Leading or volunteering for an animal shelter or rescue is a rewarding experience. Animal welfare organizations rely on strong leadership, volunteers, donations, and adopting families to be successful. When one of these importance pieces doesn’t exist they struggle to meet goals and deliver their mission and vision. Many animal welfare organizations work diligently to place animals in their forever homes. Adoptions are strongest when shelters and rescues educate and communicate with the adopting families on a continuous basis – even after the adoption occurs.

Ways to Communicate
The most successful animal welfare organizations utilize these seven communication methods and techniques in their adoption process.

Before
Capturing the attention of potential adopters is vital in your adoption success.

  • Announce new arrivals. Sometimes families visit your organization and don’t find the perfect fit for their family. Keep these families engaged after they leave by notifying them of new animals ready to adopt.
  • Utilize social media. Share pictures and stories about the animals in your care on social media. Websites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are powerful tools shelters and rescues can use to reach a large audience.

During
Communication during the animal adoption process keeps adopters informed on what step they are at and what comes next.

  • Have a conversation. Don’t rely solely on the adoption application for everything you need to know about an individual who wants to adopt. Talk to them, ask questions, and get to know them. You will have a better understanding of why they want to adopt, what their daily life is like, and what their goals are as a pet parent. This information makes it easier to find a perfect match.
  • Provide updates. Keep them updated on the process by notifying them of any changes or setbacks.

After
Some animal shelters and rescues think the adoption process is complete once the animal is transferred – this is another important time for increased communication.

  • Follow up at seven days. Take time to call adopting families after the animal is in their care for a week. Start by thanking them for adopting. Ask them how the animal is transitioning. Do they have any concerns or questions? Take time to fully answer these questions and they will feel valued and supported by your organization.
  • Touch base at 30 days. Call or e-mail 30 days after the adoption takes place. This check-in is to make sure they don’t have any new concerns with the decision to adopt. It gives them a chance to share positive stories about their new family member.
  • Reach out after a year. Call or e-mail again a year after adoption. This is a great chance to make sure the match is still a good fit for both the family and the cat, dog, or other animal. It gives you a great opportunity to see if they are interested in growing their family with another animal adoption.

Implementation
Successful implementation of these communication methods starts with your volunteers who work directly with the adopting families. Schedule a training session for your volunteers to attend. Review these methods and the benefits (increased number of successful adoptions) your animal shelter or rescue will experience.

Have volunteers actively role play different scenarios and conversations that arise. Provide them with a list of red flag comments to listen for and a positive response. High adoption rates are only positive when they are successful long-term adoptions. Implementing these methods decreases the number of failed adoptions and animals returning to your care at a later date.

Animal Shelters and rescues attend adoption events as exhibitors to help raise mission awareness and increase adoptions.  Events range from a small open house to a larger event with multiple animal shelters and rescues.  Deciding to attend an event comes with risks. Plan in advance to minimize these risks. Train your volunteer team on how their actions can help protect your animal shelter or rescue. Here are five things your animal shelter needs to know before attending a special event:

  1. Does the event align with your mission? Look at the mission or goal of the event.  Does their goal align with your mission? If the two do not align, the event is not in your best interest.  Attending an event that does not promote your mission, leaves you open to negative publicity or loss of a positive reputation.
  2. Read the contract. Most event organizers require you to comply with rules and an agreement to become an exhibitor. Make sure you read the contract or agreement to determine if you can meet these requirements. Common event guidelines include set-up and tear down times, proof of insurance, vaccine requirements for animals, and expectations for how you present yourself during the event. If you are unable to meet the requirements outlined in the agreement do not register as an exhibitor.  You risk a negative impact to your animal shelter or rescue if you attend and do not follow the guidelines.
  3. What can go wrong? Prior to attending an event, make a list of all the potential risks. Risks include animals getting loose, volunteers not showing, animals injuring attendees or volunteers.  Once you have a list of possibilities, create a proactive plan that identifies how you will minimize the potential for these.  For example, one significant risk is an animal jumping on an attendee and scratching that individual.  A plan to keep that from occurring includes making sure volunteers are assisting the attendees while talking to, petting and playing with the animals.
  4. Choose the right animals. Choosing the right animals to take is a key in minimizing the risk of injury to attendees. Your goal is to increase adoptions by attending the event.  Animals that have just recently entered your care may not be a good fit.  Choose animals that can handle social situations and interaction with strangers.  Animals that are skittish or easily scared have unpredictable behaviors and should remain at the shelter or in their foster home during events.
  5. Choose the right volunteer team. Volunteers who attend the event need to be knowledgeable of your animal shelter or rescue, your mission and how to present themselves during an event. If you choose to send new volunteers, make sure you pair them with an experienced volunteer that understands adoption event logistics and your expectations.

