March 3, 2016

What a Difference a Thousand Makes

With less animals coming in to the shelter, pets like Chili can
find homes faster.

Malcolm Gladwell is an amazing writer. If you haven’t read him, you should check out his work. In his book, The Tipping Point, he describes, “… that magic moment when an idea, trend, or social behavior crosses a threshold, tips, and spreads like wildfire. Just as a single sick person can start an epidemic of the flu, so too can a small but precisely targeted push cause a fashion trend, the popularity of a new product, or a drop in the crime rate.” 

In the past year or so, we seemed to have reached a tipping point that Gladwell described. We have seen a relatively small dip in our numbers: about a thousand fewer animals are in need of our care in a year. This represents a less than 10 per cent drop, but the impact has been much greater. If you visit our Adoption Centre, it looks empty. Well, empty-ish. But here is the thing: we are adopting more animals than when the Adoption Centre and our holding area was jam-packed.  

The relatively small dip in intake has had a remarkable knock-on effect. Combined with other efforts to enhance our processes, the reduction in numbers has allowed animals to become ready for adoption much more quickly and steadily. Fewer animals stuck waiting for medical assessment, for surgeries, or for fostering means all the animals can be adopted more quickly.  

The result is less animal stress from a full shelter, and animals becoming available at a more constant rate, and therefore being adopted very quickly once available — and so the appearance of an empty Adoption Centre when in fact more animals than ever are finding forever homes. It is remarkable.
Of course, there are still close to 10,000 animals that need and will need our care — and need you — every year, but what an amazing result for those that do. 

Bruce Roney
Executive Director