How do you quantify love? How do you measure joy? How do you place a value on companionship?
Simply stated, at HAWS we are changing the lives of animals. In addition, by embracing people and having them assist where ever they can, however they can, we will change the lives of animals throughout our entire community. Not only are those animals in residence at HAWS transformed, but all animals that our network can touch, now and in the future, reap the benefits of humane attitudes and values. These attitudes and values, when shared, have a cascading effect on our world. Kindness, compassion and empathy flow throughout the community because children learn to care, they learn to nurture and like-minded people unify to create a better society for animals and people, too.
The strength of our organization is difficult to measure. In the world of evaluations, there are “Outcomes” and “Indicators” and “Matrices” and oh-so-many catch phrases that almost require having a degree in statistics! Reducing all things to numbers and percentages seems a bit of a contrast to the warm and fuzzy aspects of our job.
HAWS’ staff has some key markers that we compare year after year – all leading to saving more animals, giving animals a better quality of life, increasing public awareness, furthering education and engaging more youth in humane activities. Resources are targeted to programs and activities to make a larger impact. Public and youth education helps those that will not be within our direct care. These numbers help us to stay on track and to notice trends that are good, and react to trends that point to potential problems. We share many of these markers in our print newsletter, the Tattle Tails, and on social media, along with the stories from our adopters about their HAWS’ alumni. I can’t show you the tears of joy from an owner when their pet is picked up after a safe keep; or the sense of relief from a person reunited with their stray, or the excitement of a family who takes home their new pet. Nor can I show you the sigh of relief from a cold, wet stray dog; the disbelief in the eyes of an animal who finds a bed for the first time; the feeling of having a kitten fall asleep in your arms after being bottle-fed, totally content.
There is no number for true humane work. But the animals and their responses to us demonstrate every day that we are most certainly reaching our goals.