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Are you looking for some new strategies for behavior-challenged or hard-to-place dogs (finding fosters, decisions to kill for behavior, etc.)?   

Is removing breed labels a topic you're ready to learn more about?

Is work-related stress an issue faced by members of your shelter or rescue? 

Two national speakers will address these questions (and more!) at Michigan Pet Fund Alliance's No Kill Conference,  Getting to the Goal , on  September 27-28 at the  Radisson Plaza Hotel at Kalamazoo Center .

Dr. Linda Harper
Dr. Linda Harper
Linda R. Harper, Ph.D. is a lifelong animal lover and advocate and has been a clinical psychologist in the Chicago area for over 30 years. As the founder of Blessed Bonds, a foster-based program that keeps people and pets together, she understands the physical, mental, and emotional stress that comes with this heart-driven work. Linda is a frequent speaker at animal welfare conferences and gives workshops throughout the country, including at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary. Linda leads a pet loss support group sponsored by the Chicago Veterinary Medical Association and is the author of four books including The Power of Joy in Giving to Animals. Linda lives in Palos Park, IL, with her husband Mario and a variety of furry friends. Her pet walker affectionately refers to her home as "the land of the misfits."

Dr. Harper will conduct this session on both Thursday and Friday:
  • The Care and Feeding of Staff and VolunteersWorking in animal rescue IS STRESSFUL. Shelter staff, AC officers and volunteers at shelters and rescue organizations are exposed on a regular basis to animal cruelty, life and death decisions, what seems like an endless stream of need for the homeless animals in their care, the uncertainty that the best decision was made for the adoption and rehoming of their voiceless clients - not to mention the daily interface of working with the two-legged in an emotional environment. In 2015 a study by the American Journal of Preventive Medicine revealed that animal rescue workers have a suicide rate of 5.3 in 1 million workers. This is the highest suicide rate among American workers; a rate shared only by firefighters and police officers. Stress, burnout, depression often referred to as Compassion Fatigue with its long-term consequences is real in every organization. Just like the airplane scenario, if you don't put your oxygen mask on first you can't effectively help those in your care. Learn what can be done to combat stress which will make your organization more effective at helping the animals. Every organization needs to be offering such a program for staff and volunteers.
Kristen Auerbach
Kristen Auerbach
Kristen Auerbach is the director of animal services for Pima Animal Care Center in Tucson, AZ which takes in 16,000 - 18,000 pets each year, saving roughly 90% of them. PACC is a national leader in innovative programs including the pet support call center which provides counseling for 8,000 residents monthly and the Maddie's Fund foster program, the largest dedicated foster program in the country. PACC also runs the Maddie's Fund foster apprenticeships for adult dogs, where students from around the United States come to learn about changing the game for big dogs in shelters.

Kristen was formerly the deputy chief animal services officer at the Austin Animal Center in Austin, TX. The Austin Animal Center is a national leader in no-kill animal sheltering, saving more than 97% of the 18,000 animals that came through its doors last year. Since 2011, Austin has been the largest no-kill city in America. She previously served as the assistant director at the Fairfax County Animal Shelter in Fairfax, VA, where she helped to overturn pit bull adoption restrictions, double adoptions and cut euthanasia in half, bringing Fairfax County to no-kill. During her tenure, she implemented dog play groups, a comprehensive in-shelter enrichment program for cats and dogs, and lifesaving foster programs.

Kristen presents and writes regularly on a variety of subjects, including breed labeling, reducing shelter intake, innovative foster care, social media and marketing and the future of animal sheltering. Her efforts have been featured in numerous national publications and websites, such as Animal Sheltering magazine, the Huffington Post, BarkPost, the Dodo and Buzzfeed, and on TV networks, including CNN, Fox and ABC.

