Pet Mutual Aid
The term mutual aid comes from Mutual Aid: Building Solidarity During This Crisis (and The Next) by Dean Spade, which presents “a radical vision of community mobilization, social transformation, compassionate activism, and solidarity.”
As our industry moves more and more toward a community-based model, we can see how animal welfare readily fits into this vision.
Heather Own from Chicago's own One Tail At A Time said “It used to be that we would never ask anyone if we could help them keep their animal because the people who coming in to surrender them were bad people. We subscribed to the industry wide notion that people who couldn’t afford pets shouldn’t have them.”
But in accepting those surrenders, Heather notes that her organization was often taking in animals from people who loved them, thus further victimizing those families going through hard times.
Heather also says,"No one needs another animal welfare organization that only takes the easy, highly adoptable dogs from animal control or accepts transports, but the dogs can't have heartworm and they can't be more than 35 pounds. What we need are groups that are going to take chances. Animal welfare should be one component of those complex solutions,” she says.
The work of ‘rescue’ is about more than taking pets from families; it’s about people pooling resources and giving what they can to help others.
When we heard Heather say, "It’s not rescue if they already have a home" that was a big "light bulb" moment for Strawberry Fields. We want to be one of the rescue organizations willing to take chances and think outside what the general norms have been,