every endeavor that we as humans participate in, needs to be evaluated for success or else how do you find your weaknesses and try to improve?. but how do you measure success in rescue? it is done a thousand different ways by thousands of different types of individuals and groups.
is success measured by how many people have heard of you, how many of those actually respect you, how many animals you save at a time or accumulated over a lifetime? is it by how much money is in the bank or how much you spend in care? is it by how much knowledge we have? how quick are we to send tax receipts or thank you's? is success by actual lives saved or is it by assisting with end of life peaceful and pain free deaths?
is it in the eyes of the animals that we so like to look into? or is it within ourselves to decide, if we are successful or not?
it is a hard call. for me it is hard to use adoptive stats as a way to measure success....only a quarter of our animals each year find a home...about 1/4' will actually die here..and half will remain, living here for whatever time they have left.
i can't use the overall good health of our animals, bright eyes, shiny coats, thundering around in the fields because most of our animals are very sick and old..they don't look or act like they did a decade or two ago.
i can't say our animals are incredibly well trained and perfect little house and community citizens of a human world because we don't train our animals very often...at the end of their lives, they just want to do what ever they can. most of our guys are totally deaf...they can't hear "sit" and "come" and even if they can hear them..sometimes their hips are just too stiff to obey.....and if someone like max thoroughly enjoys tipping over the garbage can to dig around...as a 14 yr old cardiac cripple, it is ok, we don't mind cleaning it up.
i know a whole freaking lot about caring for all kinds of senior and special needs animals...my way.
i don't know so much about caring for them some other person's way. and i don't think i am the end all and be all of caring for old animals either...if someone else has a geriatric in their care...good for them and i am sure they will do a fine job. and if they want some help or suggestions..i am also sure they will ask.
just like i do...i have a whole network of folks that i go to...from vets, to farmers, to folks working in other shelters, to friends whose opinions i value.
if i know how to deal with something because i have done it before, and it is working...i am cool with that. but if i am unsure of what to try..then i simply find someone to ask.
i do things a lot differently now than i did 10 or 15 years ago...and i still do somethings the same (but not as many.)...and i bet i do some things much differently in 5 years...the more i learn and grow.
there are so many things done out in rescue that i do not agree with...and just as many, if not more, that i don't have a clue on...and mostly, i am ok with that.
occasionally i get really upset, like when rescues don't take back their animals, because to me that is a very basic unbreakable rescue law. but mostly, in some little and some big things... it is just another of a thousand ways to climb the rescue mountain. i don't want or expect everyone trudging up the same path as me....i like the peaceful, non competitive kind of variety...me over here...you over there..maybe crossing paths once in awhile but basically just doing our own thing.
so it is hard to measure success in rescue, esp. when there is no one close enough to compare yourself to..in rescue...we are all individuals and mostly unique..the ones who parrot the party line and don't think for themselves, they don't last that long in rescue..it is not a thing that is done very well with a text book in hand.
still once in awhile it would be nice if evaluating this rescue was as easy as writing a few tests and getting a report card with pass or fail....then i would not have to try to figure it out myself.