Influence Positively Questionnaire - Robin A.F. Olson
Grass stains and dogs

Dogs Need Our Minds

Sharon & Cleo on one of their San Francisco hills "Dogs already have our hearts, they need our minds". Mike Arms, president of the Helen Woodward Animal Center said this early in to his keynote address at BlogPaws West

He was speaking about the pet care industry and how the word "love" is overused. He said it is better to care than love animals, because to care is to make a difference. He's right.

Handle with care. Care for elderly. The care of a child. These phrases could all be directly tied to pet health. The words supervision, custody, protection, control, responsibility, guardianship, are associated with "care of a child", but I would argue that they all apply to a dog as well.

For me, being Cleo's guardian is as much about my protecting Cleo, as it is about my large German Shepherd/Husky 85lb dog protecting me.

My English dictionary equates responsibility with care. I believe being a responsible dog owner is honestly caring for – thus loving – your pet.

What stood out about Mike's speech for me, a woman with a predominantly corporate background, is his declaration that applying clear business principles to the pet care industry is a fundamental necessity if we want to see it successful. Good intentions and a big heart cannot keep the doors of non-profits open for very long.

My first job out of college was with a non-profit.  After two years I was told to leave and get "for-profit" job skills if I honestly wanted to contribute something of value beyond cheap labor. My director emphasized that real world business experience and skills were more highly valued than just enthusiasm and the ability to stuff an envelope quickly. A big "aha!" moment for the recent college graduate.

Dogs do need our minds. Contribute your own mad skills in meaningful ways to help animals. You might surprise yourself and the organization you decide to help. Here is a short list of blogs, organizations, Twitter and Facebook pages to inspire you:

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