Tip: Say goodbye to your shelter’s surrender desk

June 1, 2017

Shakespeare said that changing what you call something doesn’t change what it is. (Of course, he said it much more poetically than that.) As much as we hate to disagree with the Bard, we think he was wrong, at least when it comes to animal shelters.

What kind of message do pet owners get when they come into your shelter and see the “Surrender Desk” or “Intake Desk”? That leaving their pet at the shelter is the only option when they’re having a problem.

But what if it was called the “Pet Resource Desk” instead?

What if just changing what you called it subtly changed not only their expectations, but those of your staff and volunteers? What if is gave us the idea that providing support and resources to help keep pets in their homes is more consistent with our mission than automatically taking the pet? Or inspired us to find a way for that Good Samaritan to foster that litter of kittens until they’re old enough to be adopted? Or hang onto their cat for a few weeks while the shelter opens up space in a foster home?

Of course there’s more to these changes than just a name tweak. But it’s a start!

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  1. Love it, so simple an so easy. I think we will call ours the “Help Desk” As always THANK YOU!!

    Comment by Brenda Mitchell — June 6, 2017 @ 1:09 pm

  2. I really like this idea. Something else that we’re doing that goes along with this: we’re getting a website redesign that will be launching soon. At the top, instead of a tab called Surrenders or Intakes, it says, “Get Help.” There will be lots of resources there, and even though we will have a surrender page, the top portion of it will be “Are You Sure?” with resources and links to help people keep their pets.

    Comment by Amanda Coburn — June 7, 2017 @ 5:02 pm

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