Updated thoughts as of April 2013:
I wanted to do an update for the website as we are nearing our two year anniversary. Like most things in my life, when I look back a couple of years I realize how much more I thought I knew two years ago than I actually did. With respect to dog rescue, boy was I naive on the challenges involved and the learning I had ahead of me.
The good news is that I generally move very slowly and like to try things out and test before I formulate ideas. In this case, my goals behind Mav’s Rescue Friends have changed significantly. I originally envisioned creating a foundation based upon helping families who had injured pets and were unable to afford their treatment. I found quickly that I would be unable to do this at scale for a variety of reasons including figuring out which cases to help with and what criteria to use in my evaluation. I could not imagine scaling up over time and having to choose some families and turn others down.
En route to figuring this out, I noticed something I found particularly interesting about dog rescue: the very large number of passionate animal lovers who started small rescues around the country with very limited funding. I have continued to marvel over the past couple of years at how many people are helping save animals. There is more effort and love than there is money in small towns to help animals. I thought it would be great to create a fund of funds so to speak for smaller rescues. In other words, creating an organization that would specialize in fundraising for all the local rescues who are doing the heavy lifting with their time and effort. This would serve to both help local rescues raise funds directly as well as to provide as a verification resource for the way the charities/rescues operate and use funds. That way, over time, people could donate directly to the local rescues on their own as well. I still very much like this idea and hope one day to push forward with it.
The one other idea I have been toying around with is the creation of a large shelter in the outskirts of New York City. I have read a great deal about the techniques different no-kill shelters are using and have some opinions about innovations that are working and I think having a shelter that would serve as a testing ground for animal advocates around the country and their ideas outside of Manhattan would be great exposure for animal rescue as well as perhaps a magnet for donations. There are tons of animal lovers in this area and if there were a large shelter that brought exposure to the animal rescue cause, perhaps it could serve a dual purpose of rescue shelter and fund of funds. I think a shelter that was privately funded, had a store, had great hours and customer service, offered shuttles to Manhattan, used storefronts in the city and suburbs, offered training and other services to help generate revenues, put videos and lots of pics of the pets, had long stories about the pets and their behaviors, and just generally implemented good ideas that rescue groups are trying everywhere it might be able to save a lot of lives and help raise a lot of money from donors.
Companies use flagship stores in Manhattan to attract people so why not the same for a shelter? I can dream. I would love to be in the position some day to do this on my own, but I hope someone does it before I do. This website has been therapeutic for me in that it helps me think and write down ideas, and by making myself post every so often it makes me focus. I am writing a great deal more than I am having a positive impact at this point, but I sincerely hope this will not always be the case.
As always, if you are one of my one or two readers and you have any thoughts or ideas please send them along to me. If anything on this website is helpful to anyone, I will consider this to have been a positive effort. If not, for now it will continue to be a learning process for me. Thanks for reading.