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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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  • 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

    Rescuers to the rescue

    Rescue and shelter partnerships growing beyond adoption

    The animal sheltering field has changed. We can see it in the decline in the euthanasia rate for companion animals nationwide, the increase in adoption rates in animal shelters and the “community animal welfare center” role that many animal shelters are shifting to. Working to keep pets in homes through behavior assistance, affordable and accessible medical care and food pantries are all common in the portfolio of services offered by a large number of animal shelters in 2018.

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  • Blog Post

    Helping your community’s forgotten animals: Wildlife

    Photo by Stan Rohrer

    How one Virginia community connects the dots

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

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  • Blog Post

    Food for thought

    It's not all bean burgers! The Humane Society of the United States shares Meatless Monday recipes online and in its magazine, including avocado tostadas ...

    How sheltering professionals can help foster a humane society for all animals

    It’s hard to overstate the importance of food. It keeps us alive, obviously, but it’s also at the center of so many of our favorite traditions, from Sunday brunch, to the heaving Thanksgiving table, to Taco Tuesday. So it’s no surprise that people bristle when others suggest eating less or none of their favorite familiar foods. No one likes change, especially when it’s a change from how we've been eating our whole lives!

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  • Blog Post

    Learning to be a pilot light

    The people who attend Animal Care Expo are what makes it great

    A ripple of embarrassment washes over me when I realize I’ve been squirming in my chair. I strain to focus through familiar content just to glean a couple new nuggets of wisdom. Then, directly after lunch, I fight off sleepy daydreams about what’ll be served for dinner, during which time I can use my coveted drink ticket.

    I confess, this is a brief glimpse into what my mind usually does at professional conferences— that is, until I started attending Animal Care Expo.

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  • Blog Post

    Sgt. Stubby’s legacy

    Sergeant Stubby

    Stray dog turned WWI mascot, subject of new animated film, echoes soldiers’ bonds with dogs around the world

    Any work that brings a piece of animal protection lore to a modern audience never fails to please me as a scholar of both the human-animal bond and the humane movement’s history. Given my affection for mascot narratives, I was excited to learn that the story of Stubby, arguably World War I’s best known mascot, had made it to the big screen.

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  • Blog Post

    Promoting social justice through spay/neuter

    To improve your services, dive into your community’s issues

    On this World Spay Day 2018, let’s talk about creating a culture of inclusivity and understanding within your spay/neuter programs.

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Tools and Resources >

  • Training/Event

    Humane State Ohio Shelter/Rescue Training

    The Humane Society of the United States

    Join us for a free, day-long training for animal shelters, rescue groups, humane officers and others in the animal welfare field! Topics include Adopters Welcome, Collaboration, Fundraising, TNR/Return to Field, Data and Building Humane Communities. Register now at https://www.animalsheltering.org/humane-state-ohio

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  • Store Product

    Return-to-Field Handbook

    Return to field handbook cover

    A collaboration between the Humane Society of the United States, Neighborhood Cats and Alley Cat Advocates

    This Return-to-Field Handbook was developed as a practical guide to help shelter staff develop the processes and protocols needed to provide positive outcomes for healthy stray cats. Detailed chapters cover everything from how to gather important information at intake to managing returns and everything in between. Whether you are just starting out or looking for ways to improve your existing program, this handbook is for you!

    This complete handbook is also available for free download online.

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  • Guide

    Return-to-Field Handbook

    Modern animal sheltering has realized that our shelters are not necessarily the best place for cats, especially cats used to living outdoors. For most healthy impounded stray cats, sterilizing, vaccinating, ear-tipping and returning them to where they were found is a better tactic. This practice, known as return-to-field or shelter-neuter-return, is based on the idea that if these community cats were doing well before entering the shelter, they will do will if they are returned, finding food and support from people in that neighborhood.

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