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Shelter Medicine: Defining ???Quality of Life??? Within Animal Shelters

The Five Freedoms can serve as a guide to prevent suffering

The Five Freedoms can serve as a guide to prevent suffering

MARK HAYES/
ISTOCKPHOTO.COM
Last December was a milestone for me: 30 full years since I entered the animal sheltering field. I started working for the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) in 1977 as an eager new graduate from Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine.

No one is more surprised than I am at the longevity of my career. When I entered the field, “shelter medicine” was unheard of, and the volatility of the personalities and politics in the sheltering world made for long odds on surviving.

But here I am, 30 years down the road. As you can imagine, I have seen a lot of changes in shelter operating procedures over the years. It has been particularly interesting to see trends come, go, and then resurface in new (often improved) forms.

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