Editor's note: the following letter from our Chief Executive Officer Robin Robertson Starr accompanied the May edition of our Pet Post Newsletter. You can download a pdf of that newsletter.
Occasionally, someone asks me whether I actually know the individual dogs and cats in the care of the Richmond SPCA. I never mind the question but am always a little surprised by it because it suggests that they may think I have little personal connection with, or awareness of, the individual animals whose lives we save. Nothing could be further from the truth. Not only do I know them but, unquestionably, the best part of my day is when I am in our kennels or our clinic spending time with them. It is those times and experiences that inspire and motivate me to work hard at the rest of the responsibilities that compose my job because I see clearly and personally the wonderful lives we are saving.
While I love getting to know the animals in our care, it goes without saying that I do not know them in as much depth as the wonderful people on our animal care, clinic, training and adoption staffs. They are with our animals all day, every day providing the hands-on loving care that is so essential. They know each and every pet and his or her individual preferences, attributes and quirks. And, they put a high priority on ensuring the comfort of each one.
There are always wonderful signs, both literal and figurative, in our humane center of this individualized care and concern that I wish our generous donors could see because I know how good it would make you feel about the use of your donated dollars. For example, recently there was a little handwritten sign on the cage door of a cat named Helen which said “This is my favorite bed. Please make sure that it always stays with me. Thanks, Helen.” I am betting that Helen did not actually write that sign. Our staff keeps logs in notebooks with copious notes about the behaviors and preferences of each individual pet. It provides crucial information to the next person caring for the pet that Debussy prefers wet food, or Andrea needs someone to sit with her while she eats, or Chauncey snuggles with a favorite toy which needs to stay in his run.
It is clear everywhere you look that our staff members treat the pets in our care with loving individual attention. One of my joys is to see a dog who initially came to us frightened and cowering greet me at his kennel door within a day or two with his tail wagging and clearly feeling totally secure in his surroundings.
We are a temporary home for these precious animals, a nurturing way station for many who have never before experienced such care. Yes, we know them all individually and we love them all individually in just the way that we want them to be loved in their next home, the one where they will be loved for the rest of their lives. It is your vital support that allows the Richmond SPCA to know them, love them, care for them and ensure that we find them permanent homes where that love will continue for the rest of their lives. Please help us as generously as you can.
Robin Robertson Starr is the chief executive officer of the Richmond SPCA. To read her biography or that of our other bloggers, please click here. Before posting a comment, please review our comment guidelines. Please note that our comment policy requires both your first and last name to be used as your screen name.