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Do we love animals more than the elderly?
May 7, 2015
As we prepared for Midlands Gives, someone made an observation that gave me pause. Our Facebook page has 668 likes. One of the other non-profits participating in Midlands Gives, a non-profit that helps abandoned and homeless animals, has over 30,000 likes on their Facebook page. Why is that?
We have done a lot of work in the last year rebranding ourselves, improving our Facebook page, and using Twitter more. If you’ve seen our Facebook page over the last 100 days, you have seen intense focus on letting the community know what we do, and how Midlands Gives will help us accomplish our mission. We’ve received more grants than ever over the last year, and we have had more press releases picked up by media than ever before. So why would a social media venue for pets seemingly have 50 times more visitors to its site than a site for an organization that meets the most basic of human needs? Why would the top two recipients of Midlands Gives donations, in terms of number of gifts, be pet charities, over homeless shelters, children’s shelters, food banks and other agencies in the Midlands that work to provide basic human needs?
While helping animals is a worthwhile and important cause, I don’t get it. Don’t get me wrong…I’m an animal lover. I’ve supported these causes myself, and my pets have always been rescues, but why are animal charities so heavily supported? Is it because the seniors we serve are usually homebound and often isolated (out of sight, out of mind)? Is it because we respect our clients’ dignity, and therefore, can’t parade out heartwarming pictures as others can (think puppies and babies)? Is it because we as a society want to deny the aging process (if I don’t focus on the elderly, I can forget I am aging)?
I don’t have the answers to these questions, but it gives me pause. If you figure it out, please let me know!