We Were There: 2012 Animal Care Expo
Las Vegas, NV, May 21-24, 2012: What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, right?
Not quite. It’s a safe bet that the more than 1,800 attendees from 40 countries at Animal Care Expo 2012 brought back a whole lotta innovative ideas for their shelters and rescue groups after attending the biggest (70 workshops, y’all!) educational and training conference of its kind. Here are some of the juicy bits that set us dreaming about the tremendous possibilities for saving more animals’ lives:
Your Guide to the ASV Guidelines for Standards of Care in Animal Shelters
- Dr. Crystal Mendiguren, a UC Davis-ASPCA Fellow, Koret Shelter Medicine Program, shared tips on incorporating the ASV Guidelines for Standards of Care in shelters:
- Identify those areas in your shelter that you believe are problems. Be sure to specify exactly what the problem is, and outline what might be a partial or complete remedy.
- An example of a quick fix that cost nothing: The problem of cats being stressed by the sound of barking dogs was solved at one shelter by simply putting a sign on the door leading to the dog area that it should always remain closed. The noise level decreased dramatically.
- Some inefficiencies are easily remedied. At one shelter, for example, technicians were walking through cat kennels looking for cats who needed rabies vaccines, unaware that a computerized report was available.
- Another easy fix: If cats in your stray intake don’t all have access to hiding places because cages are too small, sew or purchase partial cage covers to give them fast hide-ability. The cage covers can be moved around as needed.
Reunited (and it feels so good!)
Tips for increasing RTO, courtesy of Asheville Humane Society’s Jennifer Brehler in her “Boost Your Famiily Reunions” workshop:
- IDs, please! “A personalized ID tag is like your seat belt, a microchip is like your airbag,” says Jennifer. “We can get a lot of pets back home if we just use the seatbelt…”
- Make your program immediate, accessible, effortless and comforting to the pet-owning community.
- Important advice to share with your community members who have outdoor, barn or indoor/outdoor cats: “Make sure you actually see your cat at least once every 24 hours.”
Can’t we all just get along?
Solutions for promoting positive staff/volunteer relationships, as brainstormed by the attendees of “Improving Your Volunteer Program: Lessons Learned from over 1,000 Shelter Volunteers:”
- Have new volunteers shadow an employee; this empowers staff to take pride in training volunteers
- In lieu of catering, ask staff to bring dishes to your volunteer appreciation party. Cost effective, and how cool is it to have the staff “serve” the volunteers!
-In turn, ask those volunteers who say “they’ll do anything” to bake cookies for the staff!
-Train new staff members to show volunteers the same respect and courtesy they would adopters
-Create a “day in the life” video of an employee to help volunteers empathize with the staff’s long, challenging work days
Happier kitties, on the cheap
Ideas for “Improving Cat Programs on a Shoestring Budget,” courtesy of Oakland Animal Services (OAS):
- Way to maximize space and call attention to your available cats: Make kitty hammocks like the one developed at OAS 3 years ago. “The cats love them and so do the visitors,” says OAS animal care coordinator Martha Cline. “And the same pattern can also be used to make cage covers for cats who have ‘shut down.’ The covers offer them some privacy and a dark space.”
- Cheap thrills: kitties love ping pong balls—get the ones without holes, though, as kittens can get their paws stuck in them.
- Look at every nook and cranny in your shelter and ask, “Is there any way I can use this space?” At OAS, an outdoor area not being used became The Catio, an outside play/socialization space for kitties.
Click and treat
A few of our favorite links and online resources, as shared by Expo presenters:
- The “ASV Guidelines for Standards of Care in Animal Shelters” Excel Tool, designed to help individual shelters identify, prioritize and apply the guidelines.
- Fee-Waived Adoptions: Get those cats out the door!
- Pets for Life Toolkit, created to help organizations develop a community outreach program tailored to connect underserved communities with the resources and info they need.
In case you missed this one from The Shelter Pet Project. We watched it during the plenary session and it kinda brought the house down!
What’s the coolest thing you learned at Expo? Please share your experience in the comment box. And if you’re a blogger who covered Expo, send us the link so we can add it to our list, below.
Tags: Adoption Marketing, Adoption Programs, Association of Shelter Veterinarians’ Guidelines for Shelter Standards, Behavior & Enrichment, Fee-Waived Adoptions, Marketing & Media, Return to Owner, Saving Lives, Shelter Health, Videos, volunteers