behaviour, which is resulting in better outcomes and less stress. We are also is ramping up classes and the assistance they provide to individuals and families struggling with their pets, so we can avoid preventable surrender situations.
2. Improve our responsiveness over the phone and online
Calling the WHS right now is far from ideal. We have multiple phone numbers, and lots of our supporters and clients are frequently frustrated with how complicated it is to talk to the right person without having to navigate through several options. Our phone system is over 12 years old, and while we always put non-animal related expenditures at the end of our budget list, if people cannot communicate with us animals can be in danger.
Our resolution is to have, by the end of 2020 an actual human being answering all calls and directing them to the right department. Not only that, the individuals answering the phones will follow up with each area to ensure questions are answered in a timely fashion.
3. Help more remote communities in Manitoba
Domestic animals in Manitoba should have the same access to veterinary care and to spay/neuter services regardless of where they are. Unfortunately, this is not the case right now, and the cost of running clinics in remote parts of our Province is very high.
Our resolution is to organize at least 6 clinics in 2020 in partnership with rescues already on the ground, and to seek to expand our services while remaining affordable to these communities.
4. Begin to look into how we can make veterinary care more accessible
The number one reason for people voluntarily surrendering a pet to us is lack of funds to pay for veterinary care. We have a wonderful community of veterinarians in Manitoba, but these professionals cannot work for free, and the equipment cost and staff needed to have a veterinary clinic are high.
We need to find ways to connect veterinarians with pets and bridge the affordability gap. Our resolution is to explore ways in which the WHS may be able to build these connections and ensure more pets get the care they needed without having to be surrendered to us. If you have any thoughts or ideas I will honestly love to hear them.
5. Move from ‘blogging about it’ to facilitating action in animal welfare
It is important to educate the community on a wide range of animal welfare issues: from pet abuse to the horrific issues with confined animal farm operations to the need to treat wildlife with respect and avoid having exotic animals as pets. And while education is key, we have resolved to also actively engage organizations and industry to respectfully ask for change. It is time for the WHS to move from educator to facilitator of animal welfare.
6. Prepare our next set of strategic goals
2020 marks the end of another strategic planning cycle. We need to get a road map ready for the 2020-2023 strategic, big-picture goals we will commit to fulfill. Expect a few surveys from us, and a series of open meetings to listen to your ideas, needs and concerns. Our resolution is simple: to align our goals to the needs of the animal welfare community. We hope to count with your opinions and suggestions.
From the entire WHS team, we wish you a happy, healthy and animal-friendly New Year.