Adoption and special events are a powerful way to educate and involve your community with your shelter.  Follow these steps before attending an event to create a positive experience for all involved.

 

Dealing with an aggressive animal can be difficult and overwhelming. Typically when an animal is aggressive in some way it is because they are feeling afraid and the need to be defensive occurs. Sadly, sometimes, aggression occurs through training if a puppy at a young age falls into the wrong hands of an individual whose soul purpose is to train that dog to fight.  Thankfully, there are helpful ways to rehabilitate any animal that has aggressive issues so euthanizing that animal does not have to occur. You just have to find out the cause of the aggression and realize some essential key factors first.

Discover the Form of Aggression it Has 

Just as humans can act out in an aggressive way from hurt, animals can too. Animals have feelings and need lots of tender love and care. When animals do not receive the tender love and care they so rightfully deserve they begin to act out in ways that you may feel are dangerous such as biting, scratching, leaping at you, growling, or hissing. Remember, these are forms of self-defense in an animal’s mind. Learning the cause of the aggression will help you find a solution to it. Some forms of aggression in animals are:

  • Territorial Aggression
  • Defensive Aggression
  • Social Aggression
  • Frustration-Elicited Aggression
  • Redirected Aggression
  • Pain Elicited Aggression
  • Predatory Aggression

Retrain the Animal to Develop Better Behavior 

Once you have learned the type of aggression the animal is suffering from you can than safely help retrain the animal’s mind and rehabilitate it using the right training techniques. Thankfully, animal shelters have trainers that help rehabilitate an animal before they go out to new homes. However, if you do not have the privilege of receiving a rehabilitated animal from an animal shelter and need assistance call in a professional to help you with the process.

Show the Animal Tender Love and Care

Anytime you are rehabilitating animal you have to have patience and provide it with lots of tender love and care. You want the animal to begin to trust and feel safe again so it doesn’t  feel the need to defend itself. It is also essential you always show the animal you care and it is doing good in the training process by providing it with treats and toys it loves most. Providing the animal with comforting things they love helps with the healing process too.

Animal adoptions are the responsible way of bringing a pet into your life. By choosing to adopt an animal, you are actively contributing to society. There is also a strong correlation between adoptions and improved animal welfare, especially during the summer. If you are looking to own a pet, adoptions are the way to go.

Adopting animals from a shelter is admirable. You are essentially giving an animal a new life. However, there are many things to consider before adopting. Considerations include your current lifestyle, your living environment, and your ideal companion. Providing a healthy living environment for your new pet is important. It is also important to understand the benefits of adopting. These benefits include animals that have been health-checked and, commonly, house-trained. You are also not contributing to the unfortunate over-population of domestic animals. While animal adoption may seem complicated, it is not. Through adoption, improved animal welfare is almost always guaranteed.

Purchasing an animal through a breeder or pet store may be tempting at first, but there are no certainties about the welfare of these animals. Through adoption agencies, animal welfare is a top priority. Generally speaking, adopted animals have higher animal welfare standards. The main animal welfare issues to consider include behavior, house-training and general health. Adoption agencies are often guided by veterinarians, to ensure each animal is adequately cared for. Although a majority of animal welfare issues are taken care of by adoption agencies, those who adopt animals also play an important role, especially during the summer.

