December 2017    
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Give Them Something Warm & Fuzzy

Give the special animal-lover in your life a gift that truly paws it forward - a gift certificate for the "I'm Animal Friendly" license plate.  

Sales of the "I'm Animal Friendly" license plate provide low-cost spay/neuter to thousands of cats, dogs, and rabbits across our state every year! 

Click on the link below to download a gift certificate and gift giving instructions:

SPREAD THE WORD -  Please share the gift certificate link with your social networks and encourage more people to give the purr-fect gift this holiday!

All About Dogs Meeting Recap

Due to circumstances beyond our control (snow last winter, schedules) we had two MAC meetings three weeks apart! And despite the short time in between meetings we still had lots of people at each meeting.

Our All About Dogs meeting was on October 29th and we learned about creative ways to provide foster care for dogs - and cats.  Our speaker, Kelly Duer, is the Foster Expansion Coordinator for a national study of foster care for medium and large dogs with long shelter stays.  She also manages the Maddie's Medium and Large Adult Dog Apprenticeships at Austin (TX) Animal Control.

Kelly provided lots of facts and figures from her research. Her main message was that foster care doesn't have to be the traditional way we think of foster care - bringing an animal to your home and keeping him/her until adoption.  Foster care can be something as simple as going to the shelter during your lunch hour and taking a dog for a walk.  Taking photos of the dog on the walk that can be posted on the shelter's website can be a great way to show the dog in a different light.  And the dog gets fresh air, some people stopping to ask about him/her, and maybe a home!  Kelly gave us lots of ideas for creative fostering.  Check the links out to see what pearls of wisdom she had to share.  

Kelly also provided a how-to model for having a successful fostering program with trainings and personnel to support  the foster caregivers to keep them invested and energized in the adoption efforts, including providing persuasive adoption stories highlighting the positive personalities of the dogs for social media postings.  Download Kelly's materials  from the MAC website.
Hot Topics Meeting Report

At the Hot Topics meeting on November 19th we talked about the hoarding of animals.  It's a tough topic but our speakers helped us to understand what hoarding is and how animals can factor into the equation.  It was stressed that we should not call people "hoarders" but instead call them "someone who hoards animals" as a way to take away the label and recognize that people are more than their diagnosis.
Gary Patronek, VMD, Phd and a hoarding specialist, started the day off with an overview.  He explained that the person who hoards animals is typically a loner, has little or no support, and animals are everything to them.  It could be that well-meaning intentions go south.  Hoarding can affect some of us in the field and people who engage in this behavior could say, "Don't worry about it.  I am a rescuer."  It's possible that up to one quarter of hoarding cases come from the shelter and rescue world.

Another point that is worth mentioning:  Length of stay is increasing for many shelter animals.   So an important question to ask ourselves is, "How long is too long to hold an animal?"  Much has been discussed in this field about "capacity for care" for animal populations in shelters.  There is a limit that every organization and individual has before it gets past the threshold of good intentions.  Then you get into hoarding behaviors. 

Eileen Dacey, MSW, LCSW is the program manager and Clinical Hoarding Specialist at the North Shore Center for Hoarding and Cluttering, a program of North Shore Elder Services.  Eileen provided an overview of the disorder  and stressed that people who hoard things - and animals - are suffering and deserve compassion.  Rushing in to clean out someone's house does nothing to stop hoarding behavior and shows no respect for the person's need for autonomy and compassion.  One way that we animal welfare professionals can best help someone suffering from this disorder is to work with local elder services, mental health resources and others to arrange for collaborative, supportive interventions that involve the individual from the very beginning. 

Lt. Alan Borgal is Director of the Animal Rescue League of Boston's Center for Animal Protection.  In his 42 years of working with animals and their humans he has come across many hoarding situations.  He shared stories about what he has encountered in extreme hoarding circumstances and his accounts reinforced the complexity of these sad situations.  Often, he encounters elderly and/or emotionally unstable, unhappy people who are angry at any intervention.  Sadly, too frequently the person threatens suicide.  The person may claim the hoarded animals are service animals while the conditions are unsanitary and hazardous for both the animals and the person involved.   And there have been calls when the person threatens law enforcement with weapons/knives and seizing the suffering animals can be very difficult if the person hides animals.  The need for animal control and law enforcement to coordinate with mental health services, with the health department, and gain warrants for emergency situations, all involve very coordinated responses to address the specific hoarding of animals situation.

