Ignoring Pet Stores Causes Needless Deaths in Shelters!
Those in the rescue world have had less-than-favorable relationships with retail pet stores. Several folks in rescue don’t want to consider their work as a business; however, they in fact ARE in the "business" of saving lives! For many, the thought of forming a beneficial working relationship between pet stores and rescues is far beyond understanding. The occasional adoption fairs or once-a-month visits to mega stores certainly help find homes, but there is so much more that can be accomplished. While bickering, name-calling and protesting continue, our pets are dying by the thousands!
Paula and Lewis Turner, owners of The PetCare Company, approached Martie Petrie and Ken Guild, founders of Ken-Mar Rescue. Together, they focused on working towards a common goal. The opportunity was exciting, and they developed a sound and positive criteria.
For quite some time, the Turners had been working on a blueprint for an "Adoption Headquarters" which could be replicated in many stores besides their own. Within the first month of inception, the goals of both the rescue and store were met. According to Ken-Mar Rescue, the number of orphans placed per week began to exceed the totals previously placed per month. At the store level, customer counts and sales also increased.
Should every pet store be considered for adoptions? Absolutely not. But to disqualify thousands of potential locations because a handful of pet stores made bad business decisions is simply not logical. Supportive and enlightened pet store owners should also do their due diligence in identifying credible rescue groups to partner with. Qualifications are needed for both, which is what the Turners and Ken-Mar Rescue are trying to accomplish.
Benefits To Consider When Supporting A Pet Store
Consistency: If the store is unable to house orphans overnight, try and set up weekly instead of monthly rescue visits. Being able to see dogs every week will give stability to both customers and rescues. Confidence is established when potential families visit the same "group".
Peace of mind: Knowing that both the store and rescue group are highly regarded will enhance adoption opportunities and enlist a comfortable environment for all involved.
Convenience: When families visit the once-a-month mobile adoption, they often feel pressured to make a somewhat immediate choice. And what if the orphan they are deliberating over doesn’t return by their next visit to the store? The duration of pet store hours, in addition to the regularity of scheduled visits, helps prevent a rushed and sometimes detrimental decision made by the potential parent.
Long-term relationships benefit the community: Monthly shot clinics or teeth cleaning services help the store’s current customer base, but regular adoptions at the local pet store secure a deeper connection within the community. Pet related services like veterinarians, trainers, pet sitters, boarding, day cares and dog walkers are more likely to recommend a store that works with rescues. This also creates a potential pool of volunteers to assist with walking, grooming and even poop patrol.
Staff support: Being able to find homes for the “challenged” is much easier when you can draw from concerned store employees. Staffs need to be completely on board with the process, and honestly believe in and understand the fact that they are actually helping to save lives. They are a rescue’s front line for interviewing potential families, and are therefore crucial in weeding out the unqualified. Orphans are not just another product that can be purchased on impulse!
Celebrate and not denigrate: What if animal welfare groups designated as much time celebrating pro-rescue stores as they do degrading and picketing those that aren’t? We need to increase public awareness and acceptance of pet stores being recognized as a viable adoption resource. Isn’t that a cause worth supporting?
Decisions need to be made: The number of pets needlessly killed in our shelters ranges between 4.5 to 5 million every year. That’s 12,338 per day, or almost 10 per minute! To simply ignore pet stores from contributing to the solution is a reprehensible oversight. The time to act is NOW.
You Can Help !
Join Our Coalition Of Concerned Pet Stores and Rescues.