Pre-conference workshops

The pre-conference workshops are an opportunity to spend a full day developing substantive knowledge and expertise in one of seven specific areas. These deep-dive learning experiences allow you to learn from several different experts in your chosen focus area while still attending sessions across a variety of topics during regular conference sessions.

The workshops cover seven key areas essential to saving dogs and cats and offer customized content for every type of attendee, including animal control officers, community cat coordinators, local advocates, behavior and medical specialists, small rescue group leaders and volunteers, and more.

All pre-conference workshops require a separate fee and registration. Please register for your workshop of choice below. Please note: Lunch is not included in any of the workshops.

Date: Wednesday, June 17, 2020
Time: 8:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Cost: $50.00
Registration is required.

Let’s Raise Some Money: Fundraising Expertise in Animal Welfare
Lifesaving programs for pets cost money. And it’s not enough to just raise money here and there as we go. This all-day workshop covers the fundamentals of thoughtful, proactive fundraising and will leave you with concrete plans and tools for raising money to save more pets. We’ll walk through how to create and sustain robust annual giving programs, talk about direct mail and digital fundraising, and end the day by setting some specific goals and directing you to key resources. You’ll also enjoy a panel discussion with experts in major gifts, foundation relationships and planned giving.

Small Groups, Big Impact: The Wild and Wonderful World of Small Animal Welfare Organizations
Kittens aren’t the only ones who get to be tiny but mighty. Rescue groups and other smaller animal welfare organizations are critical to creating and sustaining compassionate, no-kill communities. Lifesaving is a collective effort and we need everyone coming to the table with a collaborative and creative mindset. This all-day workshop is customized for little groups doing big things for pets in their communities. We’ll talk about the importance of accountability, professional standards and coalition-building. You’ll learn the ins and outs of working with municipal agencies and navigating the inevitable conflicts and challenges in our field. Plus, you’ll hear how to significantly reduce owner surrenders by increasing support services, and we’ll take a close look at the expert thinking and decision-making behind the leaders of successful small organizations.

Cats (Not the Musical): Everything You Need to Know to Save More Cats and Kittens
Our fabulous feline friends make up about two-thirds of the animals being killed in shelters. Thanks to innovative cat-friendly programs and protocols, it doesn’t have to be that way anymore. In this all-day workshop, we’ll look beyond the basics of community cat programs (CCPs) and kitten care to more strategic and nuanced approaches to lifesaving. We’ll talk about the power of CCP volunteers and the critical role that foster homes can play, examine the public health aspect of trap-neuter-vaccinate-return (TNVR), and dive into care for cats and kittens. Specific low-stress handling and socialization techniques for cats and kittens exhibiting fearful and aggressive behavior will be highlighted. You’ll also get an overview of both shelter-based and foster-based neonatal kitten programs.

Our First Responders: Expert Knowledge, Critical Skills and Professional Support for Animal Control Officers
Animal protection and control officers are the first responders in our field. But they are often the last group of people that we devote our energy and resources to supporting. This all-day workshop will cover a broad range of topics designed for officers and leaders in field services. We’ll cover critical skills related to animal handling and general safety practices while in the field, with an emphasis on public interaction and perceptions. You’ll learn about the essential components of field training programs that set officers up for success from the start. And we’ll spend some time talking through overlooked but important issues, such as compassion fatigue and the “soft skills” that can make or break success in this challenging but beautiful career.

By the People, for the Pets: Effectively Advocating for Pets and Their People
We can’t save pets without people. Our passion for animals may have led us to this work, but people are the key to saving more animals and achieving our goals. Lifesaving efforts must be inclusive and community-driven if we want to keep pets out of shelters, create compassionate communities nationwide and sustain positive, long-term change. This all-day workshop puts people at the center of the lifesaving equation and covers everything from engagement and retention of foster caregivers and volunteers to pursuit of municipal partnerships. We’ll discuss how to create a grassroots community movement to save more animals and take a deep dive into anti-discriminatory practices and data-driven decisions related to tenant advocacy efforts and pet-friendly housing. Underscoring everything will be discussions around thinking outside of the traditional animal welfare box and embracing opportunities to engage with and learn from people beyond our own field.

Modern Med: Communications and Protocols for a Progressive Shelter Medicine Program
Seamless communication and shared goals between shelter operations and shelter medicine are critical. As lifesaving efforts evolve and increase, shelter clinics and veterinary teams are expected to provide high standards of care despite limited resources, making every protocol, practice and penny count. This all-day workshop will give you everything you require to establish a successful shelter medicine program customized for your specific needs and available resources. We’ll explore heartworm disease management, feline leukemia virus (FeLV) protocols and medical considerations for trap-neuter-return (TNR) programs. You’ll also learn how to navigate negotiations between shelter-based medical staff and private-practice veterinary staff. And we’ll tackle how to recruit and hire people for your veterinary team as the need for expert medical staff increases. You’ll leave the workshop with information and protocols designed for your specific organizational needs.

Brilliant Behaviors: Cutting-Edge Programs and Practices to Save Dogs in Shelters
Dogs are individuals who deserve to be in homes of their own, not sitting in shelters. But so many of our behavior and care protocols have failed to reflect that. Contemporary programs and efforts to help dogs survive and thrive, regardless of the challenges they come in with, are now driving decision-making and dramatically increasing the number and nature of dogs we’re able to save. In this all-day workshop, you’ll hear from experts in dog behavior and care who have redefined the lifesaving game for our canine companions. We’ll examine play groups, enrichment and programs focused on large dogs. You’ll have an opportunity to learn about Behavior Adjustment Training (BAT) for reactive dogs and the Dogs Playing for Life’s (DPFL) Canine Center for advanced behavior modification. And we’ll talk about behavior assessment and discuss why it’s time to let go of outdated evaluation models. Finally, you’ll hear about statistics and strategies related to disabled and seriously injured dogs, and the incredible success that some groups are having in rehabilitating them.

Register today