Carving Out True North

Today the Home launches its new ‘Beyond Our Walls’ strategy – a far-reaching document which sets out its aims and ambitions. Lindsay Fyffe-Jardine, CEO, describes that journey that the Home, and its community, has been on over the last few years that has brought forward the need for change.
Love Without Limits

Monday 5 September
Lindsay Fyffe-Jardine, CEO

The Home has always been a mirror for what is happening in the community. It remains as always, a safety net for dogs and cats in need. As it has for the past 140-years, no matter the cause or reason.

Arriving at the Home seven-years ago, I realised something very quickly – while the dogs and cats are the reason why we are here, we also play an incredibly vital role in the lives of people.

How people are treated when they have to surrender a dog or cat matters deeply. What advice and support we can give to those who don’t know where else to turn and who need a kind and supportive voice to talk through what is best for them and their pet is paramount. And more important than ever in current times.

The last few years have plunged the Home – and the community, into the depths of uncertainty and a fear of the unknown. But what we have realised is that when your back is against the wall and the fight to keep the doors open is never more real, it makes the mission and why we are here even more clear.

While fear may have pushed us forward. It was hope that enabled us to focus on the future.

The reality of what we see at the Home isn’t always easy to describe in words. I see the Home as the safe haven for dogs and cats that have fallen into difficult circumstances, often the innocent victims of life’s human challenges.

The grief experienced by some dogs and cats when they come to the Home, leaving behind family can be hard to see. And in some cases, suffering from neglect, even more so.

It stays with you.

But witnessing the human story of suffering is equally a daily part of the work of Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home. These are ordinary people who are experiencing the most difficult times of their lives in circumstances mostly out of their control and trying to work out whether they might need to part with their most beloved pets.

Witnessing this – I can personally attest to you is harrowing – watching the face of someone handing over a deeply loved family member and knowing this is it. It’s something that stays with you forever. It can be hard not to look away in this moment of trauma.

But while unbearably hard to witness at first hand, knowing the care and love that this pet will be given at the Home is a reassurance that we, as a team, can offer a small respite to the owner making the hardest of decisions.

But not looking away is exactly what we do. In fact, it is in bearing witness to these tragedies and challenges and looking to do something about it that has become the driving force for our Home.

To have survived the Pandemic and to have come out the other side has given us the clarity of mission that we can continue to offer second chances to those who need us, and fight to keep loving homes together in difficult times.

Working to prevent, as opposed to simply waiting for the call to action. There is space for both in our Home.

The darkness of the Pandemic allowed the Home to find its true North, to develop its next strategy and that which will help both pets and people caught up in crisis

The one thing I need to mention finally is what drives the Home and the Team to get up every day and face it all again. It’s the proliferation of love in all its forms which fuels the mission and the Home.

Loving dogs and cats as if they are our own, until that time when they can find love again in a new home.

Keeping loving homes together because dogs, cats and owners are better for it.

Love for the mission, the challenges and the trust given to us to for both the tough part of human lives when they have to surrender a pet, but also to share the joy when they embark on the exciting home when they rehome.

The privilege I feel to be the CEO for this amazing organisation, as it embarks on its next adventure, places me as only a small part of its history, but I sincerely hope that what we can do in this next stage will allow us to be part of long-term solutions. Solutions that push and celebrate hope and banish fear, as we continue our work at the Home and Beyond Our Walls.

Visit our Publications page to view the full Beyond Our Walls strategy.

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