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Cant Please Everyone

 


I know the New Year should not be a time for lamentation, but for me, every day (no, every moment), we make a fresh clean start and it is reality that every day, we will encounter problems.

And we attempt, with our best possible efforts, to SOLVE the problem. But some problems just cannot be solved. In such cases, we have to change how we look at the so-called “problem” so that it doesn’t become a problem anymore.

A few days ago, I was communicating with someone who asked for help for some cats in her neighbourhood. I offered our usual without doing much investigation into her financial background, and it was only through more email communication that I realised that she may not be as financially deprived as she had claimed to be.

You’d remember that I’ve had Datins asking for help before and I can’t just assume that Datins are financially well-off. Also, there is also the possibility that if we do not offer our help, the animals would not be helped because some rescuers would only go as far as doing the work ONLY IF someone else pays. By the way, we did not help those two Datins because they could not even send me photos of their cats (so even the first step wasn’t done). And why? Because they did not know how to use the computer despite me asking them to ask for help from their family members. Tak apalah, I hope they finally got their cats spayed.

Back to our issue here about rescuers not doing anything unless somebody pays for them,”That’s not even my cat, why should I pay??” is something I hear from certain rescuers. You could of course, turn around to say, “Madam, it is also not my cat nor is it our donors’ cat…but we are already offering as much help as we can, so, could we please work together here?”

When I started AnimalCare, I was very idealistic. We will help the animals, not the human, I said. “Animals first, humans second” was my motto. Every animal who comes to us (through their human rescuer) will be helped, I said. And that is why, after two-and-a-half years, we have never turned a single case down. I have been idealistic and strangely fortunate for the past two-and-a-half years, but this cannot go on anymore now. The human factor needs to be considered because we are a CHARITY and charity is for the needy and deserving.

But who is needy – the animal or the rescuer?

Well, every animal IS needy and deserving. Unfortunately not every rescuer is needy and deserving. And we have donors to be accountable to, to ensure their support and donations are used for only worthy causes.

Sometimes donors ask:Why are you channeling funds to that rescuer who is financially well-off and can pay by herself?

Because our criteria is to help the animals and not the human. And the human, though financially well-off has refused to pay or do anything unless funds are provided for her, I explain.

That’s actually emotional blackmailing from the rescuer, I know. They know you have a soft spot for the animals, so they capitalise on that.

This is also why we moved from full sponsorship (in our first year) to providing subsidies now – so that rescuers LEARN that doing rescue work includes spending some money on vet’s bills.

We need rules to manage AnimalCare and we cannot please everyone anymore. Without rules, we cannot last much longer, especially with all kinds of people asking for help these days.

All said, AnimalCare was founded on grounds of compassion for both animals and even for their human rescuers. And compassion includes forgiveness.

Recently, I removed a blacklisted rescuer from our blacklist because she needed help badly and this time, she apologised (she had previously given a huge headache to our vet, lied to me and refused to pay for extended boarding). But this time she apologised (for reasons known only to her), so alright, we’ll help her animals again. Actually, her story is an interesting one because even while being blacklisted, she was getting our help through someone else! So you see, we have rules and we implement them, but some people will find all kinds of loopholes to get to us. Talk about the adage “When there’s a will, there’s a way”! Even though I didn’t know this, I’m actually happier with this so that I don’t have to deal with her personally but I get to help her animals. To our other blacklisted rescuers, I tell them to go through someone else (a more responsible person) so that they don’t have to lie to me again, break our rules or give our vets a nightmare. We will still help their animals.

Rescuers with uncouth behaviour is one thing, but what about those who can actually afford to pay by themselves? Is it fair for them to use our funds?

Some people actually feel AnimalCare has been too generous dishing out help to all and sundry. But remember my initial intention was to HELP THE ANIMALS, not the humans. So, I was already prepared for 20% of advantage-takers.

I have also just been told recently that several rescuers who had presented their sob-stories to me were all just taking advantage. Apparently, they can pay on their own. Even one of our vets remarked that we are being taken advantage of. On this note, I’m glad we are now providing a subsidy and no longer sponsoring in full (except for male animals at our panel vet). We will still help, but the rescuers too must pay a bit.

That’s only fair.

Also, our donor community has expanded to included more people and I need to be accountable to them, ie. to ensure their donations are put to good and worthy use. While all street animals are needy and hence, worthy of being help, their rescuers must also be worthy of being helped. “Worthy” here would include being responsible, accountable and deserving of the financial help. “Worthy” also includes being policy-abiding, and not having the attitude of finding loopholes to twist and turn our policies for their own benefit.

So back to my story, I had spent the last few days communicating via email with this new person who claimed that she had no money to spay-neuter her neighbourhood cats. I offered our usual subsidy for her, but she wanted to dictate HER own terms.

Whoa…she is asking us for help on HER terms, not ours?

I find that annoying, to say the least.

She gave a story why she must have her own terms. She even went so far as wanting to apply for our help under another person’s name. That was already bordering on outright dishonesty and I really disliked that.

It’s going to be on our terms, or there will be no help for you, I said. I feel sorry for her animals, but here’s where the human factor comes into play.

So, that’s how I solved the problem – being strict with our polices. With this, the problem is not a problem anymore now…unless, she comes up with something new or finds another loophole in our policies.

This brings to mind another bigtime cat-rescuer whom we had helped with spay-neuter fees at Klinik Kembiri. She asked for help again and I said to get her cats done first and claim with the original receipts from me. She said, “No, YOU give me the money first, then only I’ll get it done and send you the receipt.” And to think for her previous batch, I paid her after she got the cats done, and it took her one year to finally post me the receipts and she even asked me to go get the receipts from her at a train station.

See my point? Some rescuers go so far as to dictate their terms.

Dealing with so many and all kinds, we cannot please everyone. That is why policies and rules are needed. Sometimes it is hard when I have to be strict, but as a friend advised me this morning, as long as your conscience is clear, you’re alright.

This friend has been in the business of helping animals for a long time and he said, if you don’t follow your own rules strictly, you’ll be in trouble. He also said I also have a duty to cultivate more responsible rescuers and not allow them to step all over me. In other words, provide help without pampering them. And if they get difficult and demanding, refuse them the help and let’s see if they would behave after that and be a little more respectful of rules.

He also said that while we want to help as many animals as we can, that human factor has to be considered as well, and because of this, we have to live with the sad reality that we would not be able to help all the animals who come our way. And by doing so, be prepared that there will be people who are unhappy with you and they will waste no time in lambasting you behind your back. That’s what cowards do, anyway – shoot from the back.

Let them.

I’m instantly reminded of the song, Garden Party:

But it’s all right now, I learned my lesson well.
You see, ya can’t please everyone, so ya got to please yourself.

 

Source: http://myanimalcare.org/2012/01/02/cant-please-everyone/


 

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AnimalCare

AnimalCare is a registered society that promotes caregiving to street animals and helps in their neutering and medical needs. AnimalCare has a Medical Fund, Food Fund and Education Fund.

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