|MF: Mike Fry|
BN: Beth Nelson
NW: Nathan Winograd
BN: We’re getting Nathan back on the phone to help us close out the show. We have some special things to say about some of our very special guests – and wow, did I write down some fun things that people said.
BN: I think it was Denise who said, “You can always create possibility.” Wow – that’s a good one.
BN: Every one of them said, “Don’t give up. Who else can I ask? What else can I do?”
MF: They said it in different ways – some said it’s not always easy, but again, you don’t give up.
BN: I just want to once again highlight John Sibley’s words when we asked for any advice. He said, “Let’s not think that there’s always going to be a Superman coming – it could be you, but if you’re feeling knocked down, be healthy, consider yourself, regroup, and move on.”
MF: We have Nathan Winograd back on the line. The only disappointment that I have in this show, Nathan, is that whenever you do this, I just always think that Nathan, you’re the guy who should be getting the award. There should be some overarching major award, because all of these people are in effect doing work that’s based on your work. If you are talking about a leadership award, you’re the guy.
BN: You’re the granddaddy, Nathan Winograd.
NW: I really thank you for that. I think what is really exciting to me is to see how many new faces there are every year. When you announced this show on Animal Wise Radio’s Facebook page, you said it yourself. Every year there’s new faces and new communities and people doing new and amazing things. Every year, I’ll tell you, it gets harder to narrow it down to half a dozen people, because there are so many people doing amazing things to save animals.
I think if one thing unites all of them, it’s the theme that you kept referring to in your last interview with Denise. Some days it is really hard to be no kill, but it’s harder to kill animals. These are people who never say, “That’s not how we do things,” because the word “can't” isn’t in their vocabulary except as Denise said, when it comes to killing animals. That’s the one thing that we can't do and shouldn’t do.
MF: It’s getting clearer and clearer to me. I think that’s one of the reasons why you have said for so many years, who is in the shelter, who’s in charge of the shelter is so critically important. Hearing Denise describe being in that class and having people there who are killing perfectly healthy animals just for this class. As she says, they could have injected them with saline or something. They didn’t have to actually kill animals to know how to give an injection. Some people weren’t bothered by it. I’m just going to say, if a shelter or a community wants no kill, they can't have people like that in their shelter.
NW: Here’s the irony, Mike. When a lot of these people get hired, they get hired specifically to kill animals. They’re rarely, if ever, asked, “How committed are you to saving lives? How passionate are you about saving lives?” Instead, they’re asked, “Are you okay with killing animals?” The expectation is that the answer should be “yes” and in fact the answer should be “No, I’m not comfortable with it, and that is why I’m going to do everything within my power and even reach above what I can do, embrace the community, reach far and wide, cast the widest possible net so that I don’t have to do it, and if there ever comes a time in this job where I do become comfortable with the process, that’s the day I know I have to leave.”
BN: Holly Henderson mentioned that exact thing about the application and how she answered when she applied for the Chippewa County animal shelter job – she put, “Yes, I understand the need to euthanize animals,” but now after she’s been the head of this shelter for several years and brought it from 90% kill rate to a 95% save rate, she says, “I can't believe that I was in that space,” and it’s not because she doesn’t recognize that at times that is the choice that must be made for very serious reasons, but she says there’s every other reason to not do it. She’s one of those people pushing the envelope to save more and more animals.
MF: The other thing that I learned in today’s show in a really deeper way – I’ve kind of understood it before, but really it hit home to me today, Nathan – is we love your No Kill Equation, all the various programs and services that you’ve laid out. It’s a perfect road map for ending the killing in animal shelters, but there is the one more important thing, because some of these people didn’t even have that. They didn’t know what the No Kill Equation was. Sergeant Bailey didn’t know, but he had one thing that he knew – he wasn’t going to kill animals. It all starts from there. If you’ve got that one, the rest just follows.
NW: What is so beautiful about Carl Bailey’s story is that when he took over the shelter, like you said, he had never heard of the No Kill Equation. He didn’t know a road map had been laid out and that other people had done it before him, which made his job even that much harder. If you can do it from scratch, then you certainly can do it given that there is an equation out there that all you have to do is implement and faithfully apply, and you’ll be able to achieve success.
MF: Nathan, I’ve asked many of the other recipients of the Henry Bergh Leadership Award one question, and I’m going to ask the same thing of you, because I’m making you an automatic recipient whether you like it or not. Do you have any words of encouragement or advice for any of the other communities that are trying to reach the 90% goal but still have yet to get there?
NW: One of the things that’s so exciting is not just the number of communities that have achieved success and how quickly they have achieved success, but also the hundreds more just barreling down the pike there on the cusp of achieving it. Again, that’s what made naming the recipients this year so difficult.
There’s an old adage in social movements that each generation is easier than the last because they’re standing on the shoulders of giants. I think it couldn’t be more true in this movement. You’ve got so many people from so many walks of life, from communities of every conceivable demographic that have achieved success, and they have all achieved it the same way. If you want success, don’t do what you think will work, don’t do what you hope will work – do what has been proven to work, but do it better. Take risks, and don’t have “can't” in your vocabulary except where it matters, and that is in taking the lives of animals.
MF: That’s excellent advice. I will encourage everybody to check out Nathan at www.nathanwinograd.com. They can also find the No Kill Advocacy Center at www.nokilladvocacycenter.org. Just a huge, heartfelt thanks to all the people who received these awards. I know that there’s a lot of other people out there who are doing a lot of work and who maybe didn’t get an award, but I think there’s so many people who probably share in each of those awards …
BN: They should just by default be accepting some of the glow today.
MF: Right. Thirty seconds, Nathan – any last brilliant pieces of message to your winners?
NW: Congratulations, for one, but actually, if I could send the message to everyone else, because I did say this at the beginning of the show, and I think it’s appropriate to close with it, that there are so many people doing amazing work and making a tremendous lifesaving difference in their community, that this award to these individuals does not take away from the wonderful work that they do, and I just want to honor them as well.
BN: Thanks, Nathan.