People, Pets, and Purpose

Vincent Medley, the Maddie’s® Director of Human Animal Support Services

July 26, 2023 Human Animal Support Services
People, Pets, and Purpose
Vincent Medley, the Maddie’s® Director of Human Animal Support Services
Show Notes Transcript

From the earliest age, Vincent Medley has been thinking about, and living with, the bond between people and animals. Today, he's drawing on two decades of experience as an animal officer and animal shelter leader, to help transform a broken animal welfare system.


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Diaz Dixon:

Hello, everyone, welcome to another episode of People, Pets, and Purpose, the podcast about the human animal bond. And what really matters. I'm your host Diaz Dixon, the Maddie's® Advisor for External Affairs and Partnerships, but a human animal support service project. It's a project where we really pay attention to those people who are in need of support, as well as those animals that are needed support and merging those worlds and understanding how they can be support for one another, and fix a lot of issues that we've had. And today I've got a special guest like a very, very, very special guest. This is my man, Vincent Medley, also known as Vinny Terra Nova. A nickname that many people know about. Vincent is the Maddie's®Director of Human Animal Support Services. It's almost been a year since Vincent has joined HASS. And he has had a two decade career, nearly every part of animal sheltering and animal services...in so many different parts of the country, he has got this really vast experience. And he's got some fantastic stories that go along with it as he's worked his way through. I'm really excited to dive in deep with Vincent today. And to be able to share some pieces that I know about him that are super endearing, they're powerful at the same time, his great background is really the engine that is driving HASS today. And also, I know it helped drive him as a person, because he puts his to make this world a better place than he came into. So I know you'll be inspired, but let's tune on in. And I gotta say, thanks, my man, thank you for being here today.

Vincent Medley:

Thank you Diaz for the kind words. And yeah, I have experience in different parts of animal services, because I guess that's your way of telling me that I'm old. Or I've been around too long.

Diaz Dixon:

Maybe a few of those things. But it's good that you're able to use that, to continue to mentor younger people, and also give us a perspective. We do those experiences that help us improve the shelters, as well as other programs that people are working in and living in every day. And you've been in animal welfare for two decades. So the call you Oh, yeah, I'm gonna call you.

Vincent Medley:

Well, I you know, and I'll touch on that too. Because I do feel like it's important, at least for me to invest in the next generation of animal welfare. Because, you know, the, the movement is always changing. And in order for us to really embrace that change, I think truly for me to embrace that change, it's always to choose to know what the next generation is, is talented at what they are able to what they want to contribute to the movement. And, and so it's just it has been an honor and and working here at HASS is such a an honor, because we do have a lot of the next generation of leaders working here. And you're right, I didn't have thought about it. But it has been something that I've really invested in my career, and I'm happy to be doing it now.

Diaz Dixon:

Well, and HASS is incredibly lucky to have you, you know, you're thinking about this being part of your career and you being in this important role. Now you're, you're an African American male, you're leading a large national organization in animal welfare. That is not common. You grew up in Detroit, like, how will you even exposed to this world animal welfare is not common in the African American culture.

Vincent Medley:

Yeah. And so, you know, I will say this, you know, my first experience with love of pets came from my grandmother. And she had she always had dogs and she always had an inside dog and an outside dog. And the inside dog was normally a small breed. I remember Pucci and Pierre and, you know, just different ones she had over the ears, and, you know, she was that Pierre and Pucci were like they were untouchables. Like they in terms of, they got the preferred treatment in the house, even when her grandkids came, so watch it her helped me in that first experience. We didn't have animals in our house growing up just because there was so many of us. I have seven brothers and sisters. And my mom was all concerned she's like, Vincent, you can't even make up your beds are the hell are you gonna have have a walk on that day? But also she would she would joke with us she she'd say you all of y'all are my pets. So we had a pretty busy household but you know I did growing up in Detroit have some experiences. I didn't even know what would would Uh, you know, feed into this, I remember one time a German Shepherd in our neighborhood being abandoned inside of an abandoned house. And we could hear it making noises trying to get out. And eventually the whole neighborhood just got together or a bunch of us and broke that animal out of this abandoned house. I don't know who we knew somebody was living there that. But this animal sounded like it was just extremely, psychologically uncomfortable. So what I will tell you is that there, there's an innate, there was an innate an innate attachment, or understanding of how important or the you know, or connection with how animals are no different than us. You know, when they suffer, they want someone to rescue them. And just because they can't talk, doesn't mean that they're not suffering. And so there was a recognition in that moment that that animal needed immediate assistance. What's funny, though, is I know Animal Services did come or Detroit Animal Control did come. But I didn't really realize it at the time that that's what they were. So I had no idea. And even in my experiences, the Animal Services, animal control over the years has been really an anonymous part of many neighborhoods. And so that was just another example of where it was just like somebody came and picked him up, and we don't know who they were. But it was somebody in a truck. So it's interesting that now, so many years later that I'm so involved in animal services, Field Services and animal control.