Animal Farm Foundation  logo color
Kristen Auerbach's sessions, sponsored by Animal Farm Foundation, are: 
  • The Decision to Kill for Behavior - Policy and Protocol How do euthanasia decisions get made in your organization? Do you have a step-by-step process that makes sure every possible solution is explored before an animal is euthanized? PACC's ten-step, easy-to-follow protocols for medical and behavior euthanasia ensure that animals are only euthanized when there are no other options. Some of the steps to euthanizing an animal include a call to the previous owner, incident confirmation, and pleas to external partners. Attendees will receive copies of PACC's euthanasia forms and procedures. They're designed for municipal shelters but can be used in any organization and they will save more lives!
  • Breaking the Breed Label HabitA dog's breed, assumed or known, is not indicative of how that dog will behave. Adopters need information on a dog's personality and behavior, not on breed. It's time to move past outdated and inaccurate visual identification. It's time to view all dogs as individuals. A 2016 study proved that a breed label on a kennel card can negatively impact the length of stay and outcome for the dog. In addition, five additional studies proved beyond a doubt that breed labeling based on visual identification is not accurate. Armed with the research, shelters and rescue organizations can make an important change that will increase both the quantity and quality of adoptions for all dogs ... by removing breed labels for all dogs.
  • Recruiting Fosters for the Challenging Dog - Does your shelter struggle to achieve live outcomes for medium and large dogs who demonstrate behavioral challenges in the shelter? Do you ever think, "If we could just get them out, they might be okay?" If you answer 'yes' to either of these questions, this session is for you. You'll learn proven methods that will help you save 90% or more of dogs with behavioral problems like barrier reactivity and fear-based aggression. This presentation, based on a two-year study, will give you practical, easy-to-implement solutions to deal with some of your most challenging dogs, and in most cases, save their lives
The discounted hotel rate block at the Radisson Plaza hotel is filling fast. To get this rate ( $135 + 11% tax)  call (269) 343-3333  and book your room using " Getting to the Goal 2018" .

Full conference information including schedule, speakers, sessions, sponsors and accommodations can be found  here

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Understanding Dog Body Language  Video Goes Global! 

In January 2018,  Michigan Pet Fund Alliance launched a Dog Bite Awareness and Prevention campaign to reduce the number of bite-related injuries. It included 
the video  Understanding Dog Body Language to Prevent Dog Bites, produced by MPFA with voiceover by Peter Carey, star of the smash 
Dog Body Language video
hit play "Ernie" by Mitch Albom. 

Promoted on Facebook as a " MUST WATCH for parents, children, and dog owners to prevent dog bites", the video has reached over 184,000 people and has hit England, Scotland, Saskatchewan, Ontario, Nova Scotia, Alberta, New Zealand,  and  South  Africa. 

Comments from viewers include: 
  • Dog bites are VERY rarely the dog's fault. They ALWAYS give body language cues, even if they are too quick for you to see. If you ignore the body language cues too many times then someday they won't give as much, easy for you to see, warning.
  • This is such a great video, so important to learn to read a dog's body language. A dog will always give warnings before biting, it's up to you to be tuned in enough to pick up on them no matter how subtle. And remember, NEVER punish the growl.
  • Great video here. Dogs are excellent at showing us their feelings through body language. We just have to listen!
  • Yes! the signs are subtle but dogs never just bite out of nowhere.
  • I wish everyone would see this. You see this happen a lot and it is sad that some think it it cute or funny to see their beloved pet so uncomfortable or nervous. And then if something happens it's always the dog's fault. Take care of each other...
  • What the dog is saying to you matters...
Contact if you are interested in having a customized version of this video created with your organization's logo. Or help spread the word by distributing it as-is to schools, daycares, pediatricians, or other interested groups: .

Genesee County Animal Control Renovation

Speaking of cool videos, take a look at this one from Genesee County Animal Control, which is undergoing a remodel following an animal control millage passed in 2014 to renovate and expand the current shelter. 

If you're a Genesee County resident, watch and be proud! 
Genesee County Animal Control  Renovations  Additions

If you're from a com munity that is considering updates to an existing shelter, watch for ideas and mo tivation.

If you just like to see inspirational  videos, watch it here !

About Michigan Pet Fund Alliance 
The single mission of Michigan Pet Fund Alliance is to stop the killing of healthy and treatable homeless cats and dogs in Michigan shelters. 
MPFA is an all-volunteer organization collaborating with shelter and rescue organizations to achieve No Kill through training, technical  assistance,
 education and advocacy.
For more information: 
877-FUR-PALS  (877-387-7257)
Michigan Pet Fund Alliance is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization as defined by the IRS (EIN 20-0399162) and is a  Guidestar Exchange Gold Participant.

Guidestar Gold

 Contributions are tax deductible. 

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