I HAVE LOVED ANIMALS FOR AS LONG AS I CAN REMEMBER
MY MOM would be more than happy to show you endless childhood drawings of cats and dogs. Even photos of my own “No Hunting” signs, which I diligently hung on trees around our property.
WHAT I DIDN’T KNOW as a young girl was that I could have the opportunity to work with animals in a way that was meaningful. And I wouldn’t have to take on the grueling obstacle course of studying to become a veterinarian. The day I passed my driver’s license test, I drove myself to the local veterinary office and applied for a job. I was hired and I enjoyed learning about veterinary medicine and seeing pets restored to health. Yet, I quickly realized that my true passion for helping animals centered on making sure each one had a home where they were loved and cherished.
MAKING A DIFFERENCE AT THE PSPCA
FAST FORWARD A FEW YEARS and I found myself working at one of Pennsylvania’s largest shelters, the Pennsylvania SPCA. I dove in head first and rapidly ascended to the position of Operations Director. I was proud of my achievements as I felt and knew I was making a difference. But there was still something missing.
WE WERE HELPING ANIMALS, yes, but there were other challenges I wasn’t expecting. Challenges I had not anticipated facing when working in a shelter.
SEEING DEVASTATED OWNERS surrendering their pets at the front door but never knowing what would really happen to the pet they had cared for, broke my heart. On some days, witnessing the very real fear, stress and subsequent illnesses that animals experience in the shelter was simply overwhelming. Then the frustration I experienced seeing adopters rejected when they came looking for their new best friend and family member. Why? Because they didn’t fit some pet adoption criteria that we had deemed necessary for the animal in question. All the while, knowing that if only the pet could speak, I imagined it would be saying:
“Give me a shot! Just get me out of this cage!”
AND THAT’S WHAT GET YOUR PET IS REALLY ALL ABOUT
ENABLING AND EMPOWERING PEOPLE to connect directly with each other and to speak on behalf of their animals. We hear it so often: “Be their voice,” or, such and such animal organization is “a voice for the voiceless.” I applaud the efforts of each and every animal welfare organization out there pursuing this noble mission.
MY GOAL IS TO TAKE IT A STEP FURTHER. I want to facilitate a situation in which the pet owner, or guardian, as we consider them, and the pet adopter can come together and have a conversation that is personal and specific to this dog or that cat. Where the guardian has an alternative to the shelter and can be their pet’s advocate. Where an adopter has the opportunity to get firsthand information from the pet’s owner. But where the adopter doesn’t have to fit a lifestyle mold that may be desirable in general, but unnecessary for this specific pet. And of course, where the pet never has to endure the terror of living in a shelter needlessly.
TAKING THAT STEP
GET YOUR PET represents that “step further” in pet adoption. And I’m certain that little girl hanging signs on trees would agree.