Diaz Dixon:

Wow, you know, it's funny when you think about those stories, and some of our first experiences and early interventions are experiences that resonate with us, and oftentimes motivate us to help find our passion and finding our way. And that's a story I've never even heard. I've never heard you tell that story. So it's really compelling and powerful, because I can actually pick through it, the worry on you and your your friends, faces as you're thinking, what do we have to do? And then even hear you talk about animal services? Because typically, in you know, a lot of marginalized communities, you don't necessarily know what they are, when you become when you become aware we start we call them dog catcher. And I know that that's something that is that that is not a a positive dog catcher. And I learned a lot about that. Just in in having conversation with you. Yeah.

Vincent Medley:

So So Animal Services, now what's called Animal Services started as rabies control. And like, you know, I think the first law I found was like 1797, and New Hampshire, and it was basically to control the, you know, the dangerous, the dangerous disease, rabies. And so, what, and that's where the dog catcher idea came from, it's like, we need you, all you're doing is picking up dogs, right, like any dog that is not attached to a person in some way has to come into the shelter. But the question always has been in this has been since that time, what do you do once the animal comes into the shelter. And the solutions that were applied initially was killing the animal euthanasia as, as its is the is the more palatable term. And so we've really stayed with that model since 1797. We've, you know, we've expanded in certain ways, but we've stayed with that model. And in the meantime, as we have expanded or implemented programs, I feel personally, this is just my personal opinion that many times the, the animal control officer or the animal service officers and there's an I'm going to use a bunch of different names because it's used there's everybody has, or a lot to, there's lots of different names, animal welfare officer, you main investigator, has, is has, in a lot of ways been left out of the conversation. When it comes to what you know, we, which we I know we're going to talk about what we have come to understand at HASS, which is having a community focused approach that instead of removing the animal, like the dog catcher originally was designed to do, from the community actually sit in that animal service officer out to, to provide to facilitate keeping that animal in their community and in their family.

Diaz Dixon:

That makes sense in the world, you know, and you're looking at all these interchangeable tiles that are thrown on, but the really separation of basically testing animals and removing them from a particular situation rather than having the full pair it, there's been quite an evolution in the whole field. Now we're taking a integration and reintegration back in the community and actually, services and the provision of care for what gravitated towards that field will look towards the end.

Vincent Medley:

