You Can Do It! by Claudine Vass

Two years following its inception, Fort Bend Pets Alive! has received an invitation to be a guest on a radio show for the first time. Considering the increased attention from our community, public officials, and media friends in the recent months, I, Claudine, was nicely surprised to have the opportunity to speak about our cause and about the change we are inspiring in Fort Bend County.

I would like to talk about the new experience I gained and how it has energized me to be even more ready to help our shelter pets.

As the show began, the gracious host of the show “Your Pet’s Health” Dr. Brian Beale, a board certified surgeon with Gulf Coast Veterinary Specialists (GCVS) in Houston and faculty member of the University of Florida’s College of Veterinary Medicine, asked me a very simple question.

What is Fort Bend Pets Alive! ?
Fort Bend Pets Alive! is an 501(c)3 non-profit advocacy organization that was formed in October of 2014. Its mission is to help make Fort Bend County a no kill community. We are the only group in the area that can provide solutions to fix the root cause of the problem of unnecessary euthanasia of our companion animals in local shelters. Why I firmly believe these common sense solutions can work successfully in our community is that I measure the estimated intake number of animals in terms of the size of total population in our area. A simple calculation will tell you with close to 800,000 residents and only 10,000 intake of dogs and cats estimated in all municipal shelters in our county, it would take a little over 1 percent of the population to convince to adopt to stop the killing.

Why is 90% save rate not achieved in Fort Bend County?
It is as simple as this: Stakeholders are not familiar with collecting data and making assessments based on the analysis of that data. Therefore, they are not informed about the possible resources available in the community, and further, they do not believe in them. Once the data is presented to the public, the mindset starts changing. And that is the main reason why raising awareness communally and politically will help animals that are sitting in shelters, possibly facing imminent danger, to come out alive.
It was a joy to see how Dr. Beale reacted to this piece of powerful data that guarantees to change the oversimplified pet overpopulation problem idea endorsed by most people.

How does Fort Bend Pets Alive! assure the adopted animals are going into good homes?
Following up with the shelter staff and volunteers of the shelters is a good way to obtain information. Another key to success is having consistent post-adoption customer service to support new and potentially inexperienced adopters. Fort Bend Pets Alive! sees it as its responsibility to promote consistency and to  help implement such innovative methods in shelters. In essence, a return rate of less than 10% after an adoption event is acceptable. (End of interview.)

After doing two segments of a radio show, I must say I am getting more accustomed to the process of dissemination and having to speak “on the spot.” My biggest gain from this new experience was the confidence I commanded to speak passionately about animal advocacy despite my fear of a language barrier. A wise man once pushed me to do this, and I am practicing that courage!

The biggest hurdle faced by us all is the fear and excuses we create for ourselves not to step up. It is time to think out of the box. Our mission will surely fail if we do not start–or if we stop prematurely.

Everyone can deliver a simple message and tell the story for our voiceless shelter pets.
They all want to live. They need our dedication to win this battle, because we are their voice.

Don’t wait any longer. Join the no kill movement today!

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