Learning Lab

Learning labs are $50 and are not included in full conference registration. Lunch is included. See the registration rates.

  • Advanced: Focused for high-level professionals with many years of experience in the field.



Wednesday, May 6, 2020

8:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.

A day in the life of...
Worldwide, animal caregivers struggle with trauma that negatively affects their quality of life. Fortunately, studies confirm that implementing self-care skills and strategies daily promotes wellness and compassion satisfaction. Burnout, compassion fatigue and PTSD will be explored, along with how they manifest in an animal caregiver’s life. Following a mindful meditation exercise, you will leave the session with a sense of peace. Armed with a self-care plan and self-test scores, your healing will begin.
Presenter: Patricia Smith, Certified Compassion Fatigue Specialist, Founder, Compassion Fatigue Awareness Project


Barkitecture: Animal shelter design
Designing and planning your animal shelter can be a very positive experience with the right knowledge and information. Learn from architects and engineers who specialize in this unique building type as they share their expertise on topics such as how to determine the right number and kind of animal habitats, which materials work best, the art of air quality, and the impact all of this has on your operations. You will leave with the right tools to understand the design criteria that will allow you to build a successful shelter that falls within your budget and meets the needs of your community.
Presenters: Rick Bacon, FAIA, LEED AP, President/Principal Architect, Bacon Group Architecture; Michael Barnard, AIA, ACO, NCARB, President/Animal Shelter Architect, Shelter Planners of America; Heather Lewis, AIA, NCARB, Principal, Animal Arts; Shelly Moore, CAWA, President/CEO, Humane Society of Charlotte; Martha Seng, FAIA, Principal, Jackson & Ryan Architects


Best practices for transport: Resources, welfare and disease management
Participants will hear from experts in the field on best practices for safe and effective transport programs and partnerships that maximize resources, ensure welfare and protect animal health. With the industry reaching deeper into communities that need assistance, we will discuss best practices for transport for both source and destination shelters. Even the safest and most successful transport program can experience a disease outbreak, and we will discuss how to handle an outbreak from beginning to end. Presenters will include experts in the field of shelter medicine as well as leaders from both sending and receiving shelters who have made transport partnerships work to benefit their communities and animals.
Presenters: Alexandre Ellis, DVM, Maddie’s Shelter Medicine Resident, Shelter Medicine Program, University of Wisconsin-Madison; Gina Gardner, President, Humane Society of Tulsa; Adam Lamb, Chief Executive Officer, Brandywine Valley SPCA; Sandra Newbury, DVM, Director, Shelter Medicine Program, University of Wisconsin-Madison


Connect, combine and thrive: Bringing organizations together for greater strength and impact
The animal welfare field has been fragmented since its inception. In fact, we have been fragmented for so long that we don’t even notice it, or wonder whether there is another choice. Our separateness impacts every aspect of our work including costs, financial stability, mission impact, relationships and ways of thinking. This session will offer a detailed look at another approach. Each presenter leads an organization composed of two or more previously separate organizations. We will discuss how these consolidations arose, transaction details and how change is managed across multiple sites. We will also explore strategies other than full consolidation—such as collaboration and the formation of strategic alliances—that can reduce the impact of fragmentation.
Presenters: Janelle Dixon, President/CEO, Animal Humane Society; Lisa LaFontaine, CEO, Humane Rescue Alliance; Matt Pepper, President/CEO, Michigan Humane Society; Anne Reed, President/CEO, Wisconsin Humane Society


Doggy's day out: How to start and run a field trip program
Field trip programs are amazing tools for enriching dogs’ lives and engaging with communities. In this session, we'll walk you through starting a program at any size shelter. From getting buy-in from management to putting together your process and marketing the program, attendees will come out of the training prepared to start their own day foster program and save even more lives.
Presenters: Caitlin Daly, Vice President & COO, Lollypop Farm; Finnegan Dowling, Maddie's Program and Social Media Manager, Mutual Rescue; Kelly Duer, Foster Care Specialist, Maddie’s Fund; Stephanie Jackson, Foster Coordinator, Louisville Metro Animal Services


Farm animals: The new frontier for sheltering
With the growing homestead movement and an increased interest in pet livestock across the country, more animals that are traditionally viewed as livestock are making their way to shelters not equipped to care for these animals. This session will prepare you to utilize and customize existing spaces in your brick and mortar shelter for nontraditional animals, as well as create effective temporary housing when necessary. We’ll cover basic housing, care, feeding, handling and placement options for fowl, goats, swine and equines. In addition, we’ll discuss building partnerships with sanctuaries, rescues and farmers. Preparing now will allow your shelter employees and volunteers to educate your clients and your community when the need arises.
Presenters: Cindy Gendron, Project Manager, Animal Response, Care and Sanctuary, The Humane Society of the United States; Tara Hill, Integrated Animal Care Shift Lead, Columbus Humane and MPH Candidate, Ohio State University; Laura Koivula, Deputy Manager, Animal Crimes, Animal Cruelty, Rescue and Response, The Humane Society of the United States; Kaycie McCarthy, Equine and Farm Animal Care Manager, Houston SPCA; Kristie Mozzachio, DVM, DACVP, CVA, Owner, Mozzachio Mobile Veterinary Services


