“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” (Matt. 7:12)
What ever happened to the golden rule – how did it get to be so contentious in rescue? Ever since I was a kid, I remember being reminded of the golden rule whenever my mother caught me doing something to someone else that wasn’t nice. It has roots in both Christianity and Judaism and I’m sure many other religions as well.
Such a simple statement about treating others the way you want to be treated, and one that I’m sure almost everyone in rescue has heard of, yet its meaning has gotten lost in the world of animal rescue these days with all of the drama, fighting and bad mouthing that seems to take place.
When did animal rescue become such a contentious, competitive and dramatic industry? When did we become so focused on helping and saving animals that we act to the detriment of helping others out and working together towards a common goal of caring for animals? Why is the competition and drive to be better than the other shelters, rescues, or transporters so ingrained in this charitable focused industry?
One of the principles that I founded Doobert on was that I was not intending to build an exclusive database or software in order to compete with the other transport groups, rescue groups and shelters out there. I have seen other groups that hold their list of volunteer names and contact information as though they were confidential secrets, refusing to share with other groups for fear that their volunteers would no longer be available. I chose to take a different approach with the building of Doobert. Many of you may have heard me say before that I do not consider the Doobert volunteers to be “MY” volunteers. Rather, the volunteers that sign-up in the Doobert system are animal rescue volunteers that want to help other organizations and ultimately the animals. Stated another way, these are not “MY” volunteers, they are “YOUR” volunteers. They are the volunteers of the animal rescue community and it is up to them to choose who to volunteer for.
While I may not always have it in the forefront of my mind when I am working with volunteers and organizations in animal rescue, the golden rule is definitely something I would say defines my approach towards my interactions. I treat others like I would want to be treated and I personally respond to every email and support ticket even if it’s the 50th one of the day with the same level of compassion, understanding and empathy as I did the first. Usually when people email me they are frustrated because the software is confusing, or they run into a technical error that prevents them from doing what they need to do. Having dealt with this level of frustration myself, I try and empathize and approach responding to their inquiry with the respect, patience and kindness that I would like someone to respond to me with.
Ask yourself, am I treating my fellow animal rescue volunteers, organizations, rescues, shelters, adopters and donors the way that I would like to be treated? It is never too late to make a conscious choice to adjust your approach to meet them with love and compassion. They will thank you for it.