I get it. Company newsletters and LinkedIn aren’t supposed to be for cute dog pictures. The adventures of our favorite pets are typically supposed to go on, well, every other social media platform. However, there is a work-related connection here if you’ll allow me to explain.
Otis Bast was “employee #2” at Nucleus. After 16 years (incredibly rare for a dog his size), Otis went to that vast backyard in the sky in March 2020. I like to think I will meet him again one day and, of course, I miss him a ton. Christmas never helps. When I get out the decorations, I inevitably come across a holiday photo frame with a picture of Otis in it from years and years ago.
However, us Basts are dog people. So, after a while, we did decide to seek out a new dog. I restricted our search to one place—the Arizona Humane Society (AHS). At Nucleus, we’ve worked with AHS on and off for more than a decade. We’ve explored the meaning of their brand as an animal welfare organization. We’ve researched the views of Arizona pet parents. Heck, we even helped name some buildings at their new flagship campus. Beyond that, we’re just big fans of the work they do. Yet I often meet people—even dog owners—who don’t understand some fundamental things about AHS.
For example, AHS has an ethical no-kill policy. No animal is ever euthanized for space or length of time. I’m amazed more people don’t know this. In fact, the only animals that are euthanized are for severe conditions or very dangerous behavioral issues. Far from getting rid of animals, they will even go pick up abused or neglected animals. Plus, they work with law enforcement to go after owners that don’t do right by their animals.
Another thing people don’t realize is that AHS has a ton of ways to help someone wanting or needing to surrender animals. We’ve all seen the NextDoor post from someone begging for help with an animal they need someone to take off their hands, sometimes even using pleading statements like, “I’m losing my home/I can’t afford my pet.” AHS has developed life-saving programs to help people out in tough times through financial assistance (“Bridge the Gap” program) or finding a temporary home (“Home Away From Home” program). Rarely are they “full” and unable to take in an animal. Last year they took in almost 18,000 pets and 14,000 of those needed treatment in their trauma hospital. Yes, they operate a full-on animal trauma hospital!
One last misconception is that AHS is a state-funded shelter—what people used to call “the pound.” Not the case. They actually receive zero tax funding. They’re strictly funded by private donors and have an incredible number of awesome volunteers in addition to a full-time staff that numbers almost 350.
So after enough time had passed, we ventured down to AHS and picked up a fifth family member. He was rescued off the streets in Casa Grande and transferred from a shelter there. AHS had given him the temporary name of Copper which we liked but decided wasn’t really him. I liked Guinness (he’s black and tan – what more could you want?) or Booker (as in Phoenix Suns guard Devin). Sadly, I was outvoted and our new friend was dubbed Asher.
Asher’s exact breed? No one knows for sure. Asher’s age? No one knows that either. Here’s what we do know. Asher has not only settled into his new routine with us, he is quite precise about it. He gets two walks a day and if you even think about skipping one, he lets you know this is not acceptable. Asher has something of a shoe fetish and if you aren’t looking, he will have what looks like a Famous Footwear sidewalk sale piled up outside. Asher also knows where the kitchen trash is kept and, if it isn’t closed, he will abscond with anything he can snag, thus earning him the nickname “Trashy Ashy.” Finally, Asher likes going on the baja step of the pool for himself but sure doesn’t like it at all if you get in the water all the way.
To wrap up, what we got from our favorite animal welfare organization—the Arizona Humane Society—is a 73 pound mix of companionship and quirkiness. We love him like crazy. Welcome to the fam, Asher.
P.S. Ask me sometime about the Sunday night where, having just returned from a weekend out of town, we ended up in the human E.R. for my seventh grader immediately followed by a trip to the veterinary E.R. for Asher. Luckily, everyone is okay.