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  • Mike Fry

No Kill Comes in Many Flavors - Create Your Own in 2016



Whether it comes about as the result of thoughtful, pragmatic planning or through sudden, inspirational change, No Kill is a recipe to which shelters add their own spice to create their own, unique variety of it. Some are dramatic, hot and vibrant. Others are mellow and mild. Some No Kill initiatives took years of simmering and stirring before jelling into the final product. Others come to life quickly, like a pot full of popcorn that results from a dramatic series of energetic bursts. Sometimes, it is a mixture of both.

The variation in the different flavors of No Kill comes about naturally, largely because the No Kill Equation is a generic recipe of eleven components which each shelter or community can implement to achieve No Kill. The flavoring comes from the ways in which these programs are designed, implemented and run by different people, in different communities and with different leadership styles.

Take low-cost and no-cost spay/neuter programs for example: Different states have different rules regulating if and how animal shelters may be involved in providing veterinary services for pets that do not belong to them. This necessitates some radically different approaches to providing low-cost and no-cost spay/neuter, or other veterinary services. Different shelters must take different approaches in order to comply with their local laws. Additionally, each organization likely has different ideas about to whom and how these services should be provided. Each organization implementing a spay/neuter program needs to bring to the table its own spice, its own special sauce, in order to fit "spay/neuter" into their organization and community.

The same is true of each of the eleven components of the No Kill Equation. And, that is both good news and bad news. First, the good news...

The ability for different organizations to take different approaches to implementing this model of sheltering allows No Kill to work in pretty much any community, with local organizations bringing its community's unique zest to the table to make it work.

Trust me: TNR looks very different on the streets of New Delhi than it does in the Galapagos Islands. But, TNR works in both environments equally well.

The ability for people to take the No Kill Equation and adapt it to their communities clearly shows the efficacy and flexibility of the model. But, there is a bit of bad news...


The No Kill Equation is NOT a simple, paint-by-numbers, connect-the-dots formula. It is not a cookie-cutter. Between it and actual implementation in a community, there is a gap. That gap is the leadership and creativity needed to develop those programs in the context of the specific community. In effect, a community needs a chef willing to bring their own special sauce and seasoning into the kitchen and start cooking.

Doing that takes leadership. It requires taking a stand. It means risking failure. It means not settling for what you have now and reaching for what you want. It means putting yourself on the line. It means taking a leap across a divide without knowing for sure what is on the other side.

So, I get it, it can be scary. That being said, as more and more communities achieve No Kill, the risks of trying gets fewer and fewer, while the rewards remain high. Therefore, I believe that in 2016 a large number of shelters will take the leap. And, in 2016, No Kill Learning will double our efforts to support those who are taking it offering a growing list of technologies and services for those who do. Up Next (Beginning January 9): Growing Leadership, an online class to help organizations develop leaders.

For a host of reasons, I believe 2016 is going to be a pivotal year for the No Kill Movement, and the shelters that join it. And, I am excited to watch it unfold. I can smell pots of No Kill simmering in kitchens all over the USA.

#nokill #nokillequation #leadership #results