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Animal Sheltering’s best of 2017

We break down this year’s best and most popular pages

The Animal Sheltering magazine, blog and Animal Care Expo team is small but mighty. Made up of public policy specialists, animal experts and advocacy journalists, many of us are community cat caretakers, rescue volunteers, adopters ourselves. We’re all passionate about helping you better the lives of the people and pets in your community.

We love seeing which stories and tips resonate with you throughout the year. Just as our readers are a diverse mix of animal advocates and sheltering professionals, our top pages in 2017 were a mix of blog and magazine stories, guides and trainings, Expo pages and jobs. 

Don’t be shy about sharing your thoughts with us in the comments—we can’t wait to help inform and inspire your work in the new year!

10. No more guessing games 
Published in Animal Sheltering magazine’s Spring 2017 issue, this story made an excellent case for ditching breed guesses on kennel cards and letting dogs shine on their own merits.

9. What’s that bug in your ear, kitty? 
Our practical guide to recognizing and treating ear mites in cats, published in Animal Sheltering magazine’s January/February 2015 issue, is still one of our most popular pages! We’ve got a wealth of animal health pages for you to explore and even more slated for next year.

8. Guide to cat behavior counseling 
One of our top pages for two years in a row, this free guide helps shelters and rescues around the country provide sound advice to frustrated pet owners, keeping couches unscratched, rugs unsoiled and cats in homes.

7. Managing Community Cats: A Guide for Municipal Leaders 
Trying to convince local officials to endorse humane management strategies for community cats? Download this popular guide, which provides an in-depth look at community cat management programs and focuses on the issues that local leaders want and need to know.

6. The ogre that wasn’t 
OK, OK, we get it—you all love cats! Our community cats program manager’s blog about building her catio—an enclosed outdoor space for her cats—was the little blog that could this year. Luckily, we’ve got plenty more where that came from: Read more on catios here.

5. Is a foster home really optimal to a shelter? 
In this February 2017 blog, the director of our emergency placement program argued that well-run shelters can be equally as beneficial for animals as foster homes. We’re not surprised that this blog resonated with many of you—we know you work hard to enrich the lives of the animals in your care every day, no matter where they rest their heads.

4. Rescue Group Best Practices Guide 
Our universal set of standards for rescue groups (developed with PetSmart Charities) is an ever-useful guide to evaluating the health of your existing organization or for getting a new one started on the right foot.

3. Returning healthy feral cats 
In 2013, a titan of shelter medicine shared her tips for veterinary care during TNR as part of her regular column in Animal Sheltering magazine. Four years later, the article remains a go-to resource among our readers.

2. Adopters Welcome 
Through our magazine stories and blogs, we’ve strongly encouraged you to re-examine your adoption policies, so it’s uplifting to see that our Adopters Welcome program page—with a manual and plan for implementing the approach—was one of our most-visited this year.

1. Tools to bring Pets for Life to your community 
Our comprehensive toolkit for starting your own community outreach program was a big hit this year. It covers everything from surveying your community needs, to coalition building, to approaching and talking to people.

Now check out the most popular sections on this year:

5. Blog 
Over the past two years, we’ve talked policy, shelter progress, animal transport, pet-friendly housing, diversity in the field, community outreach and much, much more on our uniquely personal blog, and we’re overjoyed that it’s become one of the most popular pages on our site.

4. Trainings 
It’s amazing how the animal welfare field continues to grow and progress—the popularity of our events, trainings and webinars page is more proof that shelter and rescue professionals are always looking for new ways to make a difference for animals.

3. Magazine 
For over 25 years, the Animal Sheltering magazine team has covered animal welfare professionals, trends in the field, practical sheltering tips, and expert advice on shelter medicine, volunteer management, shelter design, compassion fatigue and more. Thanks for reading and sharing with us. 

2. Expo 
Our Animal Care Expo pages—from courses and workshops to handouts and rates—dominated’s top pages in 2017. That’s no surprise, considering our annual Animal Care Expo brings together the best and brightest to elevate animal welfare. Registration for the May 14-17 Animal Care Expo in Kansas City, Missouri, opens soon—see you in 2018!

1. Jobs 
Whether you’re looking for a position with more or different responsibilities, checking out what other organizations are doing, or looking for language for your own job posting, we update our jobs page weekly—and it’s by far the most popular area of our site. Here’s hoping every organization hires a sheltering star in the new year.

About the Author

Animal Sheltering is for everyone who cares about the animals in their community—from shelter directors and animal care and control officers to kennel staff, volunteers, and private individuals working as activists, breed rescuers, wildlife rehabbers, veterinarians and more.