Errors of omission

Hot Off the Collar | Volume 1

Most of us have a strictly defined self-image. If you’re like me, that image takes a beating from time to time but essentially, once you become an adult, it’s pretty static. If I was to summarize my own image it would be: advocate for animal welfare, musician, mediocre but passionate athlete, and writer. It’s the writer part that is a bit embarrassed in relation to the recent delivery of our summer newsletter.

After writing about the loss of our beautiful Molly and comparing that experience to watching the KHS staff assist a woman who, like me, had to face the end of her beloved pet’s life, I forgot one critical thing. I didn’t sign what I wrote. Omitting a byline might seem like a minor infraction but considering my background as a freelance writer and a former journalist, it’s unforgiveable. Freelancers get paid based on their byline and reporters maintain professional credibility with their byline. Neither of those standards applies to me as the new Executive Director of the Kingston Humane Society, but the oversight left a number of people confused and uncertain. For that I apologize. I could say that I was overwhelmed by losing Molly and writing through a cascade of tears makes editing and proofing copy more difficult. I could say that my new position has been a whirlwind of information, responsibilities and unfamiliar experiences and I was distracted. I could say that I’m getting older and probably need glasses. But, all of those things that I could say, are just excuses. I totally missed the fact that my byline wasn’t included and I’m sorry. Considering the number of phone calls I answered in the days following the delivery of the newsletter, you can be certain it won’t happen again. The wonderful thing about the people who support the KHS is that not one single person who reached out to me was negative. Responses ranged from kind humour, “I know your wife’s name is Ginette and I’m so sorry about Molly. I feel like I know so much about you…except your name.” To supportive curiosity, “I really enjoyed the article by the new executive director, I’m just not sure who he is.” To analytical, “I downloaded the newsletter and did a thorough search. I cannot find the name of the new executive director anywhere.”

The gentle nature of the contacts definitely reduced my level of embarrassment and even with the glaring omission, the content was well received. Since the newsletter was delivered in early July, we’ve had dozens of messages encouraging us to continue our commitment to palliative care. Hiro’s story – which we plan to update soon – inspired many of our readers. The profile of Janet Burgess, our “Pet Detective” has increased awareness about a critical program that puts lost pets and anxious pet owners back together again. On a personal note, the number of sympathy cards and condolence messages surrounding Molly’s death were incredibly touching and reminded me of why I stepped into this role. Nobody understands that kind of loss like our supporters and it means the world to me and to Ginette as well.

As we move forward with this blog, I hope to keep you updated on exciting new projects and give readers a “backstage” glimpse into life at the Kingston Humane Society. In my short time here I can tell you that each day brings new challenges, rewarding experiences, hilarious stories and emotional moments. The staff never fails to amaze me with their resilience and their capacity for love (of animals and humans). The volunteers continue to show up at a moment’s notice and the generosity of our donors is like nothing else I’ve experienced in the not-for-profit world.

So here’s to happy dogs, purring cats, and finding a forever home for each and every animal.

– Gord Hunter, Executive Director

Photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash

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