It know, I thought of it as an exciting job. And not a lot of people that I grew up with, you know, agreed, because, you know, everybody's all sophisticated now. And, you know, and I, you know, I, you know, was, I guess, thought of to be part of that group, but I thought that looked like I thought Animal Control, which is what it was called, at the time I started in 1999. I thought it looked like an adventure. Like, it looked like something fun, like I was, I bet the neighborhood, there's dangerous animals coming at you like, and this is coming from somebody who didn't really grow up with, you know, animals at all. But I will tell you this. So there was an experience right before I started with animal in animal control in the city of Dallas, where I worked in community programs as an AmeriCorps member. And for those who don't know, that's, like the domestic Peace Corps. And so we we worked in, you know, a neighborhood that, you know, is underserved. And we were also working with, part of this was a major project, and part of that major project also involved Habitat for Humanity building homes. And it was like, and so they, so one of the homes they built was for a group of us to come into the neighborhood and create community programs. But you know, and so that's what we did, you know, four of us lived in this house, and we can create a community programs. But one of the things I noticed when I was in this particular neighborhood, was there was dogs running everywhere diet. I mean, like, I mean, they roll. And one of the first things I said to myself was like, where's the human compassion for these animals just running around? Now, I'm going to tell you a story. That is something that that I would do differently if I did it now. But well, we decided we were going to do all four of us is we decided that we were going to get these animals that are running loose adopted to people that that were working on the houses for Habitat for Humanity. They know, they knew we didn't have much money, they started sponsoring animals, we started taking the animals to get, you know, to their to get license with the city. And when you when I think about it from the outside, I'm like, Wow, man, we really did, you know, knowing what I know, now, you know, back then I thought, man, yeah, we're really doing well by those animals. But you know what we left out of that equation, and I'm sure you can guess that animal had a family. Right. And there's reasons that we were not aware of that those animal that animal was ready to lose, and in our naivete, which, unfortunately, not only was it our naivete, it was a committee of people's naivete. And also the sense that these animals deserve better than this neighborhood. We were redistributing animals from a neighborhood that people would consider underserved or poor. And send them off with, you know, we, you know, to be frank with the rich white people to have a better life, you know, they had so and, and, and learn and knowing what I know, now, you know, that, that, while it sounds like a great ending for the animal, and probably was in a lot of cases, in terms of in terms of endings, or it caused a lot of suffering in the community, people whose animals didn't come back home, right. Yeah. And some might have thought, you know, yeah, this is probably better for them. Because we didn't get any trouble. Nobody ever said anything to us about it. But part of that, I think, is was the idea that, you know, I'm not good enough for this animal, which, how disempowering is that for community to be consistently sent that message that that you're not worthy of a pet that you select it and this part of your family and so, you know, we I really have dedicated a lot of my career that especially the second half of my career, to creating a more empowered community and doing that through the messaging that we send by how we interact with people who have pets, no matter what their circumstances.

Diaz Dixon:

You know, it's interesting that you tell that story because it really illustrates how systemic issues continue to fall like dominoes. Yeah, We look at a lot of communities and we say, This is what a responsible dog owner, that owner owner does look like. There are these preconceived notions that we set up. And then we take things away from people because they're not good enough. And it comes, it really hurts the relationships that we have with marginalized communities. And we wonder, well, why don't they care about the health care system? Why don't they trust animal welfare? Well, because we're constantly being beat down in ways that we think we're doing something in a positive manner, but there's a negative effect on that other side of that. And it's, it's a great story that reminds us that we need to always be looking at big picture, that's, that is a band and to show that we all have the capacity to learn and grow and change. Because here, here, you are now telling the story from a different perspective than you did, you know, years ago,

Vincent Medley:

well, and you know, I feel like to that we use the animal sometimes. And I've seen this in our, in our industry, we use the animal, to punish the person. And then on the reverse end, because we punish the person and a lot of times that's taking the animal way, and putting them in inside of a shelter. The animal, ultimately, a lot of times is punished because that animals euthanized is taken from its family, it's put in, I don't care how nice your shelter is, or how big it is, or how well resourced it is, it's still not an environment, that an animal can make natural animal choices, or be in the presence of their family. And so I feel like sometimes we use the animal to say, you are that to express a negative opinion about a person or family. And everybody loses. It's a zero sum game.

Diaz Dixon:

Yeah, yeah. Something that we have to constantly look at, and reevaluate and ask ourselves, why are we making these decisions? What's behind it? Who's it impacting, and also keeping people an important part of that, you know, instead of it all being wrapped around the end, so that's gonna tell me this, Vincent? So you, you worked in this field for a while, but then you gravitated towards leading these major government shelters? How did you make that shift?

