On May 9th, Dr. Kimberly Boudwin, our Medical Director and lead veterinarian, and Lucy Fox, Advancement Coordinator, attended a special Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) Animal Care Expo in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Lifesavers from animal shelters across the country attended the Expo, in hopes to learn more information on animal welfare.
The ASPCA generously awarded us a grant that covered the expenses for the trip, enabling us to send representatives from our lifesaving organization and reserve our donations to care for our homeless pets.
There were a variety of different workshops to attend each day, such as learning about different adoption requirements, how to keep pets in their homes, low-cost vet care for low-income communities and a variety of grant programs to help raise money.
Dr. Boudwin attended a workshop instructed by Victoria Stilwell, an English dog trainer, author and television presenter, regarding the human-animal bond and research into the emotional capacity of dogs. This workshop delved into how dogs feel emotions similar to children, and how we, as humans, make an impact on dogs lives the same way we impact children’s lives. During this workshop, Stilwell also spoke about the problems with dog-meat farming in Asia and the HSUS international group that help try to change this. Very recently, our organization saved 5 dogs from Thailand. Stilwell spoke about adoption policies and how becoming less strict may actually help animals find forever homes and allow us and other shelters to save more lives. There is no such thing as a “perfect adoption,” but as long as the pet has a good home and stays there, that’s all that matters.
Another workshop Dr. Boudwin attended was all about proper vet care for low-income communities and how as resources to our community, we can help. Most people want to do what is right for their animal but they don’t have the means to do it. That’s where shelters like ours come in; we offer low-cost vet care, supply food pantries with pet food and educate the public on how to properly care for a pet. All of these programs help pets stay out of shelters and in homes.
Lucy attended a workshop held by Maddie’s Fund, a family foundation dedicated to revolutionizing the status of well-being companion animals. Maddie’s Fund officials hosted multiple mini workshops about the types of grants they offer, including Innovation Grants and apprenticeship programs. Representatives spoke briefly about what they look for in a grant application and what kinds of ideas they are looking for, to help us apply for these grants, and be awarded resources to care for the animals in our care, in the future.
The Expo offered a series of workshops centered around leadership. One was women in leadership, in which a panel of female animal welfare professionals spoke about their experiences as leaders and what has helped them succeed in their careers. Another leadership course our lifesavers attended was presented by the team at San Diego Humane Society. It focused on creating a partnership between yourself and your employees so you can continuously help them grow professionally so they can contribute positively to your organization.
We are grateful to have had a few members of our lifesaving staff attend the Expo, represent Providence and report back with information and tips on how to make our organization even better. Our goal is to save as many lives as we can, and learning about other places and hearing about other’s experiences is a great way for us to keep doing the best we can.