Throughout the year, there may be times when the environment is dangerous for animals.  This includes during summer, when heat temperatures increase and parasites are more prevalent. Unfortunately, animals are very vulnerable during these periods.  Some of the most common vulnerabilities include:

  • Temperature – Heat from the Sun can cause dehydration and other issues
  • Parasites – Fleas and ticks are more active during warmer weather, causing irritation and potential infections
  • Other wildlife – Birds, reptiles and other mammals may attack, causing injuries
  • Thunderstorms – Loud storms often frighten animals, potentially leading to injuries
  • Dangerous plants – Venomous plants may come into contact with animals, making them very sick

Through animal adoptions, you can help protect animals against many of these threats. Needless to say, animal adoptions are very beneficial. By utilizing adoption agencies, you are contributing to the overall welfare of animals, giving them a happier, healthier life.

Shelters are homes to many animals seeking their forever home. However, before animals are ever adopted out of the shelter adoptive parents should be offered a human education program offered by your shelter. This type of program can help new future pet parents be the best that they can be to their new furry soon to be pals. However, humane educations program should also be offered to schools to by shelters to help educate children at young ages about the equal rights all living creatures on this earth deserve.
The Benefits of Shelters Offering Humane Education Programs
1. Humane education programs teach pet parents to care for their companions in a responsible manner.
2. The program can help people understand the consequences of being irresponsible when it comes to their pets.
3. Humane Education programs can encourage the value of all living things in people who need to develop a more humane nature towards living being.
4. The program can teach people how animals can be motivational tools to help teach others how to grow in life.
5. Helps teach people how to care for abused animals properly.
6. Can educate people on how to stop and prevent animal abuse from occurring.
7. Teaches people the services animals can provide to the ill and disabled.
8. Offering a humane education program can teach people how to be loving, caring and respectful to all creatures upon the planet.
9. Programs such as this can help teach people empathy as well as how to socialize with living beings in a proper manner.
End Notes for the Benefits of Offering Humane Education Programs to People
The benefits of offering a humane education program are countless and necessary for developing pet owners and human beings, that are more kind, respectful and loving to all living creatures upon the planet. Without programs such as these, people who do not understand how to be towards other living beings could potentially develop a behavior that is cold and senseless towards other upon this planet.
In fact, people who never develop skills on how to be humane are more capable of developing abusive behaviors and becoming criminals. If offering humane education programs through shelters and at schools creates more humane human beings than these types of classes should not just be offered, but should be mandatory to help all humans develop a more humane nature so our planet can be a happier peaceful place to live upon.

What is Backyard Breeding?

February 15, 2015

It is common these days to see more and more backyard breeding. This type of breeding causes puppy mills to exist and the population of animals on the streets and in shelters to grow. Putting a stop against backyard breeding is the only way to control these unnecessary situations for animals.
What exactly is backyard breeding?
Backyard breeding is a term used to describe humans who breed animals without the legal license to do so. The reason it is done is to create animals, which can be sold off to earn and income, or to create an animal with a certain temperament for dog fighting purposes. However, when animals cannot be sold off they are released onto the streets or into the wild to make more room for the next rounds of backyard breeds.
What kinds of animals are used in backyard breeding?
Horses: All types of horse breeds are used in backyard breeding to create horses for slaughtering purposes. Backyard breeders that can turn out a lot of horse meat will sell it off in hopes of earning an extremely large sum of money for living purposes or continuing on with the breeding.
Dogs: Pitbulls are some of the most common dogs breed with other dogs by backyard breeders to create pups with temperaments that are easy to train for fighting purposes. However, other dog breeds are used in backyard breeding as well just to create puppies, which can easily be sold off in puppy mills or the side of the street simply to make an income.
Cats: All types of cats are used in backyard breeding to create kitten litters, which are sold off easily due to cuteness to earn some extra money. Most cats breed in backyards end up with all kinds of horrible health conditions and tend to be put onto the street if they cannot be sold off in time before the next breeding season begins.
Rabbits: All kinds of rabbits are breed often in backyards to produce tons of kit litters, which are sold off during the Easter holiday with ease, or for meat selling purposes.
End Notes for Backyard Breeding
All animals desire respect and kindness, which means backyard-breeding needs to stop. If you know of backyard breeding going on, report it immediately to animal patrol and prevent more animals from becoming homeless, abused and used for other purposes other than sharing love.

