“Sometimes you can’t see yourself clearly until you see yourself through the eyes of others.” — Ellen DeGeneres
Throughout my life, I have been inspired by many people. Some in small ways, others in more impactful ways. From friends to teachers, to people I have never met, the impact they have had on who I am as a person is something I will be forever grateful for.
One of the most difficult aspects of animal rescue is to stay motivated throughout the difficult times. It is often hard to keep your positive focus and attention when everything seems bleak, when all of the options seem to be closing, and when you do not think that you can summon the courage to continue forward. We have all had those days when you just want to throw in the towel and find something easier. But during this most darkest hour, this is when our inspirations shine the brightest.
It’s hard to imagine but in May of this year, Doobert will be five years old. Five years ago we had zero volunteers and zero animal rescue organizations that we supported. Now I am humbled by the 18,000+ volunteers and 700+ organizations that use the Doobert platform to help save time and ultimately save more animals. However, I want to focus on one of my inspirations and someone that continues even today to have an influence on what I do with Doobert. Her name is Peg H. or “Mama Peg” as she is known.
Mama Peg was one of the early adopters of Doobert having signed up more than 4 years ago. It’s difficult for me to reflect back 4 years on how immature the Doobert software was and how terrible the user interface was but I know how far we have come. We have come a long way over the years with tremendous help from many people that have provided their experience and expertise to improve every aspect of Doobert. But despite the fact that Doobert did not have the design elegance of Snapchat or the capabilities of Facebook when we launched, Mama Peg was undeterred in giving it a shot to support her passion for animals. Now, I should mention that Mama Peg still uses a flip phone to this day, and that she considers herself less than “tech savvy” so signing up with a new website that was less than user friendly was no small feat. But sign-up she did and she continues to use Doobert to this day to notify her of opportunities to help those without a voice.
Over the years I have continued to build out the Doobert platform and every time I come up with a zany idea for a new feature, I glance at Mama Peg’s picture and reflect on what she might say to me. Mama Peg sent me her picture at some point and I am including it in this blog with her permission so that you can be inspired by her bright smile, and calming wisdom like I have been. I have never met Mama Peg in person, but I hope to someday so that I can thank her in person for the help she has given me. When I get all excited about some new automation or new fandangled gizmo that will revolutionize animal rescue, I pause and consider whether Mama Peg would use this, and what she might say to me. I consider that her flip phone, even today, is not capable of installing the Doobert mobile app, and that texting on it is an exercise in futility. I contemplate whether my idea will serve to enable or frustrate the volunteers that I seek to serve and whether it will ultimately help save animals. I think about how Mama Peg is in this for the animals, and I consider how I can help her and whether what I am working on will meet the goal of making her activities easier.
Mama Peg continues to serve as an inspiration to me even today, four years after she signed up. She has provided me with valuable feedback and encouragement along the way, and her smiling face adorns my desk along with the photos of animals I have rescued myself over the years. I know that the Doobert system is better, simpler, and more helpful because of her, and for that I thank her from the bottom of my heart. Never asking for recognition or appreciation, always being willing to share her experiences and lessons, and remaining steadfast in her passion for animals, Mama Peg continues to inspire me to build Doobert out further with the right features and capabilities to help the volunteers and professionals save animals. She has helped me to stay focused on the task, the cause and the purpose for Doobert’s existence.