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Why doesn't Motley Zoo answer the phone?

Why we don't answer the phone

Motley Zoo Animal Rescue is a volunteer-run operation. The peeps that comprise the admin crew are spread out over the area- throughout many different neighborhoods, towns and cities. We sometimes go days or even weeks without seeing each other.

But conveniently, we can run Motley Zoo virtually, from our homes without meeting face to face. Instead, we utilize the internet to help us communicate with each other- and the public.

However, like it or not, we can't possibly answer the phone as often as it rings- and even if we could, respond in a way that would resolve your questions.


Here are a few very good reasons why:

The thing is, who are you calling when you call our line? You are not calling a person or even a single building with a few people- you are calling a network of volunteers...


As such, it takes time and coordination to communicate with each other and then back to the public because we can't shout a question over the cubicle wall...


But 99.9% of the questions people ask via phone are things that require immediate consideration...things we can't answer in a call- sometimes even at all- because of the many factors that would go into the response.

Almost anything you want to casually ask us, we simply cannot answer accurately because there too many variables involved.

If you want to understand more about why this is, keep going!


Otherwise we suggest e-mailing us for an application for the pet you have identified as your first choice. Once we know what you need and want- officially - THEN we can actually help you.

Reasons why our answer on the phone will always be,

"Please email us for an application so we can help you find the right pet for you"- and therefore we can't/ don't answer at all:

1. "Is Pet X still available?"

If we actually had one (crazy!) person committed to carrying the phone around and answering it every time it rings (at least 150 times a day), that person would say:

"Yes, if they are on our website they are available. We process them out same day- so this is a current reflection of our available animals. However, that also doesn't mean that as we're speaking, the Animal Care Coordinator isn't concurrently making an appt with an approved adopter and that animal, for 3 hours from now- so by the time you apply, the answer would actually be no."

Just like someone can buy the car you drove an hour to see, right before you get to the dealership, so can someone get matched with the pet you are asking about- or even applying for.

So would we have been lying if we said yes? Even if not, the person isn't going to be happy we committed to that statement, when they find out otherwise though, right? So why commit to something we can'tback up with certainty? The answer is, we won't.

But we also cannot remove an animal from the database until they go home or it results in too mush extra work, delays and errors. We can't do things twice when getting them done once is hard ;)


So ultimately, question #1 is not a question that can be resolved by phone- nor really, until you have actually applied...because they still won't be available to you- even if they are online- if  you aren't yet approved or they aren't the right match for you.


2. "I need more information about Pet X to know if I want to adopt."

That theoretical person frantically answering the phone (forgoing showering and eating ;) has probably never met Pet X and really, has no idea. When we have 50+ animals that all live in private homes, how could the "secretary" meet or know them? They are not the one who could answer you, even if they answered the phone.

Perhaps, they could call the Animal Care Coordinator or foster family while you are on hold and maybe get an answer...but how long does this all take? Especially if this happens 150 times a day?


Then what if we did get an answer and spent all that time on Pet X (which isn't even a good fit for you only we didn't know this because you hadn't yet turned in an application to compare to the animals' needs)? Now we have spent a minimum of 15 minutes and we all have nothing to show for it. 

It seems a better business strategy to focus our efforts on people whose information we have and can realistically, definitively compare with the animal in question vs spending many hours on the phone saying "we can't answer that" and re-directing people to email and applications anyway.


An auto-responder- or even a direct email response from a volunteer (which we usually provide)- takes 10 seconds. A call may take as little as 5, but it adds up and we don't have that kind of time.


We are already so beyond overworked, it just isn't possible to casually do anything around here.


In all however, once you are an actual candidate, then we spend a ton of time with you!


We will certainly provide more info about the pet that's best for you, based on your application response...which turns out to be Pet Z, not Pet X. 

We want the fit to be pretty obviously amazing so that when we all take the time for a meeting, it is likely to yield an adoption. It's just wasted time, effort and disappointment for everyone otherwise- you especially.


Why would we do that, when there's a better way- albeit one that is hard for people to understand and appreciate sometimes?


Hang around and you will see why our process works- or move along and find a pet elsewhere, whatever works for you.


Not surprisingly, we want to work with people that want and appreciate what we offer- just as much as you want to feel this works for you too. 

Please see our website, here, for more on a shelter based organization, which may be a better fit for you than we. Or you can email us and apply for find the right match for you with a process that really gets results!


3. "How do I meet Pet X?"

If you have read this far (*wink*), you can see that we can't- and won't- allow you to meet an animal that hasn't been identified as a good match for you, because there is no point.

This is why we need the application FIRST, then we arrange a meeting. 

Adoption meetings require no obligation to go home with an animal that isn't right- so meeting first doesn't obligate you to anything. The meeting is an interview- if you and we all agree on the fit, then the pet gets the job and goes home! If not, we try again with more information with which to make our matches.



4.  "I just want to know about Pet X, I don't want to fill out an application if I can't get the animal."

Well, nothing in life is guaranteed - especially it working out magically and perfectly to adopt the very first animal whose picture you fell in love with. That's a fairy tale. 


The reality is: you want A PET, right, that's why you've inquired? Very likely, one that is a great fit for you too.


You will need to fill out an application at some point also...does it really matter if you do it first, or after you meet the animal? It's all the same steps, just in a different order than a shelter (which is what most people are accustomed to and likely expect).


Instead of thinking about "wasting time" on an application for THAT PET, why not  not think about the application as an opportunity to find the RIGHT PET.


Because through the application, we can find the best fit for an animal you may not know exists yet. One whose picture isn't posted yet. One we just took in...

Only you will go home with YOUR PET. No one else. And, the only way you will not find him or her is if you stop trying...


Or get frustrated with us it's not the first pet you saw, you can't have it today, you have to answer some questions- or otherwise, just get mean and argumentative about why we can't fit your square hole with our round peg.

Remember we are not a shelter and if you want to meet the animal first you are going to be disappointed with us ;) However, this isn't because we did anything (certainly not 1-star worthy things) - it is because you expected something from us that simply isn't possible.

Just as you don't go to the library to buy a book, or to the bookstore to borrow one, animal organizations may all have animals awaiting homes, but they function differently- and in a complimentary way that best serves the most animals and people. 

We serve many people extremely well (to the tune of 5-stars) - they have animals that work for them...some of whom didn't get "the one" they thought they wanted...but can't thank us enough for unifying them with "everything they never knew that they always wanted in a pet."

On occasion (usually because of disagreeing family members) an adoption may not happen after all...depending on the circumstances, then we can try again.


Getting approved with us means we are going to provide you time and attention to matching you with the right pet- time we simply cannot spend on the 149 other people who only casually asked about Pet X or Z.


We believe is far preferable for the animal and people- although sure, this is sometimes not what people think about it all ;) If you have read our 1 star reviews this is what you will find.

But we have to ask- did they want the right pet, or did they just want what they wanted when they wanted it? They don't think they are being unreasonable or "difficult" when we are trying to help them, but so often people derail the process because they just can't stop and really think about what the ultimate goal is...

We know very well, if we'd did everything everyone asked, we'd see so many animals being returned (for preventable reasons)- which is stress and heartbreak to all, not least of which is hard on the animal in question.

As our only job is to protect the animals' needs and interests first and foremost, we can only serve people when we first assess the animals' needs before the people's.


People get what they want and need from us only when the animals do first...


We believe this is GREAT customer service - but when people put themselves first in this equation, they likely won't...because they are missing the point.

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