Vincent Medley:

You know, so when I, that, I feel like I'm, I've been a lifelong learner, and my mind explores, even when my body isn't exploring, and I just thought, you know, there's a lot to learn about, you know, I was one of those. So, so when I started in, in, in, in Dallas, the majority of the shelter was animal control officers, we were the largest group in the shelter. And so a lot of times when people will call in or there was, you know, duties that needed to be done, whether it was offside adoption, or filling in for a kennel attendant, or our own side adoption area, or work at the front counter, it would have to be an ACO because we were the biggest group. So I was one of those people that, you know, I liked being in the field, but I wanted to learn everything about what was going on to the shelter. And even though there was a lot of things at that time, that were that were still not progressive at all, it still helped me it gave me a foundation to understand the inner workings of the shelter. And so that kind of extended itself beyond and you know, a lot of that has to do with, you know, just the environment I grew up in how my mom encouraged me to, to always, like just pursue just go out there and, and maximize your potential no matter what it is, but as soon as certain opportunities became available to me, so for instance, when it was weird as some of the opportunities I have now to save lives really came out of my work as an investigator because some of the stories got a lot of media attention. So people in Texas started really paying attention to me about oh, this guy is like, you know, and I'm not bragging on myself, believe me, i i That's not my come from but when I was asked by the city of Houston to come to be their administrative operations manager for the Bureau for bark, the Bureau of Animal regulation and care, there was a story about the animal Avenger has come to town, and I didn't even realize people saw me like that. But so as as I got those opportunities, and, and all of that fun, you know, get some media. I mean, there's also some negatives to it. But I think what I've always tried to do in my career is if what I'm able to accomplish will help get help provide resource to my shelter to the team that I work with. To the animals, then that's all good. I mean, it's all positive. And you know what I, I think what, what attracted me to these large shelters, is they were the biggest challenges, you know, for me in my career, and I did see where the industry was progressing to, and it was progressing outside of the realm of a government shelter. And into more, we started to add nonprofit style, sheltering, to government sheltering, when before it was just basic governments things. But if you think about if you think about like, the life saving programs, like the expansion of the veterinary hospitals that exist on campuses, that didn't exist before, thinking about the outreach, all those things are all like nonprofits style approaches that have now been integrated into government and I, and also I think this dies. And I think that's going to continue. And I also think that we should be seeking it out. And some of the work that you're doing with HASS is so important, which is going beyond the animal welfare nonprofit world, and into the human service, from a government standpoint, but also the human service from a nonprofit standpoint, that I think that's our next frontier. And I And I'm hoping what that'll do is that it'll, it will continue to move humans closer to the center of our approach. It's, they're not there yet, right? They're like, we bring them in, and then we push them back out, because animals take the priority. But the reality is, is that if we provide the resource of the support to the person, then they can pass on those resources to their pet, and we can move out of the way. So, you know, it's if you if you notice, the difference in my, in my energy is because I always have, and this goes back to your original question about leaving these large shelters, I always wanted to see how we could impact the world. And, and how I could and this has been a really great way to have a positive impact on the world that I didn't, you know, I didn't anticipate at the beginning, but we could actually make the world a better place, leave it better than then we found it through animal sheltering, but it's going to take us attaching ourselves to programs and services and, and industries outside of ourselves, that's gonna get us there. And so I think just the idea of the big cities really allow me to explore possibility, which is something that, you know, I am very much, very much committed to doing.

Diaz Dixon:

That's awesome. That is awesome. You know, and you're right, we're going to have to do things differently outside the walls of animal welfare, and looking at those resources and services that are delivered to people and be a part of the overall continuum of individuals in corporations and companies and nonprofits that are doing good work. Being a part of that rather than working in a, in a silo, you've seen a ton of things change, since you've joined the field since you've been in this field. And it's nice to in enlightening to hear you say you see this, this change going, moving forward? What's been the biggest change that you've seen, though, like over the last couple of decades,

Vincent Medley:

the biggest change? I you know, I think, I think the biggest change has been the focus on life saving, like, you know, what is the end result, it's not about the animals that to you tell me what you're committed to, and then it's all about the animals to an extent when it comes to paying that ultimate price. But I would say that that was that's the, that's the thing that move the industry forward for many years. And I still believe that's a very important part of what we are our, our, you know, are about in our industry. And I also think that if I had to say what's the next like, what is the next big thing is integration of people and to make sure that we they are full, so Okay, so, so the system is rigged, okay, I'm just now about to go off on a tangent system okay.

