So I got to thinking about how to truly win people’s hearts and minds yesterday regarding the animal advocacy presentation I’m putting together, and I realized that the first step is getting people in the door. If I want to appeal to people who are not already involved in rescue, then there needs to be some hook that is beyond just “learn about puppy mills and how to acquire the right dog for you.”
Upon more carefully considering what would draw people in, I started thinking about my history as a pet owner, and I realized that I was guilty of the same irresponsible practices for which I’m always admonishing others. As a teen, I bought all sorts of exotic animals at pet shops (an iguana, a chinchilla, etc.) and then when the honeymoon wore off, I dumped them on my mom. How terrible! Not only that I bought animals at a pet shop, animals that shouldn’t be pets to begin with, but then I abandoned them. This is exactly what others have done to the dogs I foster now. How ignorant I was!
Then I thought some more, and realized that as much as I always said I wasn’t a dog person, I tried to train all the other pets I purchased to be dogs! My iguana I potty trained and walked on a leash, and I had every intention of doing the same to my chinchilla (which didn’t work out so well). I have some great stories about all of these animals, and of course, sad tales to tell about what happened when I dumped them (the chinchilla found a good home, but the iguana got bounced around a lot). Now I’m thinking that these types of anecdotes are a much better way to share ideas about the problems with puppy mills, pet shops, irresponsible owners, etc. Maybe by admitting the error of my own ways people can see that it’s okay to admit when we’re wrong and then do something about it.
So anyway, this is the new direction I’m taking. The show will start with a 4 minute aerial performance about puppy mills and creative volunteerism (giving back by using our own unique talents). Marilyn Milano, an amazing singer/songwriter with a big heart has just composed music to go with my performance, and for that I’m deeply grateful. I can’t wait to hear it and start my new choreography! (It might be a few days, however, because I just tripped on some shoes yesterday when carrying a box of books into the garage and sprained my ankle a little. Stupid shoes! Who left those there? Oh… I did.)
I’m thinking I might put the stories I’ll share during the presentation into a little book, like the size of David Sedaris’ Holidays on Ice. I’ll call it “Up For Pups: Confessions of an irresponsible dog owner turned animal advocate.” What do you think?