I have a new lady in my life, and my wife approves! My new “lady” is an 8-year old golden retriever we’ve named Katy. She came to us as Savana, but we thought Katy was a better fit. Not that it mattered that we changed this old dog’s name; Savana hadn’t been her name long, she likely didn’t have a name before that. Katy had been a puppy mill breeder all her life until the National Mill Dog Rescue brought her to Colorado, and into our lives.
Dogs that are used in puppy mills live dismal lives. It’s NMDR’s mission “to rescue, rehabilitate and rehome discarded breeding dogs and to educate the general public about the cruel realities of the commercial dog breeding industry.” They perform a great service and have now rescued more than 11,800 dogs since their inception in 2009. How they came into existence is a heart-warming and heart-wrenching story and I encourage you to read about it and watch their video at http://milldogrescue.org/about-us/. Have tissues available.
Roughly a week after we adopted Katy I received a phone call from one of the staff at NMDR. She was checking in to see how Katy was doing, if we needed any help, and then asked me to tell her about how Katy was adapting to her new life. Stairs were a challenge for her; she’d obviously never seen them. We have a large backyard and watching her run freely has been rewarding. It took a little while but she’s playing with our older golden, Maddie and has gotten to know our cats. She’s stopped jumping at every little noise or sudden movement. She follows me everywhere, in fact is sleeping behind my chair as I write this; just as she was the day I got that call. I can’t really imagine life without her now.
Why am I sharing all this in a leadership column? You see, the purpose of that call wasn’t just to check how things were going. Its real purpose was to collect stories about their adopted dogs to share with the staff. NMDR is run almost completely by volunteers. I’ve seen their operation and some of those jobs are not only hard work but probably not much fun either. The leadership at NMDR has a compelling vision and they’ve done a great job connecting the dots between what their volunteers do and that vision. To keep people engaged, sometimes all you have to do is show them what they do matters. The National Mill Dog Rescue is doing a great job of just that.
So, next time you are wondering about how to boost motivation on your team, ask yourself if you’ve presented a clear vision to your folks and reminded them how they contribute to that vision. I have a fuzzy little bundle of pure love to remind me.