High Alert Institute



The Choice to Love

by | Sep 6, 2022

We hear the word love throughout modern society.  We are told to love our customers and that as customers we are loved.  We are told to love our neighbor as ourselves.  We are told that there is no greater gift than love.  We even have a special holiday, Valentine’s Day, dedicated to the notion of love.


Love has been described a basic building block of resilience, the foundation of the family, and in the goal of marriage.  But does love have a place in business?


Father Dan Schulte, a Catholic Priest and Philosopher, has defined love as “Love is the unifying thoughts between two people who have cared for and have said ‘yes’ to each other total being.  It implies mutual respect, freedom and trust, and seeks the happiness of fulfillment of each other as a common goal.”


Father Robert Mitchell has stated that love is an act of choice while “life” is an uncontrollable emotional response to our experience of another individual.  Father Mitchell states that while respect is a pre-requisite of love, life is not.  Father Mitchell does posit that respect is the ideal foundation for a love relationship and that from this respect “life” would ideally spring forth to form the framework of the love choice however, life is not the pre-requisite to the act of choice to love.


In the business world the admonishment to “love our customers” has been criticized as minimizing the meaning and importance of love.  As this admonishment is a pride in most businesses that criticism is quite true.  Father Schulte in his definition points out that love is a unifying response, it binds those in the relationship together trading a new individual, the love relationship itself.  In his definition those in the love relationship choose to “care for and face ‘yes’ to each other’s total being.”  Here Father Schulte and Father Mitchell agree completely, love does not require that you “like” the other individual only that you choose to love.  How many of our customers do we have the immediate emotional response of dislike?  Father Mitchell and Father Schulte prove here that we can embrace that “dislike” and still choose to love that customer.


But how can I love somebody whom I dislike?  Father Schulte’s definition answers this question as well by including that love implies mutual respect.  Just as Father Mitchell stated that respect is the foundation for love, Father Schule states it is an absolute pre-requisite.  Even if we dislike our customers we can still find in ourselves respect for them and perhaps even acceptance of them as they are and through these make the choice to love them.  


Finally Father Schulte points out that a love relationship requires that we seek the “happiness and fulfillment of each other as a common goal.”  Is this not the goal of every business?  Few of us work to be unhappy despite the fact that for many this is the end result.  Instead we speak to gain fulfillment and happiness through the work we do.  Father Schulte points out that it is not the work that creates the fulfillment and happiness but the relationships that we garner from that work.  Interestingly, when the relationships from our work provide fulfillment and happiness we need the last pre-requisite to love our customers.


But what if our customer refuses to enter into this love relationship?  What if our customer does not care for us, is not accepting of us and does not respect us, does not trust us or does not seek our happiness or fulfillment as their goal?  Increasingly in American society we find an almost schizophrenic response to the concept of customers and businesses and business people entering into a love relationship.  


When we fill the role of customer we are often impatient, untrusting, unaccepting, unloving.  Yet when we are in our own business and work environment we strive to respect, accept and even love those whom we serve.  Father Mitchell points out that because love is choice we can choose to offer love even when the requirements of a true love relationship are not there.  For Father Mitchell this is a form of self reliance and self respect.  Father Mitchell states that it is the ultimate form of self love to not allow another person to denigrate decisions and the ideal that we have set for ourselves.  This means that even though we may not like our customers, even though our customer may disrespect us we can choose to offer them love.  This is not to say that we should allow ourselves to be abused.  Nor should we allow ourselves to be exploited.  There is a vast difference between offering love and becoming a victim of our own love choice.  In offering love we are respecting our own choice to enter in to a love relationship however, that relationship becomes exploitive when it is not a unified response, when we are not cared for nor accepted.  We may offer love despite apparent disrespect but if disrespect, distrust and a failure to value our happiness and fulfillment by what we receive in return for our love choice then it is not love but masochist to remain in the relationship.


For many years it was the professional responsibility of physicians to constantly evaluate their relationship with their patient.  The doctor/patient relationship was seen as the ultimate love relationship.  In that relationship the physician along with the patient sought health and happiness, however when evaluating that relationship if the physician found that the relationship itself was not healthy either for the doctor or the patient that physician was both morally and ethically bound to end that doctor/patient relationship and assist the patient in finding a new physician.  