Diaz Dixon:

No, no tangent to this is no, again, the system

Vincent Medley:

is rigged against people, period. Now, how you fix the system or how how much access you have to be able to how would I say it be to be able to correct the, the injustice in the city It depends on how much money you have. Right? So we have so many barriers for people to get their animal out. I mean, there's fines, there's fees, there's the fact that you took the animal out of the neighborhood when the neighbor was when the animal was in its front yard, and you could have knocked on the door. There, there's, we have so many obstacles, a person is working. They may not even know the shelter exists, because you don't have enough public relations outreach to even for people even know that you that you exist and where you are. And so, but there's zero barriers to get the animal almost zero barriers, to have the animal brought sucked into the shelter, like a vacuum. And so one of the biggest, I think the recognition of that is a is a humongous, I think, change that is still not prevalent enough, though, it's still not pervasive enough in our industry. So back to my point about the system being rigged. You know, one of the things that really stood out to me was, you know, I was a big enforcement person for many years. And part of the reason is because I felt like, you know, I, I'm responsible for taxpayers money, and they're calling me to resolve a situation. So, and I have these officers that are out there, and they need to be doing something to show that they are actually using the taxpayers money. The way that the way that they would, that they value the taxpayers money. So guess what we did we, you know, in the beginning, it was all about how many calls you made, how many citations you wrote, how many animals you picked up. I had an experience, probably about 12 years ago, and I was talking to a judge. And the judge said to me, he says, you know, man, you are rocking and rolling brother you are doing you are really like, I've never seen the animal. And this was in San Antonio, Texas, I've never seen the animal control or animal services, be this active and responsible and have the soul prepared for their cases. He said, But you know what, I will tell you this, you've turned our court into an integer court. That's what he said. He said I could, he said, because of the restriction in the laws, I am required. At minimum, he says because all of the people you bring it because of the way you trained your officers. Oh, they're they we have to, we have to find them because the case is so solid against them. But I have no latitude or no wiggle room to be able to say this person is in a situation that they need some support. The fines are defined in the law. So people were getting fined, you know, a minimum of $100. And everybody and if you look at the national reports on poverty, then these once again, are the people who can't afford a lawyer to fight this case. And so if you look at the National $100, may as well be $100,000 to a lot of people. And so it really woke me up. And and we eat, we decided to change almost immediately after I had that conversation. And how we changed it is this, the state of Texas had a had the ability under the law for us to to convert a lot of our enforcement from criminal cases to civil cases, a civil case allowed the judge to be able to impose a minimum fine or no fun. And they didn't require people going to jail if they didn't pay, or if they didn't show up to court. Because you got to think about this Diaz, I could write you a citation for your dog not having a license. And if you don't show up to court, a warrant is is issued for you. And if you ignore that warrant, and then get stopped or get into a situation where the city is at, you know, like actually pursuing warrants, because they do that like once a year, a lot of times that municipalities you could go to jail and you're going to jail next to people who have done all types of crime, right? So a person who didn't get a a vaccination tag has gone to jail. Does that seem equitable or fair? At all? No.

Diaz Dixon:

And literally looking at people's resources, the bigger hole for them each and every time rather than being a report and figuring out how to work with other entities that can give them support for this and it makes all the sense in the world you paint a picture However, we often say our systems are broken, and like, broken, they're built this way. And this is why they need to be reevaluated dismantled and rebuilt in a way that focuses on equity. You detect that right there. And it happens in our everyday life, like everywhere all around us. But most of the time, we don't pay enough attention to it. Because a lot of these things don't impact it. So if I'm someone who's writing a ticket, I write the ticket, I go away, and I go on my merry way. And I do my job. And I don't even think about the repercussions or the continued domino effect that that ticket is going to have on that individual, and furthering their marginalization. And then the perception that people in that community have the next time they see someone who's wearing a thin uniform I have, and then I want to get upset and go, Well, why are you Why do you have a negative perception about me? And because I don't have the awareness to understand the impact them has?

