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Animal Sheltering blog

Hear different voices each month, from the Animal Sheltering team and other colleagues in animal welfare, reflecting on the most critical issues in our field. Share your own voice in the comments!


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  • You too can launch a return-to-field program!

    New handbook covers how to do RTF from A-to-Z

    It was a sunny, blue sky morning when we set out from the shelter with a ginger cat stowed in the back of our SUV. A large towel covered his trap, pulled back at the ends to make sure he had enough air. Typical for ferals, he was completely silent—someone stepping into the car at that moment might not have even realized he was there. For my wife, Suzi, and me, our job was to get him home now that he was neutered and ear-tipped. I was concerned, though, because the information we were given about where he was trapped was hazy.

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  • Blog Post

    Sharing your animal welfare expertise after retirement

    Goodbye to full-time work doesn’t mean you’re finished contributing

    Retirees from the animal welfare field have a lot to offer and shouldn’t quietly fade away—that would be such a loss to our cause!

    After 45 years of employment in animal welfare, the time finally came for me to retire from active duty. I spent the last 32 years as the executive director of the Humane Society of Carroll County, Maryland, handling animal care and control for our county. I was fortunate to have lasted that long, given the emotional toll this work takes on the heart, family and occasionally, friendships.

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  • Blog Post

    Combining foster and hospice care

    A fospice volunteer describes the bittersweet rewards of caring for terminally ill animals

    One of my first foster dogs came from a puppy mill raid in 2009. I knew little about puppy mills at the time, so it was very eye-opening to see this adorable dog who was also one of the most mentally damaged beings I’d ever met. Over the next three months, my husband and I watched Itsy Bitsy transform into a normal, happy dog. She was adopted by a beautiful couple and is living in Miami now. Seeing the impact we could have on an animal, my husband and I were hooked on fostering.

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  • Blog Post

    One-stop shopping for wildlife questions

    This is the third in a series of three blogs showcasing how our Wild Neighbors partners have implemented one of the criteria of our Wild Neighbors pledge.

    It may seem like a simple question, but the issue of who is responsible for the wildlife in the City of Austin, Texas, can be confusing. Are these creatures the responsibility of the parks department or a combination of the departments with land management responsibilities? What happens when wild animals don’t stay in our parks and greenspaces? Should someone call a community nonprofit? The police department? A state agency?

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  • Blog Post

    Good shelter design is good for animals

    The lobby of the Greenville Humane Society is designed to be a retail destination for animal-lovers.

    How your architecture influences visitors and animal flow

    Many of our new animal shelter clients tell us the same story: Their facility is overcrowded, they struggle to reduce numbers without euthanasia and intake numbers continue to be unwieldy. Compounding the issue is the fact that an overcrowded shelter is harder to keep clean and free of disease, yet it’s more difficult to adopt out sick or stressed animals.

    This cycle sounds familiar because it’s one that almost every shelter faces.

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  • Blog Post

    Transport: A summit, collaboration and planning

    Did you ever think that we would see a shortage of cats in some areas of the country? Yes, there are still plenty of shelters saturated with cats, and shelter intake numbers can vary a lot by season, but a cat shortage in any part of the country at any time of year is exciting! We have entered a time in animal welfare where a home for all healthy and treatable animals is attainable. Collaboration is the key component to achieving this nationwide goal.

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  • Blog Post

    Rethinking their final days

    What we do for our aging family members

    There’s not much that enrages animal lovers more than someone surrendering an elderly pet to a shelter. The stories, shared from one rescuer to another, are prime fodder for Facebook condemnation—that 9-year-old German shepherd purchased as a puppy; the 12-year-old cat who wandered onto the porch as a kitten; or perhaps the 3-year-old hamster the kids clamored for at the pet store. That pet no doubt gave her family the best years of her life, and this is how that devotion is repaid? Dumped at a shelter, scared and alone, left in the hands of strangers? What could be more cruel?

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Tools and Resources >

  • Magazine Article

    Spot-cleaning cat cages

    If you have a particularly shy kitty, it’s helpful to provide her with a nice hiding space where she can retreat while you tidy up.

    These days, beating germs doesn’t always mean a bleach bath

    If you’ve ever had a pleasant dinner party interrupted by a cat who wanders in, plunks himself down, and begins performing the most intimate cleaning in full view of the table—feet lifted well beyond his head in a kind of obscene yoga, licking with the kind of focused attention usually reserved for advanced calculus—you know: The ways in which kitties clean can make us humans uncomfortable.

    Turns out, the feeling is mutual.

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  • Magazine Article

    A word from us

    Amanda Arrington meets a new friend in the YK Delta region of Alaska, where Pets for Life supports work to increase access to pet resources in remote villages.

    In my team's work on Pets for Life—our initiative that does door-to-door outreach in underserved communities, offering free pet care resources, services and information—one of the most common questions we get is how to fundraise for and sustain support for such programming. Beyond building the organization’s basic fundraising skills, it’s important for everyone involved to understand how companion animal welfare is connected to larger systemic and institutional challenges for people and their pets—issues like poverty, segregation, housing insecurity and resource inequity.

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  • Magazine Article

    Making a change for the better

    All nine available dogs from the Humane Society of Tampa Bay were adopted in the first two hours of Super Pet’s grand reopening event in February.

    Pet store program helps boost adoptions and fight puppy mills

    “Whether the economy is good or bad,” says Randy Housley, the general manager of Polly’s Pet Shop in Universal City, Texas, “people seem to want puppies.” And San Antonio Animal Care Services draws from such a wide area that his store is rarely without them.

    Since August 2013, the shelter has been the store’s sole source for puppies. In fact, the store now adopts out about 150 puppies a year, more than it used to sell.

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