________________________________________

There are hundreds upon hundreds of animal shelters across the country. While big name animal shelters often get a great deal of notice, there are many shelters that continue to operate under the radar, but it doesn’t have to be that way. There are ways for animal shelters to get noticed quickly, and we’ve collected 7 easy ways to do just that.
1. Use Social Media
Social media is a quick, easy and often free way to get your shelter noticed. Starting a Twitter feed and building a circle of followers can be great advertising for an animal shelter. Facebook and Instagram are great options, too.
2. Offer Promotions
Adoption promotions are a great way to boost adoption rates and garner attention for your animal shelter. Slashing adoption fees, offering special “dog days” and “cat days” can get the community off their couch and into the center.
3. Pick a Spokesdog
Several animal shelters have gained significant awareness by promoting their shelter with a spokesdog. An animal shelter in Milwaukee gained significant awareness by taking their spokesdog, Gracie, to iconic areas around the city and handing out informational packets to passersby.
4. Create Videos
YouTube is a great medium for animal shelters. Take videos of the day-to-day activities at the shelter. Social transparency is a huge theme in business in 2015, and It translates well to animal shelters, too. YouTube can also be integrated into Facebook and other social media sites with great ease.
5. Interact and Engage
Once you have your social media sites set, you’ll need to engage with your audiences. Ask questions, run “cutest pet” contests and offer interesting content. The goal is to get users to engage with your sites and share your content so you can garner more followers.
6. The Newspaper
While print media has largely fallen out of favor with many people, the medium is still a great place to advertise special animal shelter events. Many newspapers offer both print and digital ad campaigns.
7. Talk to the TV Stations
Local news stations often look for “feel good” segments, so keep in contact with producers. This can help you garner your 15 minutes of fame on local media outlets, which can lead to a huge influx of community member coming into the animal shelter.
Exposure can make or break an animal shelter. While many shelters operate with a limited budget, getting the name out there needn’t be

Valentine’s Day is not just for humans. This holiday that celebrates love is for animals too. Some of the animals in your local area that could use a bit of love, compassion and attention this Valentine’s Day are the ones in shelters without homes yet. If your wondering how you can help the animals in shelters in a special way this Valentine’s Day the ideas below should help get you off to a good start.
Offer Heart Shaped Treats
Valentine’s Day, is the holiday of love. Little hearts help symbolize the holiday. To help treat some of the dogs and cats in the shelter you can bring some heart shaped treats to them. Even if you cannot find heart, shaped dog and cat treats, you could also pick up regular cat and dog treats instead.
Pampering the Animals
On Valentine’s Day, some humans enjoy some pampering at a spa to help achieve good looks for a romantic evening with a partner. For cats and dogs, pampering is necessary to for showing love and compassion. Why not, give dogs and cats baths, clip their claws and trim their nails, brush their furry coats and help these animals look sharp to help increase their chances of becoming adopted. Nothing would be better for shelter animals than to find their loving forever home on Valentine’s Day.
Create Loving Greeting Cards
Valentine’s Day is all about love and one of the ways you can show love to others as well as to the animals at the shelter is by creating a Valentine’s Day backdrop, taking photos of each animal in the shelter and creating greeting cards. Do not forget to place a loving description of each animal you take a photo of on the back of the greeting card to help increase their chances of adoption. Once the greeting cards are made, mail them out to random people in your local community to get the word out about the animals staying at the shelter. Who knows, maybe you will reach someone’s heart and help an amazing animal get adopted.
End Notes for Valentine’s Fun at the Shelter
Celebrating Valentine’s Day at the shelter is easy, and with the ideas above you should know how to start the day with some fun for the shelter staff, volunteers and the animals temporarily staying there. Just remember, to spread lots of love to those furry pals too.

