Animal experts at Best Friends Conference

Pet experts, including Jackson Galaxy, Seth Casteel, Ken Foster, Pam Johnson-Bennett, Chad Norman and more, will share insights at animal conference.
By Denise LeBeau

This time around, the No More Homeless Pets Conference won’t just be giving folks the opportunity to hear acclaimed authors during their sessions; folks will also have the opportunity to meet them, buy their book and get it signed at the first-ever Authors’ Row – which will take place during the Welcome Reception on Thursday, October 25. The authors you’ll get to meet include Seth Casteel, Ken Foster, Jackson Galaxy, Pam Johnson-Bennett, Chad Norman, Sandy Rees and Cathy M. Rosenthal.

Cat behavior insights

Cats can be a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma (and that’s to the people who know and love them). Best Friends has invited two of the world’s most esteemed writers on the subject to share their insights with you. Author Jackson Galaxy, cat behaviorist and star of Animal Planet’s "My Cat from Hell," joins us along with one of the most influential pioneers in the field Pam Johnson-Bennett.

Jackson Galaxy
Jackson Galaxy

"First and foremost, I come from the animal welfare world," shares Jackson. "The fact that cats are euthanized at a disproportionate rate in shelters got me involved in understanding cat behavior and working on ways we can provide enrichment – both in the shelter and at home. No-kill is no longer a fringe message. As an educator and animal welfare worker, all our eyes are on what’s achievable."

Jackson is excited about joining and learning from the compassionate people at the conference, and he can’t wait to share his memoir.

"Last year was my first conference, and I was moved beyond belief," says Pam Johnson-Bennett. "I’ve been going to 30 years of [animal welfare] conferences, and the No More Homeless Pets Conference is so unique. The generosity of sharing ideas, the spirit of the event, has left me changed forever."

Her inspiration to understand cats better and do more for them comes from not wanting them to wind up on death row.

"My first two kittens were such a learning experience. I was shocked when I took them to the vet when they were displaying behavioral issues and his reaction was to put them down and get new cats. I knew there was something wrong with that mentality and set out to better understand my cats and turn their future around. I have been working to make the lives of cats better ever since."

Two of the finest authors on cat behavior were also maverick DIYers (Do It Yourself-ers).

Authors of books about animals to share perspective

Cathy M. Rosenthal, author, pet columnist and public relations expert for the animal welfare field, will share her new children’s book "The Lucky Tale of Two Dogs."

In animal welfare for the past 25 years, Cathy brings a lot of her early and ongoing journalism experience to animal welfare professionals at conferences around the country. This is her third Best Friends No More Homeless Pets Conference, and she says it continues to be one of her favorite conferences of the year.

"What I love about the conference is the shared goals and energy of everyone attending," says Cathy.

Sandy Rees with a horse
Sandy Rees

Prolific author and fundraising guru Sandy Rees will also be there sharing, signing and educating. This will be her first time at the conference. She’s a huge animal lover. With four adopted shelter cats and three rescue horses, she talks the talk and walks the walk.

Sandy’s really excited to be a speaker at the conference: "I can’t wait to share what I know with folks who are doing this amazing work of taking care of abused and abandoned animals. If I can help them do a better job of raising money, then we’ll save and help more critters, and that makes me very happy. I’m looking forward to hearing amazing success stories. I’m sure there will be some that make me tear up."

Pit bull terrier advocate

Ken Foster, the New Orleans pit bull terrier advocate and founder of the Sula Foundation, will be attending the conference for the first time. And he’s surprised and delighted that his new book, "I'm a Good Dog: Pit Bulls, America's Most Beautiful (and Misunderstood) Pet," will be released on the first day of the conference.

He shares why he’s also excited to share his knowledge with this year’s attendees: "In the past five years, the country’s attitudes toward pit bulls have changed, but we all still face the stigma that some people hold toward the breed and its advocates. In putting together this book, I wanted to really celebrate the dogs, entertain their owners, and also find new information that we all might use to educate people about the history of breed. I also raise the question of whether breed identification really matters."

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