Rescue & Relax: Thoughts on Ice-Breaking in Animal Welfare

ice breaking in animal rescue

There’s a moment where you see it take hold — the icy sheen of fear starts to melt away as warmth and understanding take its place. I live in a series of these moments.

With animals, body language is the tip-off. Tension and pained concentration start getting supplanted by relaxation in the eyes:

  • Cats, ever proper, may begin a few slow blinks.
  • Dogs may start loosening those hips, letting the tail drop ever-so-slightly from tightly-tucked position.
  • Wild birds begin to look around, examining things other than me.
  • Clients (we are animals, after all) display it most often in their cheeks and forehead. Raised eyebrows and strained cheekbones begin to fall back into place.

Witnessing this moment with the rescue animals I’ve worked or volunteered with is the stuff of viral videos. All you need is to add a softly-building soundtrack that peaks at the right moment and even those least touched by animal relationships are fair game for tears. After all, it’s that tipping point — that instant when an injured, abused or abandoned animal starts to understand we’re here to help. This moment is only slimly beaten out as “best” by the time they actually move on — to a new home, or released back to the wild in the case of wild birds.

I’ve spent so much of my life waiting for, working toward and celebrating these moments with four-legged and winged animals, that it didn’t immediately make sense when a colleague pointed out I do the same with my human clients at ’cause Digital Marketing.

New clients often come to me tense, riddled with uncertainty and overwhelmed by everything they “should” be doing.

  • Perhaps they’ve been burned by agencies who just don’t understand the #petindustry.
  • Perhaps they feel guilty for not having enough budget to “do it all” or not knowing to do the research in the market before they dove in.
  • Perhaps they’re hearing conflicting reports about how important “X” is to their marketing mix and don’t know how to measure that impact.

I live in a series of these conversations and feel the same type of deep joy when I see the ice break and shoulders relax as we decide together, “we got this. We’re in it together and you’re not alone.”

I live in a series of these rescues. They make me excited to wake up, to keep going, even when I’m down. They keep me connected.

Do you experience anything like this in what you do? I hope you do.

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