When I founded Ruff Patches over 8 years ago, it was important to me to serve the community in a way that wasn't already available. Of course, we would place rescued animals into loving homes. But I wanted to find innovative ways to address the issues that few groups in the area seemed to be doing. We've tried a lot of things over the years, but the core aspect of our most innovative programs was actually quite simple. We listen.
It is important to us that every person that asks us for something, whether to adopt a pet or to give one up, is treated with dignity and respect. We listen first and help second. Why is listening so important? If we don't listen, we can't understand the entire picture and figure out what would get to the heart of the issue. It's also an important sign of respect. If you don't feel heard, you won't be open to suggestions or help. Listening is what connects us to one another. And the most important reason we listen? We care! We are all pet owners too and have all gone through difficult times just as they have.
Most times, once people who are faced with the reality of giving up their pet realize we are on their side and we won't abandon them, together, we can find a solution that keeps the pet in the home. It may mean us visiting their home for a consultation to address behavior issues, providing dog or cat food until they are back on their feet financially or guidance in finding resources to help with spay/neuter or veterinary assistance. If all else fails, we'll even help them find a new home for their pet.
It would be easy to only adopt out adorable pets to new, loving families and ignore the rest of the picture. But we can't do that. There are too many pet owners who adore their pets and want to make it work but feel they are alone and have run out of options. So they are faced with a difficult choice. If we can stop even one pet from entering the shelter, I view that as much of a win as adopting a homeless pet into a new home.
We wouldn't be able to help in all the ways we do without the support of our amazing community of animal lovers. This Thanksgiving, all of us at Ruff Patches want to thank you for being at the heart of that community! Because of you, not only are the animals we've rescued safe but so are countless pets that are curled up with their owners right now all across the Antelope Valley and LA metro area. We can't thank you enough for all you do!
Christina Kilby President
PS - If you haven't heard about our new holiday program designed to spread some extra cheer to those families I mentioned above, check out our Paws to Remember fundraiser!