Best Friends Animal Society and Southern Utah University Announce New Microcredentials Designed for Students Seeking a Career in Animal Services

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Michelle Sathe : 661-803-2909 or

Kanab, Utah - Best Friends Animal Society is pleased to offer three new animal services courses through their academic partner, Southern Utah University (SUU). The online courses are designed for busy adults and result in digital microcredentials that, when stacked together, complete the Contemporary Animal Services Foundations Certificate. The new courses take seven weeks to complete and include Studies in Contemporary Animal Services, Dog Lifesaving, and Cat Lifesaving.

“The great thing about these microcredentials is that they offer an entree to a rapidly developing profession that is tied to social change and community wellness.” said Best Friends Animal Society CEO Julie Castle. “This partnership and the educational opportunities provided will help to grow expertise in the field and help save animal lives.”

Developing new, relevant opportunities for learning is important to SUU, and by partnering with experts like Best Friends Animal Society, allows the university to meet the needs of the industry and help develop the workforce.

“We are always interested in partnering with industry, but particularly with Best Friends because they are a well-known national organization who innovates in the industry,” said SUU President Mindy Benson. “These are bite-sized microcredential courses that you can get into and explore a little bit, figure out what you want to do, or upskill in a way that improves your career.”

The studies in Contemporary Animal Services course is taught by SUU Masters in Interdisciplinary Studies graduate, Lee Ann Shenefiel, who is the Executive Advisor with American Pets Alive, a non-profit organization. The course, which gives a foundation in the field of animal services to prepare students to lead change and meet professional goals, begins on August 30. It covers career options, engaging the community, effectively working in the shelter environment, enhancing organizational culture, building resilience and successfully forming partnerships.  

The Dog Lifesaving Course provides an overview of the current state of dog lifesaving including barriers, proven practices and the role of pilot programming in contemporary animal services. Starting on Oct. 18, participants will learn to identify current challenges and reflect on how to address them.

The Cat Lifesaving course starts on Jan. 8 and addresses challenges in the field and the foundational programs and components to engage the community in lifesaving efforts. Participants will learn the components of a comprehensive community cat program, including strategies such as  trap-neuter-vaccinate-return programs and the tools necessary to be successful.

“These courses are relevant to anyone who is passionate about caring for animals and looking for ways to make a real difference in the community,” said Shenefiel. The new microcredentials add to existing contemporary animal services and leadership education opportunities offered at SUU. 

For more information about courses curated in partnership with Best Friends Animal Society visit, call SUU Community & Workforce Development at (435) 865-8259, or email them at


About Best Friends Animal Society

Best Friends Animal Society is a leading animal welfare organization working to end the killing of dogs and cats in America’s shelters by 2025. Founded in 1984, Best Friends is a pioneer in the no-kill movement and has helped reduce the number of animals killed in shelters from an estimated 17 million per year to around 400,000 last year. Best Friends runs lifesaving programs across the country, as well as the nation’s largest no-kill animal sanctuary. Working collaboratively with a network of more than 4,700 animal welfare and shelter partners, and community members nationwide, Best Friends is working to Save Them All®. For more information, visit