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REAL WORLD EVENT DISCUSSIONS
Your "aww" for the day 1/20
Sunday, January 20, 2013 2:27 PM
Gettin' old, but still a hippie at heart...
Quote:Randy Grim thinks of himself as the shyest man in St. Louis. Unfortunately for him, he's also one of the better known.
"I can't go to the grocery store these days without being recognized," laments Mr. Grim, who claims to have little or no gift for small talk.
Like it or not, however, Grim has become a local icon.
In 1998, Grim formed a nonprofit group called Stray Rescue. The group's goal: to save as many of St. Louis's stray dogs as possible. Wounded, dangerous, half-starved: Grim doesn't care. He's a passionate dog lover whose goal is to alleviate the suffering of these animals – often lost or discarded pets – whose lives on the street tend to be desperate. Grim's hope is to heal and rehabilitate as many as possible and see them placed in loving homes.
He has succeeded beyond his wildest dreams. And along the way, he has helped to reshape his city.
Grim began as a team of one. The former flight attendant opened a dog-grooming business in the early 1990s, hoping to satisfy his love for dogs by working with them all day long. But he found it wasn't enough.
He brought home his first stray dog when he was only 5 years old. The fear that he saw in the eyes of that first dog – eventually replaced by gratitude and love – moved Grim so deeply that even at that young age he knew he had found his life's work.
While working as a groomer Grim continually rescued stray dogs from the street, keeping them in his condo until he could find homes for them. By 1998 he had decided that rescuing dogs needed to be his profession. He closed his grooming business and, operating alone and out of his home, launched Stray Rescue.
Today, Grim heads up an organization with a $3 million annual budget, a staff of more than 50 paid workers, thousands of volunteers, and a state-of-the-art shelter that houses as many as 200 dogs. The money that supports Stray Rescue has been raised through donations and through the sheer force of Grim's outspoken advocacy: A man who sees himself as shy is anything but that when it comes to speaking out for dogs.
For a long time Grim had a less-than-friendly relationship with the St. Louis city government. Police were not always comfortable with Grim's forays into the city's most dangerous neighborhoods to check on loose dogs, and the fierceness of his attachment to the animals. "The police were taken aback by Randy's devotion to the dogs," says Pam Walker, St. Louis city health director.
Louis Naes, a St. Louis police detective who works with Grim on a city task force fighting animal abuse, puts it differently. "He's more passionate than anyone I've ever met. If you don't know Randy, and you don't know how to take him, you're kind of like 'Are you for real?' "
But today Grim and the city government have forged a working partnership.
It all turned around, Ms. Walker says, in 2009, when St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay – dismayed by the city's poor record on animal care and control – asked Walker and the city health department to step up their efforts. Walker said that at first she didn't know where to turn. The department was overwhelmed and understaffed, she says. It was not able to meet the health needs of the city's people – much less those of its animals.
Then she thought of Grim, who was already known throughout the city as a self-appointed savior of dogs. She called him and asked if he could help. "He basically took the whole problem [of stray dogs] off my hands," she says, at no charge to the city.
Since 2010, reports of stray dogs in St. Louis go directly to Grim's iPad. He takes care of them within 24 hours – taking the dogs to his own shelter and, if need be, providing them with round-the-clock medical attention from the Stray Rescue veterinary team. (The city still deals with what it considers to be dangerous dogs and enforcement issues. All other loose dogs have become Grim's responsibility.)
The impact has been significant. While there are no good estimates as to the number of stray dogs on the streets of St. Louis, the city, before partnering with Stray Rescue, picked up 1,700 dogs in a peak year, Walker says. Today she estimates that 40 percent more dogs are being picked up off the streets than just two years ago, yet 90 percent fewer are euthanized. Instead, about 98 percent are now adopted into homes.
"The whole landscape has changed," Walker says. Since Grim's involvement, she says, St. Louis has become a model for good practices in the area.
"What we're doing here is cutting-edge," adds Mr. Naes of the city's task force. "I don't know that too many other cities have anything like it."
Stray Rescue also funds a massive education campaign. The group's billboards advocating adoption, spaying, and neutering of dogs are everywhere, as are pamphlets and brochures informing the public of free medical care for dogs and volunteer opportunities at Stray Rescue. The group has recruited 2,000 to 3,000 local volunteers who walk, hike, run with, and help to train Stray Rescue's dogs. ("It doesn't take a village; it takes an army," Grim says.)
The group has also been working with a grant from the National Humane Society to target one ZIP Code at a time within the city, going door to door offering free spaying and neutering services, as well as microchip dog tags, to city residents.
Grim says he is delighted at the way the city has responded. Many St. Louis citizens "were already there," he says, in terms of concern for dogs. "But now the government has followed. I'm really proud of my city."
Officials elsewhere sometimes ask how St. Louis deals with its dog problems, Walker says. "My answer is: We have Randy Grim."More at http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Making-a-difference/2013/0118/Randy-Grim-and-Stray-Rescue-reshape-a-city-s-approach-to-animal-control?nav=87-frontpage-entryInsideMonitor]
He really works at it. And that work pays off. This should give you happy tears or chills or just a smile:
Who says one person can't make a difference?
Sunday, January 20, 2013 4:18 PM
Quote:Originally posted by FREMDFIRMA:
Well, I "borrowed" one (although not sure if he's a full breed Huskie) from a resident today, who was all but LAUGHING UP HER SLEEVE, she was a little TOO eager to let me walk her dog for her, and I was already thinking "Ooooh boy..".
First he tries to maypole me with the leash, didn't get far with it cause I am used to that trick, THEN he wanted to chase a squirrel, and when he didn't get his way went all pouty and challenging, at which point I got down on hands and knees and offered to have it out with him, to which he's like WTF?!
I had some more work to do on our broken snowblower and tied to the leash to a tree right next to where I was workin, cause I know what HAPPENS if you take your eyes off them or let go, but he seemed more interested in trying to "help" by shoving my toolboxes toward me with his nose.
He did appear to have enjoyed himself, and getting him back in his house was something of a chore, but while the idea looked good on paper I ain't too sanguine about it in practice, I think we'd have to hand-raise a rescue puppy for this or something.
Monday, January 21, 2013 7:57 AM
Monday, January 21, 2013 10:55 AM
Monday, January 21, 2013 11:01 AM
Monday, January 21, 2013 12:55 PM
Quote:one of the pets rescued by firefighters
Monday, January 21, 2013 5:13 PM
Tuesday, January 22, 2013 7:26 AM
Tuesday, January 22, 2013 12:01 PM
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