think it thru…

Posted: February 25, 2010 at 8:46 am

opinions are great…i have so many of my own. and most of the not related to animals are pretty uneducated and off the top of my head…mostly because i really don’t care all that much about non animal/non nursing/non family things.
but there is a recent discussion on the rescue forum about paying foster homes..like all open discussions new paths go off into different directions….now there are discussions on not paying volunteers, but paying directors…paying with government money but not paying with donations..and finally..what caught my interest (again, cuz someone in rescue ALWAYS says this….) not paying staff wages with donations…like paying wages to care for animals in rescue is somehow wrong.

think it thru….
volunteers volunteer their time when they have it and when they have the inclination…most volunteers in animal rescue work their outside paid jobs…monday to friday. volunteers are giving freely, you can’t really hold them accountable for everything needed surrounding running a full rescue…you could try, but good luck cuz they do have lives outside of rescue.

saints went to paid staff when i broke my ankle several years ago. nothing like a broken ankle and a wheelchair to wake you up and make you realize…animals need committed and responsible care 24 hours a day whether you can walk or not. and staff members can be held accountable for the jobs they get paid to do..they are not giving a gift here..they are getting a paycheque. just like i get paid to be a nurse.

and i truly believe that our quality of care has greatly increased since we went to paid staff. the staff are consistent, they know and care about the animals as much as i do because they are caring for them 30 hours a week. they know what has to be done and they know what to do when the unexpected crops up. they can adjust their workload to meets individual animals needs. they are not just responsible for the cleaning…they are responsible for each animal’s entire wellbeing…their health, their meds, their individual personalities and feedings. they are responsible for all of saints when i am not here.

so when something new has to be done because some animal’s care level has changed..they are that animal’s responsible caregiving team and they follow thru and plan how to meet those needs.

so i don’t quite understand why in rescue…”paying staff wages with donations” is considered a bad thing? do donors not want rescued animals to receive the very best and most consistent care especially when there are not enough regular and committed volunteers to care for them 7 days a week?

i am really happy with how things work around here…monday to friday we are covered by our regular caring paid staff and on the weekends the animals are cared for by our amazing volunteers…for us and for the animals it works well.

we have our bumps in the road…we have our challenges to overcome but we also have the best people to do this…paid and unpaid who all work together to ensure that our animals are cared for well.

it is ok NOT to have paid staff in rescue too..if you have great volunteers and a lot less than 130 sick, leaky and old animals all living together in the same place. but i don’t think making blanket statements like “we are 100% volunteer with no paid wages” makes anyone better than someone who does have both volunteers and paid staff.

there is no way saints would be near what it is today if we did not pay wages. our paid staff have allowed us to implement many things into our daily animal care…regular med administration and reviews, 2 or 3x weekly, weekly or biweekly theraputic bath schedules for our skin disease dogs, consistent outside/exercise breaks for all of our dogs, consistent socialization plans of care for our poorly socialized or traumatized, daily familiar assessments on how any particular animal is doing, access to immediate vet care in an emergency and most of all a very consistent routine each day which all of the animals appreciate..they like to know who is coming and what is happening next in their day.

for us it works out more than ok..it works out great. wages are one of the best investments we make in caring for our animals well every day.

9 Comments on "think it thru…"

  • Marisa says

    I totally agree with you, Carol!!! This is one of my big rescue diatribes. Paying people to care for animals is NOT a waste of money. This provides the animals with consistency and top-notch care and the human with a decent wage so they can live their life, take a vacation here and there and tend to their own material needs. The biggest problem I see in animal rescue is burn-out and bad health because rescuers think that the only honourable way to do rescue is take no money, work 24/7 and never, ever take a vacation, see a movie, eat a meal, etc. This is not the way other charities operate. Do the people at UNICEF work for free? Do social workers work for free? Of course not.

    There are places who lose their focus and just end up paying out bloated salaries rather than caring about the animals in their care. This is when staffing/salary issues become concerns for donors. But, for most small rescues I have NO problem with the staff being paid. I WANT these people out there helping animals and not having to work another job at the same time. I WANT this to be their living because it’s a very necessary job. And I also WANT them to be able to take vacations, see their families and take some R&R time for themselves.

    Donors should understand that expecting animal rescuers to work on goodwill alone is just asking for trouble. It’s how we end up with hoarders, with burn-out and with suffering animals.

    Carol, if you ever want to take a paycheque for your work at SAINTS, you have my blessing!!!

  • Carol says

    lol…not likely but then i already have a paying job that i get vacation time et el from!

  • Marisa says

    BTW, just a teeny tiny wee thing that I hope you won’t mind me mentioning but which always niggles at me. At the very top of the right hand column on the blog page, there is the word “calender”. It’s actually spelled “calendar”. I’m sorry!! I know…it’s horribly OCD of me. Sigh…I need help. πŸ™‚

  • Linda says

    I do agree with you having paid staff. It’s just a necessity of your rescue operation. I also sympathize with the old broken ankle you had. I’ve been there and only had my 2 dogs to look after. After that I’ve never taken making a cup of tea, forgranted. It’s next to impossible on crutches (or wheelchair) when you live alone.

  • nicole says

    too funny marisa, i will see if i can change it. it’s part of a template i used for the blog so i may not be able to but i look.

    ok, i just found it and changed it. good eye.

  • Charlotte says

    Wow – it never occurred to me that donations *didn’t* help pay for staff. Isn’t that all a part of the rescue operation? I’ve always felt that I can either donate my time, or donate my money for someone else’s time, to do the things I feel are important. I can’t imagine anyone would begrudge paying people to do something so valuable. (…and the calender thing got me too – i thought maybe it was the ‘canadian’ spelling or something!)

  • Marisa says

    Yay!!! Sweet “calendar”, how I’ve missed seeing your pretty second ‘a’. Thanks Nicole!!! πŸ™‚

  • laura says

    I’m all for the paid staff. As a volunteer and someone who loves the Saints deeply I know first hand the ton of work involed in their quality daily care…. I know we need paid staff! We are very fortunate to have an awesome staff of 4 dedicated ladies who love and care for our crippled crew.

  • Helga says

    Right on, Laura! Its great to know that our guys have that sort of care.

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