From fearful to adopted: How to find great homes for the hardest-to-place cats
Shelters can be overwhelming places for cats. The sights, sounds and smells can make even the most outgoing, active cat become nervous and shut down. When cats are stressed and fearful, it increases the likelihood of illness and unwanted behaviors and decreases their chances of being adopted. With the right strategies and techniques, these cats can be socialized into happy, loving and well-adjusted adoptable cats. Through lecture and video demonstration, this session will discuss practical tips, tools and techniques that can be used immediately to create a more relaxed environment, reduce stress in cats, meet fearful cat’s needs. We’ll also discuss how to adopt harder-to-place cats into loving homes.
Presenters: Andrew Dorman, Executive Director, Cat Town; Tabitha Kucera, CCBC, KPA-CTP, RVT, Chirrups and Chatter Cat and Dog Behavior Consulting and Training


Global animal issues: Engaging the community to improve animal welfare
Improving the lives of dogs and cats must include the participation of the communities they live in. This session will include examples of sustainable strategies that result in community participation and buy-in. Even communities that don’t tolerate animals have come together to participate in programs that improve the lives of animals and the relationship between animals and humans. A case study from India shares ways to effectively engage communities and stakeholders to play an active role in resolving human-dog issues. Other models of community outreach, founded on the power of the human-animal bond, have implemented sustainable ideas and approaches to improving animal welfare from London to Kabul. And lastly, metrics can reveal the human-animal relationship within a community and help shape the strategy for an effective program. From examples of data collected in Asia and Latin America, you will learn ways to obtain initial (baseline) data to assess the impact of a program intended to change human behavior.
Presenters: Faizan Jaleel, Program Manager, Community Engagement, Humane Society International; Tamara Kartal, Senior Manager, Monitoring Evaluation and Research, Humane Society International; Keren Nazareth, Deputy Director, Companion Animals and Engagement, Asia and Africa, Humane Society International; Lauren Watkins, Director, Behavior Change Strategies, Impact by Design; Caroline Yates, CEO, Mayhew


Marketing in the digital age: How to create swagger for your organization
The thought of building “swag” for an organization through marketing is something that you don’t think about every day. It may seem intimidating or just plain silly. But there are little things you can do to help your organization reach new heights. In this daylong course, you will learn from experts in our field who are using digital marketing to build awareness of their organizations and saving more lives in the process. Through honesty, humor, transparency and positive content, you’ll be able to create brand awareness in your community and beyond. No matter your type of agency, you’ll be able to take what you learn in this session and apply it within your organization.
Presenters: Tori Fugate, Chief Communications Officer, KC Pet Project; Ryan Hinderman, Public Information Coordinator, Front Street Animal Shelter; Bobby Mann, Communications Manager, Front Street Animal Shelter; Caitlin Quinn, Director of Operations, HeARTs Speak; Zach Skow, Founder and Director of Outreach and Programs, Marley’s Mutts


What is your plan?
Large scale cruelty cases and disasters occur daily without warning. Do you have a plan for housing and transporting dozens to hundreds of pets with little to no notice? Animal welfare workers and law enforcement should be prepared with a flexible plan for when this happens in or around your community. Are you collaborating with animal welfare organizations, law enforcement agencies and veterinarians surrounding you? Join the experts for a day of strategic planning to prepare for whatever comes! Where there is a will, there is way. Let’s discuss it!
Presenters: Monica Ailey, President – Animal Cruelty Investigator, Animal Investigation & Response; Kimberley Alboum, Director, Shelter Outreach and Policy Engagement, The Humane Society of the United States; Jessica Johnson, Director, Animal Crimes, The Humane Society of the United States; Adam Parascandola, Senior Director, Animal Protection & Crisis Response, Humane Society International


Why dogs do what they do: Understanding dog behavior and implementing practical solutions for behavioral issues
Understanding dog behavior is a hot topic and as science reveals more about how dogs think, feel and learn, we must evolve to accommodate these new discoveries. Throughout this learning lab, you will explore how we, as dog behavior experts, can utilize the latest knowledge to implement practical solutions for all kinds of canine behaviors in a variety of situations. Whether in a shelter, rescue, professional training setting or even your own home, you will learn how to unlock the canine mind and change and reinforce behavior easily and effectively.
Presenter: Victoria Stilwell, President and Founder of the Victoria Stilwell Academy (VSA) and CEO of Positively