A few weeks ago, I was speaking at the Michigan Partnership for Animal Welfare conference in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan, and had the chance to meet Debby MacDonald from the Michigan Humane Society.
If you’re a fan of Animal Planet, you might recognize her as one of the animal cruelty investigators from the TV show “Animal Cops.” My daughters grew up on that show, and it was a delight to be able to sit and have dinner and drinks with Debby.
There was one burning question on my mind, so I asked it.
“How do you keep your cool when you’re dealing with people who are clearly abusing or neglecting their pets, and they don’t think they’re doing anything wrong?”
Debby said that lots of times she sees things that make her angry, but it doesn’t do any good to get mad at the people. It doesn’t help the animals.
Instead, she tries, in her gentle but firm way, to educate people and help them understand. If that doesn’t work, then they follow protocol to get the animal the help it needs.
In other words, she focuses on the outcome she wants, which is to help the animal.
“It doesn’t help the animal if I lose my temper with the person,” she told me.
Makes good sense to me. And, I know she has a lot more patience in that situation than I would!
I think this is a good example of how we are each cut out for something specific, and something we’re good at.
Investigating animal cruelty would not be my thing. But advocating for animals is something I can do. Teaching people how to raise money for animal causes is something I definitely can do!
So, what are the lessons for you from this story? I think there are a few.
What are your biggest takeaways from Debby? Post your thoughts in the comments below.
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