Blue Ridge Humane Society: REDI Training Grant Report
How did this grant help your organization and the pets in your care?
This grant has given us the beginning steps to start our REDI journey as an organization. We will use the lessons from this training to re-tool our Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion committee. Part of this will be to survey our community and the demographics we wish to serve to ask them if and how they would like receive our services. We will begin formulating this communication in reach plan so that we can have a better understanding of what our community wants. We cannot decide this for them. This will help us to be more inclusive and eventually save more lives as well as help to strengthen the human and animal bond.
How many pets did this grant help?
Please provide a story of one or more specific pets this grant helped.
A few weeks back, a man came to adopt a dog. The man was someone whom an individual might look at and assume a lot of things about his lifestyle. He drove a truck that was rusted and had one headlight out. It appeared he had been shopping at some of our local thrift stores, as the back of his pickup was filled with a desk, dresser, and other furniture.
He spoke with a loud, gruff voice, and I could tell at once that one of our staff was uncomfortable conversing with him. I could see the staff beginning to project their feelings about what a good pet owner is on this individual.
The man had no red flags in being a wonderful pet owner other than what others assumed when they looked at him. This situation provided an excellent opportunity to pull the staff aside while the man was looking at dogs and discuss assumptions and biases regarding the appearance of another.
The staff member began to mention why they felt uncomfortable with him adopting. During that conversation, the staff realized that none of those reasons was anything more than assuming things about the man they did not know to be true. The REDI training allowed me to recognize when staff projected their implicit biases onto a situation.
We ended up chatting with the potential adopter and learning that his cherished dog had recently passed away, and he wanted another companion. The man left with a dog that day, and I do not doubt that they will be very happy together.
REDI training empowered me to intervene and lift judgments on an individual so that he, too, could enjoy the loving companionship of pet ownership.