Vincent Medley:

Yeah, I mean, that's, that is like, that person has kids, they watch their parent go to jail, that parent gets fired from their job, that family doesn't have food because of because they didn't have a license. And we think that that, you know, and, and I know, I will say this, you know, that really woke me up. Because a circumstance like that happened to me. And it was just like, we described the person didn't have a license, they got a citation ignored, it went to jail, I had to pay $200 to get out of jail. And I remember the person I'm speaking up, he came into the shelter, and he, and what he said to me was, man, I should have listened to you. And I felt so sad inside Diaz, because it's like, that was not what I know. That's that's not what I know, wasn't the intention. No, I didn't want that. I and but the system told me Nope, he didn't listen, he ignored the wards. You know, he gave you lip. So he got what he deserved. And and, you know, and and what was what's so horrifying about that? Is that, so did his family deserve that? Did his pet deserve that? I mean, he didn't deserve it. But we have such a cruel, archaic system when it comes to many things, at least over the years. I know that that. I know that decriminalization is a national movement. And I know, there's a lot of work that has been done in that realm. But yeah, I mean, it's like you said the system was not broken, it worked, exactly how it was designed to work, which is why we've got to change it. Because it is it gets manipulated and taken advantage of a lot of times, to the to the detriment of a lot of our community members. And generally, that's going to be people who don't have the resources to fight the system. And to make it equitable and, and fair.

Diaz Dixon:

Well, and that's the great thing today is that you're leaving high. So now you know, you're able to take this knowledge and and put it towards the leadership of a of an organization that really pushing on making change, what role do you see HASS playing in making change today?

Vincent Medley:

So, you know, when I when I was, you know, the director of like, act, Philly, and then also in leadership positions, and other I wish that organization or project like HASS existed, you it literally is, is, you know, the role that house plays, I believe is number one is to bring the industry along, in an industry wide conversation with our pilot shelters, and watch in real time, how they deal with the today's biggest issues and animal welfare when it comes from a shelter perspective. And so I think hosters role is to really facilitate that conversation, and also facilitate the implementation of solutions. We don't look at ourselves, and I don't look at us as we created the solution. No, what we want to do is not only gathered from the best solutions out there, but and crowdsource them. Whether you are a pilot shelter, we have posted 180 partner shelters, we want to use all of that resource in all of those different organizations, as a as a peek into how things can be done, because we know that there's over 4000 animal shelters in the country that are looking for solutions. And then they don't necessarily always have the bandwidth. Like I'll just give you some examples. You know, we we support the direct have animal service agencies and preparing budget information for their government to justify whether it's positions to justify more resource or or programming. We provide marketing support that helped them message better to the community. All of these things are done free of charge, because we believe and we're committed to the work that that is being done on a community level. Yes, HASS is a national organization or national project. But the reality is, is that we want to make the impact locally without any fanfare without any, like having to pat ourselves on the back, we are committed to, to working within the communities that are affected, or have animal shelters. And the pilots are a way for us to to, to really work in a lab to figure out what are some things that are really effective, and how we can mass how we can mass market those and bring those out to the to the larger animal welfare community.

Diaz Dixon:

I love that HASS is behind the scenes, providing support for a lot of these shelters, testing concepts out, putting out things that will become evidence based practices. And if you've had an opportunity to visit a couple of these shelters, as of late, tell me a little bit about some of those visits that you've had.

Vincent Medley:

So yeah, that's, that's really important, because what I recognize, and what we have recognized as a team is that supporting shelters is not a tabletop exercise necessarily, right. There are some things we work for a lot of times primarily from our computers. But in order for, and this is part of my approach to which is, you know, when with a team, when we start to talk about how we can support a, an organization, one of the first things I say to the team is I need to see it, I need to see it in person. And so we, we've gone to I mean, we've we visited several of our of our high shelters. And we are currently working to provide that direct support, but in a really robust consulting type way. And so one of our first ones it was in Kansas City, and we really got to take a close look at the KC pet project, and all the tremendous work they're doing, because they're doing so many innovative things, there that we're able to, to, to take what they're doing, and help and support them, and enhancing what they want to have done. And in fact, one of one of our contacts there. She specifically said, you know, having you all on campus really helped motivate us the conversations, the dialogue and things that because you know, people get, you know, things get stagnant, you're, sometimes you can't see the forest for the trees, you're in it on a day to day basis, you don't have that, you know, outside perspective. And so I think we, HASS has a great opportunity to continue to facilitate and to spark that individual motivation. And, and not just motivation, but collaboration. to, to, to take that next step to the next level. And so given the the, the, the today's animal shelters and the complexity behind them, it takes it is going to take more than just the resources that shelters are given to make those transformations that we as an industry and to push people over the top in the direction that they have already. You know, a lot of this is it's not like HASS is coming up with something new saying we want you to go in this direction. This is the direction people have chosen. And we want to help them get there. And we believe that that our final destination is a community centric approach. And then we'll see what happens from there. But the you know, the next stop on the you know, the train, the next train station will stop at community centric, let's maximize that. Let's optimize it. And then let's see where we land at when we when we get there.

