As an animal welfare organization, we often get push-back for sharing too much sad news. I've even had clients tell me, "I could never do your job." But, I think that's a little unfair. Yes, the stories are sad, but you and I have the power to make the endings happy. You have the power to turn the story from a sad one to an uplifting one, just by supporting a cat or dog and their family.
A favorite quote of mine is from the author and artist, Adam J. Kurtz:
It's not all sunshine and rainbows, but a good amount of it actually is.
You, the amazing people who donate and care for these animals, are the sunshine. The positive outcomes for so many animals are the rainbows. We do not want to bring anyone down. That is not our goal. Our goal is to connect people who care (like you) with people and pets who need help. It's an opportunity to be a hero.
Most of the animals you meet through FTLOA go on to live happy and healthy lives. Even cases like Miracle the cat, where it seemed like he was on death's door, get a new life thanks to your donations. It fills my heart with sunshine to think about that!
Even asking for positive thoughts and prayers means a lot to the families. For their own privacy, we don't post the full names of pet owners, but they see all of your comments. It means the world to them to feel supported and loved at a difficult time.
As for being accused of spreading bad news, we also have social media algorithms to thank for that. It's a fact that the posts we make with bad news always travel farther than the posts with good news. We post updates and progress reports that are seen by hundreds or thousands fewer people than the original emergency post. Sometimes people message us for updates about a specific animal after we have already posted a few good reports. But, they never saw the good news.
So, we started the hashtag #GoodNewsAlex . Search this hashtag whenever you feel overwhelmed by sad stories, and you will be quickly reminded why you started supporting FTLOA in the first place.
Something we struggle with as an organization is sharing the worst of news. Sometimes, no matter how hard we try, a pet doesn't make it. Even typing that sentence takes the breath out of me. But, it is a reality, and hiding that news would be a disservice to the pet owners. If we are working with a pet who doesn't make it, they get two things they wouldn't have without your support. One is that donations cover the cost of final expenses and having their pet's ashes returned. We feel this is an important part of the grieving process. The second thing they get is extra love and support. Some of my most rewarding work days are the ones that are the hardest on a grieving family. Because they have someone to talk to and your supportive comments to read, it helps them feel loved at an incredibly difficult time. That is so important. You are so important.
So, my hope for you is that you don't dwell on sadness. Another favorite quote of mine that I just learned is originally from Lily Tomlin is:
I always wondered why somebody doesn't do something about that. Then I realized I was somebody.
We could be sad about these sick animals and their heartbroken families, or we could do something about it. Thank you for caring enough to do something about it.
BE THE SUNSHINE:
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For The Love of Alex Inc is a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization that provides emergency funding for urgent and lifesaving care of pets of low-income families.