Unfortunately as healthcare became more a business and less a relationship physicians began to abandon this professional responsibility remaining in relationships where they were neither respected nor trusted and where they failed to respect or trust their patient.  Over time the professional decisions to find the patient a more supportive relationship became replaced with the legal decision to “severe the doctor/patient relationship”.  It is interesting to note that about the same time the number of malpractice lawsuits in the United States began an exponential rise.


In any choice to enter into a love relationship there must be the inherent choice to end that relationship if it fails to meet the basic requirements of love.  This is a prospect that is frightening too many businesses however, if a business is to be financially resilient, if it is to be able to extend the same love relationship to its employees as it frequently extends to its customers than it must obey the moral imperative to love its customers enough to seek for them the best business relationship possible even if it is with another business.  How often had a business garnered our undying loyalty by referring us elsewhere for service that they can not truly meet?


The choice to love is the basic building block not only of friendships, marriages and resilience, it is the basic building block of business.


Griffin Works offers Pawsitive Interactions with Service Dogs During Response Operations©, an audience-customized training that breaks down barriers by offering hands-on handling training and demonstrations with working service dogs for fire departments, EMS agencies, and public safety organizations.

Part of the National Domestic Preparedness Consortium and home to the National Emergency Response and Recovery Training Center, TEEX has been leading homeland security training since 1998. The major TEEX programs include fire and rescue, infrastructure and safety, law enforcement, economic and workforce development, and homeland security. As a member of The Texas A&M University System, TEEX is unique in its ability to access a broad range of emerging research and technical expertise. Beginning with course design and development all the way through hands-on instruction and national certification testing, TEEX delivers comprehensive training through both classroom and hands-on instruction and as online courses.

The National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN) was created by Congress in 2000 as part of the Children’s Health Act to raise the standard of care and increase access to services for children and families who experience or witness traumatic events. This unique network of child-serving professionals, caregivers and young adults, researchers, and national partners is committed to changing the course of children’s lives by improving their care and moving scientific gains quickly into practice across the U.S. The NCTSN is administered by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and coordinated by the UCLA-Duke University National Center for Child Traumatic Stress (NCCTS). 

The Emergency Management Institute (EMI) is part of the Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The EMI provides national leadership in developing and delivering training to ensure that individuals and groups having key emergency management responsibilities possess the requisite skills to effectively perform their jobs.

The High Alert Institute maintains a list of reviewed courses provided by governments, universities and professional organizations. This list is geared towards the non-emergency management person who participates in disaster planning, preparedness, response, recovery or mitigation as part of their job responsibilities.

The High Alert Institute has partnered with Shutterstock to distribute stock images from the nature images donated by our supporters. For eligible stock images, Shutterstock will donate a portion of the royalty to the High Alert Institute. There is no cost to charitable organizations or to Shutterstock customers.

For eligible purchases through AmazonSmile, the AmazonSmile Foundation will donate 0.5% of the purchase price to the High Alert Institute. There is no cost to charitable organizations or to AmazonSmile customers. All you need to do is push the SMILE NOW button and select to support THE HIGH ALERT INSTITUTE on AmazonSmile.

Koi need forever homes, too! For pond enthusiasts, freshwater exotic and ornamental fish may not be available through pet stores or rescues in their area. The High Alert Institute Aquatic Pet Shelter Rehoming Program will be happy to assist you in stocking your new pond or adding a new finned friend to your school. Coming soon – when you adopt a Koi from the High Alert Institute Aquatic Pet Shelter Rehoming Program, we can arrange for delivery to your door anywhere in the continental United States.

Have you always wanted a Koi pond but don’t have the space one? Sponsor a Koi in our community shelter pond and we send you photos of your sponsored animal. Coming soon are live Koi Cameras above and below the water to enjoy your sponsored Koi anytime.

Dumping of freshwater non-native species and exotic aquatic pets into wild habitats is a man-made disaster that is truly preventable. The Institute’s Aquatic Pet Welfare Partnership works to raise awareness and reduce the impact on healthy ecosystems through education, as well as rescue and rehoming. Joined by champions of animal welfare and environmental stewardship, this  association of aquatic pet rescue operations and aquatic pet shelters across the United States aims to save our finned friends and preserve our waterways together.

Want to share our cause with family, friends, and colleagues? Looking for a non-traditional way to celebrate a birthday or honor someone special? Support the Institute by starting your own Peer-to-Peer fundraising challenge! Let your contacts know why our mission is important to you and what they can do to support your cause. START YOUR OWN FUNDRAISER for the High Alert Institute.