Diaz Dixon:

That's awesome. And in many of these, I mean, all of these concepts can be used regardless, whatever community you come from, right i mean rule in a city if you're a large or small municipal shelter, it really applies to all shelters and animal welfare. Yeah, yeah. And

Vincent Medley:

it'll look different, right, you know, so there's not you know, there's, you know, with best practices and national Don't models. A lot of times, I think one of the imperfect parts of it is that we ask people to implement what this this other organization is implementing it in the same way. And what I always talk to, especially a pilot directors, or just directors in general and that did in the industry is don't look at where a program is, start at where the program started, right? It takes time to build up from the foundation, the confidence of the staff, the program itself, making a case for more resources, I mean, this is not a one size fits all solution, it's going to depend on your, on your local resources on what your community is able to provide a lot of things that are not necessarily, you know, it's like, it's just like I said, when you see that, that, you know, it's almost like a movie star, who you see in the end, you see them on the red carpet, and they look perfect. And you're like, Man, I wish I could be them and they're rich. But the reality is, is that person started somewhere. And we didn't see some of the things behind the scenes they had to do to make it to where they are. And it's the same as with with programs, which is, you know, number one, you know, if we use a movie star analogy, they have a team of people, it's not just that person that is supporting them, where there's a publicist, and agent, you know, acting coach all of that. But yeah, and, and so the structure and the, and the infrastructure to make these things happen sometimes take time. And I think a community's The one thing I would ask those who support shelters or even those who are critical of shelters, is to understand that what you are looking at a lot of times when you're looking at a best practice is something that took years to build, and that your local shelter shouldn't be held to that standard, to the extent that it is detrimental to them, especially psychologically, because they feel like a failure because they're not at that advanced level from day one.

Diaz Dixon:

That's important for people to know the listeners out there, if you're listening from a theater standpoint, or a community standpoint, not a cookie cutter approach. And it's important to remember all the foundational work that's done, and HASS can help you along with it. Well, just listen with an uplift here, I want to ask you, where are you finding resiliency, and hope,

Vincent Medley:

resiliency and hope it's everywhere, right? It's like oxygen, if we only seek it out, like if, if that's our comfort, and that's probably probably part of my life coaching experience that that says that I would I see resiliency in is the, I will start with the people that are working in the shelter's every single day. They are there, this is probably the toughest time in history to be to be working in an animal shelter. And there's so many demands, everybody has a new bright idea that they want the shelter to implement. And a lot of times without the resource to back it up. And so I would say I watch I'm involved in you know, obviously traveling to go to shelters, but even the local shelter here, shelters here, where I live now in Albuquerque and watching the the staff that is so committed and willing to to implement whatever it takes to involve to add to greater involve people in the solution. And to make people our primary solution, which is when we talk about community centric, that's what we're talking about. We're talking about the people that live in the community, and how do we how do we leverage what they do and, and I want to make this point, it's cost it's not about saying that it's the community responsibility, and just keep them we're close all the shelter doors and don't and, and don't take animals in that is not what we're about. What we are about though is that there is we recognize this Diaz that there is so many people in in communities that are willing to support and, and, and, and yet to support and work on behalf of the end goal which is keeping pets with their families that we all we need to do is connect to it's already happening. The vast majority of animals are rehome outside of the shelters, programs or prisons and so we want to take that next step and and use that knowing what we know use that as a way to do that for for for pretty much you know if I had to say what the future looks like. I would love for every process and program that happens inside of this altar, to be able to happen inside of the community. And I'm talking anything from adoption, to fought without the animal ever coming in that the that from a community level, all of this takes place. And like I said, whether it's adoption, whether it's in any other form of rehome, and fostering transferring animals to a placement partner, all those things, I would love to see the two mirror each other. And I think when we get to that point, then we're really cooking with, you know, with with with peanut oil and, and providing that those and creating those barriers to animals being put brought into the shelter, I want to create those obstacles that keep animals out of the shelter, instead of the, you know, the wormhole we have right now that that sucks animals in even whether they want to go or not, or whether they're in need or not, because there are some animals that that the shelter is there for that should be brought into the shelter, whether it's from in animals that are injured animals that are in danger, even animals of danger to the public, you know, probably we need to bring them into the shelter. But there is 1000s and 1000s and 1000s of animals across the country every year that go into the shelter needlessly. And a lot of it has to do with the, with the lack of programs that would would serve as obstacles to bring the animals in to the shelter.