Offsite Adoption Checklist

January 22, 2015

Animals are part of nature. Whichever way you chose to view it, they are part of us and they deserve to be shown affection. Today, very many animals stroll aimlessly on the streets, perhaps in search of a warm permanent place to call home. The good news is, with the contemporary animal adoption trend, many animal lovers are now turning to offsite adoption events to rescue these homeless animals. As charming as offsite adoption sounds, it’s a task that requires great planning and extra effort not to mention a sacrifice of your time. Nonetheless, it’s always worth giving it a shot. Here are some of the few things you should include in your worksheet before getting down to the actual offsite adoption process:
1. A comprehensive list of all the volunteers to undertake the task with you- This will help you in keeping a good track of all the people you expect to show up and consequently come up with a way of supervising them depending on the number.
2. Ensure you have all the necessary equipment you require for the task- These may include cages and crates among many others. This will assist in easing the transportation of the adopted animals.
3. A comprehensive breakdown of the offsite location- You want to have clear knowledge of the specific region you are going to commence your adoption procedure. Understand all, or at least the better part of, the routes and pathways or any other relevant site you are likely to find a homeless pet.
4. A camera- This may sound too obvious but it’s always important to keep a good photography record of the offsite location and all the animals traced and successfully adopted from the site. This will play a significant role in convincing prospective adopters while choosing the pets they want to adopt.
Along with these important tips, it’s absolutely important to ask yourself some few questions before you decide to bring a new pet to your home, especially if you are a personal volunteer. Decide why you want a new pet and settle on adopting the one that best fits your taste and lifestyle. If you are under an organization working with volunteers to adopt homeless animals, keep a good track on the volunteers and this will help you reach out to them easily whenever need arises for such offsite adoption events.

Every year several animals are put to death in kill shelters simply due to overpopulation and not enough available loving homes for the unwanted animals. The only way to stop kill shelters from putting animals down is to stop the overpopulation of homeless cats and dogs. If your wondering what you can do to help stop pet over populations the tips below can assist.
1. Offer donations to shelters and clinics to help spayed female cats and dogs that need it.
2. Offer donations to veterinary clinics and shelters for male kittens and puppies that need neutering.
3. Adopting a pet that needs a home can mean less animals on the streets, which means less unnecessary liters being produced.
4. Becoming a foster parent for animals in shelters that are overloaded with animals can help provide more room in shelters to help get overpopulated pets off the streets and from producing more unneeded liters.
5. Preventing pet overpopulation also begins with you making sure your own pets have been spayed or neutered.
6. One of the ways vets can help stop the overpopulation of pets is by offer free spaying and neutering clinics to people who cannot afford to get their pets fixed, but wish to do so to prevent pet overpopulation.
7. Animals that are abandoned on the streets need to be rescued and brought to shelters and clinics. The less cats and dogs on the streets the less liters occur and euthanasia.
8. Providing more resources to help with the adoption and fostering process can help.
9. Donating plenty of food, water, pet care products, bedding and toys to local animal shelters can help the shelters provide for more rescued or abandoned animals, which means a reduction in cat and dog populations.
10. Opening your own non-profit shelter or rescue service can help get unwanted cats and dogs off the streets and from producing more liters.
11. Volunteering at your local animal shelter can help reduce animal population. Sometimes all shelters need is some extra pairs of hands to help take in more animals.
12. Preventing animal hoarding is a huge way to prevent animal overpopulation.
13. Creating a non-profit safe drop off spot for unwanted pets can help drastically.
14. Prevent the selling of fighting dogs. Once a dog is done fighting it’s put out onto the streets. A particular breed that is often used for fighting is the pitbull.
15. Make sure stray cats and dogs are rescued by animal patrol.