Extending Our Reach Through Community Ambassadors
Our outreach volunteers all agree that, in addition to the animals they are attending to, meeting the people in our community is especially gratifying. We are taken by the extraordinary compassion displayed towards the animals in the neighborhood by not only their pet guardians, but by all members of the community. During door-to-door canvassing we are greeted with welcoming conversation from those who are caring for a pet and those who are simply pet and/or people advocates. Often an advocate is willing to work with us on the care and feeding of animals.
Brother Reggie, for example, doesn’t have a pet of his own, but he is well connected in his community and is keenly aware of who does. We met Reggie one day while doing outreach following transporting pets to and from the spay/neuter clinic. We first saw Reggie in the morning when we picked up a pet from his neighbor across the street. He was out feeding the pigeons. We noticed that he had his eye on us but unfortunately we didn’t have the time to engage. Later in the afternoon, after we dropped off the pet and started canvassing on the block, we ended up at Reggie’s stoop. We told him who we were and he said he had seen us earlier on his block. We chatted and learned that Brother Reggie runs the outreach ministry for the church next to his house. He’s deeply embedded in the neighborhood and includes outreach to the community as part of his daily routine.
Reggie invited Charm City Companions (CCC) to speak at his church. We were introduced by the pastor who gave us the opportunity to speak to the congregation. We shared our work and the mission of CCC, which was well received by the members of the church and proved to be a very meaningful and productive experience for us. We also learned that Reggie provides people in the community spay/neuter vouchers whenever he finds someone with a pet they want to have altered. Since January 2016 we have had over 30 pet guardians contact us saying, “Brother Reggie told me to call you.”
Brother Reggie's pet guardian story is only one of dozens of other stories. Through these guardian relationships we are able to not only extend Charm City Companions' reach, but in Reggie's case we have helped to extend an important mission of this special neighborhood church. We now meet regularly to talk about ways we can continue to work side by side to meet the needs of the neighborhood and its pet community. Whether our meetings take place on the side of the street, or on Reggie’s stoop, they are as productive as any formal meeting around a table in a boardroom.