From the staffing pool to the shelter ponds, from the boardroom to the classroom, and from reading the science to writing the analyses, High Alert Institute programs and services benefit from the experience, expertise, and generosity of our volunteers. Put your talents to use for good and to good use – VOLUNTEER TODAY.

Make your donation twice as nice by rehoming aquatic pets and providing a rehabilitation companion pet to a deserving person, family, or facility. Sponsor part or all of a Joy of Koi Program pond installation – complete with rehomed koi – and give the gifts of love and recovery.

Professional photographers, amateurs, and legal copywrite holders are all welcome to participate in the High Alert Institute Nature Photo Donation Program. Sales of the images benefit the Institute and donors are eligible for tax deductions equivalent to the fair market value of their photos. Landscapes, seascapes, animals, flowers – all may be accepted – whether new or vintage  images. People may be included in the photo but only if unidentifiable (i.e., blurred figures at a distance).

Did you know that unused patents and copyrights can be donated to charity? Intellectual Property (IP) just sitting on a shelf will lose value as it becomes obsolete. The High Alert Institute IP Donation Program seeks to rescue stranded, technology-related IP with the potential for development into marketable products. Once accepted by the program, the owner/inventor is eligible for a tax deduction equivalent to the fair market value of the IP. The Institute receives the patent licensing fees or revenue from the sale of the IP to businesses, helping us to fund our mission. In turn, businesses are able to advance their markets and create jobs for less money than starting a project from scratch.

Disasters are defined as situations in which needs exceed or overwhelm available resources. Some disasters affect an entire community, while other disasters impact individuals and families. Crises of physical or psychological health can be very personal disasters.
The therapeutic value of pets during illness, trauma, and recovery is well established. And Koi fish may be well suited for people who are not able to provide verbal pet commands or physically care for pets like dogs and cats. Koi ponds are also a source of beauty and peace, providing an ideal setting for quiet reflection or meditation.
We are working to partner with pond installers and aquatic pet rescues/shelters to offer free or reduced-cost ponds with rehomed Koi fish to people seeking this type of pet therapy.

Disasters disrupt life and impact our sense of personal, family, and community safety. Survivors and responders alike often are not aware of the emotional, psychological or spiritual challenges that they may face from disaster onset through recovery. With two decades of experience training responders and communities to prepare for the behavioral health aspects of disasters, we will continue to provide education and a curated list of resources to groups or individuals.

Non-medical factors that impact overall health are termed Social Determinants of Health or SDoH. Noise pollution, poor air quality, and poor water quality are three environmental factors known to have a strong link to overall health. And the same environmental factors that impact humans impact their pets and other animals in their care. We continue to assist in advocacy, education, and technology development to mitigate the impact of SDoH on humans and animals alike.

Our efforts in shelter and rescue are the main focus of our environmental stewardship, reducing the environmental impact of non-native aquatic animals being dumped into public waterways. The High Alert Institute also assists innovators with the design, development, and evaluation of green and renewable energy technologies. Reducing the carbon footprint associated with disaster preparedness, response, and recovery furthers our continued mission to mitigate risk and improve resilience.

We partner with public and private organizations, sharing resources and fostering partnerships to improve disaster preparedness, response, and recovery, and mitigation.

The High Alert Institute team has over a century of combined research experience in medical, nursing, behavioral health, and disaster sciences. Our team provides support to researchers and technology developers through comprehensive literature searches and reviews, as well as failure mode database searches and adjudicated reviews.

When disaster strikes, most aquatic pet owners have limited options to secure the safety of their pets. Sheltering in place may not be possible if there is no power to provide aeration and “pet-friendly” shelters do not include ponds or aquariums. Our goal is to provide an option for aquatic pet owners in need of rescue and shelter for their finned friends.

Our goal is to share our two decades of disaster readiness experience with animal welfare organizations, shelters, caretakers, and pet owners, as they implement contingency  plans for natural and manmade disasters.

Join the Institute
Stay informed and get updates.

*We do NOT share your information with any other sites or organizations.

High Alert Institute

4800 Ben Hill Trail
Lake Wales, FL 33898
Office: 863.696.8090
FAX: 407.434.0804


Privacy Policy

Cookie Policy

Terms of Use


Get Your Data

Shipping Policy

Message Us



Do Not Sell Info

Return Policy