Diaz Dixon:

Exactly. Exactly. Lack of programming, lack of awareness and the lack of communication between different services. So that's, that's all good stuff and seeing what will go in? Well, I got to end in with probably the most my favorite part of the show. And that is listening to you tell me about your pets.

Vincent Medley:

Oh my goodness gracious. Okay. How much time do you have? Right, right, right. So I have I have three dogs. Dakota, who's a husky and two dioxins. Right read and Trixie, and Dakota is obviously probably everybody will know is the most vocal and the most demanding and will tell you about yourself if you don't do things when she wants you to do and then we have read who literally everybody in every place I've ever lived knows Red's name, because they hear it so much red was a dog that I adopted from one of my co workers. When I lived in San Antonio, and he just I ended up adopting him because all I would hear in the building was read read because she was fostering him and ran would always be getting into trouble. So he for the last 15 years he's been he's been no different. He's beginning to trouble then we have Trixie who is a another Doxon and the two of them are the same age. And they you know, they, they they're just they are two peas in a pod. Now they used to not like each other and now they love each other for some reason. So go figure. And I have Mr. My cat who is Pete is like...Pete is...Pete needs his food at certain times of the day. So he is very vocal about that. And I gave him gravy it in the evening time. And Mr. Pete is so excited every day about his gravy. I honestly I want to put him into her animal rehab for gravy because it looks like it looks like something that he needs like it's

Diaz Dixon:

gonna weigh on a detox, but the gravy exact

Vincent Medley:

oh my gosh, he needs it too. And then I also also do work in the community when it comes to community cats. So I also feed and trap cats forced, that gets sterilized in the community as well. So, and I have fish and raccoons that come by my house and you know, all kinds of animals but yeah, I have a great relationship with some of the animals in this woody area that I walk in. So yeah, there's quite a few animals in my life. Oh, and I feed the Road Runners too.

Diaz Dixon:

Anyway, so you feed the Road Runner athlete. The first time I've heard that when in

Vincent Medley:

fact, they know when I shake the the work the mealworm container, they know it into my yard, so it's quite Yeah. Anyway, so

Diaz Dixon:

we're gonna have to get a video that one of these days. That's pretty awesome. That's awesome. Well really? Listen. Yes. Oh, Vince, those are all the days that this insane thing, so many different worlds. I want to thank you for coming on and being a part of people pets of purpose. I also want to thank you for the work that you're doing that is instrumental in making changes to the lands tape it was the system that we live in. Thank you for dropping knowledge today. You've been a wonderful guest. And thank you for coming on the show.

Vincent Medley:

Well, and thank you Diaz for how you're getting the word out through the People, Pets, and Purpose. It's it's just been an amazing show, you have done such a tremendous job of, you know, bringing on people that really have a you know, I watch, I watched your podcast, and it's just been really inspiring for me. So thank you for and thank you for all the work you're doing for hosts, as well. So get that's out there and have an outreach outside of our industry.

Diaz Dixon:

I'm loving it, I'm loving every minute of it. And for all of you listeners, thank you for listening and watching and being a part of People, Pets, and Purpose in our journey to make this world a better place. The communities of animals and humans alike. And until next time, be safe, be well, and show a lot of human kindness because we know the world needs both