Do you know the starfish story?
I was reminded of the story while getting ready for our most recent group run. It was the usual routine of getting coolers filled with water, making sure leashes and collars are ready and throwing everything into the van. It also includes the last minute checks of the phone, Facebook and Twitter to make sure our final count of dogs to pick up is valid.
Scrolling through my Twitter feed, I found another group prepping for their very first run, the same Sunday morning, taking dogs out from a rescue in Florida. Led by one person, just like me, who had the idea and wanted to make it happen. Over the past year, we’ve exchanged a few messages back and forth as she was preparing her program.
Seeing this new group came just a couple of weeks after another program was started by two animal lovers in Arizona, Ruff Ruff Rescue Runners. I even had to contact them back to ask how they were getting so many organizations on board after they contacted me a few weeks ago to ask some general questions about getting started. We can all learn from each other.
In the past year, I’ve been contacted by individuals or organizations in Nebraska, Arizona and Florida about starting similar shelter dog running programs. These contacts were all serious about their mission. You could tell from every tweet, e-mail or phone call with them that they were going to make it happen, just like all the other programs that started before or after Miles and Mutts compiled in the shelter dog running guide.
There are days when I struggle with not doing enough. I want to do more to help the animals, I want to expand the program, I want to get more runners involved, I want to get more dogs adopted. The days where you truly think you can make a difference if you could just do a little more.
Those days are mixed in with realizations that I can only balance so much with daily life, being rejected by other groups to expand the program, having complications with pairing up dogs or seeing yet another friend purchase a puppy. Conflicting personalities, missions and just down-right crazy animal people come into the mix as well. Those days where you wonder if it’s worth it at all.
Then, you see other groups popping up around the country, you are reminded that some of the most amazing like-minded people continue to show up each and every week to take out a dog, and there are those trying everything they can to find a particular dog a home.
No matter how large or small, the key is working together and just like in the starfish story, we all can make a difference.