There was a vigorous discussion about this topic and there were some rumblings about trying to continue the conversation with mental health professionals at a future date.  Download  the presentations  from the MAC website.

Meet MAC's New Board Members

Brian Kling is a U.S. Navy veteran and brings a background in Customer Service, Management, along with a technical degree from Wentworth and a lifelong love of dogs to the MAC Board of Directors. He has been an animal care volunteer with the Kingston Animal Shelter since 2010, spending two of those years as the Assistant Adoption Counselor, and he is currently the Board President at Yankee Golden Retriever Rescue. His love of dogs started as soon as he knew what one was, but he had to wait until his adult life to bring one into his home. That life-changing moment eventually led to his involvement with animal welfare where he has performed every role possible at the shelter and YGRR. He and his wife have been blessed with two sons and are currently owned by the love of his life Daisy, a Golden Retriever of undetermined age, two torn tendons, separation anxiety, bad allergies and epilepsy. She is the sweetest girl in the world.

Katie Kozikowski is currently the Animal Control Officer for the town of Arlington, Massachusetts. She has been working in the Animal Welfare field for the past 12 years when her career began at the MSPCA Springfield while just in high school. She obtained her Bachelors of Science in Animal Science from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, during which time she also studied criminal justice. While at UMASS Katie worked at a 24 hour emergency animal hospital to put help herself through her schooling; once she graduated she moved to the opposite side of the state to work as an Animal Care and Adoption Counselor for the MSPCA Nevins Farm where she soon became the Foster Coordinator and joined the Equine Rescue team. Because of her love for animals, and the criminal justice system, Katie graciously accepted the role of the Arlington Animal Control Officer in 2015 and has been there ever since. Katie currently volunteers with the MSPCA at Nevins Farm and jumps at the chance to assist with the ASPCA Response team as much as she can! In her free time Katie enjoys hiking the beautiful mountains of NH with her rescue dog Winnie, while also caring for her beloved feline, Jasmine.
Book Review: "Rescued"
Astonishing Lessons Rescue Dogs Teach Us About Life, Love & Ourselves
Review by Nancy Cullen

New York Times Best Selling author, Peter Zheutlin, who brought us "Rescue Road: One Man, Thirty Thousand Dogs and a Million Miles on the Last Hope Highway" in 2015, returns with another book about rescuing dogs, this one called "Rescued: What Second Chance Dogs Teach Us About Living with Purpose, Loving with Abandon, and Finding Joy in the Little Things."

Peter's first book focused on the extraordinary work of Greg Mahle and the "angels" who help him as he transports homeless southern
dogs to the northeast, while this new book offers a heartwarming look into the world of rescue dogs in their forever homes.

"Rescued" is a wonderful read and a fantastic holiday or birthday gift for the animal lovers in our lives. You can find Peter's book on Amazon and at local bookstores.
Richard A. Stein  
Distinguished Service Award

MAC is excited to announce that the Animal Control Officers Association of Massachusetts awarded its most prestigious award, the Richard A. Stein Distinguished Service Award, to MAC founder and president Anne Lindsay. Anne was recognized in appreciation of a career dedicated to the training, education and support of Animal Control Officers. Many years ago Anne had a dream to start a coalition of animal welfare professionals to foster sustainable, effective and widely used forums for dialogue and strategic collaboration that would result in more effective ways to help animals in our state. Thus MAC was formed in February of 2000. Anne's tireless devotion and compassion for animals, and those who serve them, has been a driving force in the MA animal welfare landscape.

AniMatch for Cats Continues to Make a Difference!

Little Josephine was found in a box, abandoned in front of a church by the side of the road in Auburn.  How frightening for this sweet girl!  Auburn Animal Control came to the rescue and asked the AniMatch for Cats team for help for this senior lady.  Poor Josephine showed signs of neglect and was, understandably, nervous and frightened.  She resisted physical contact and withdrew into a shell.  With an unknown history and her poor physical condition, Josephine seemed like a tough case.

But - our friends at "Here Today, Adopted Tomorrow" yet again stepped up and welcomed this little girl.  Concerns about her physical well-being were relieved when she was vetted - her bloodwork came back as perfect!   With "Here Today, Adopted Tomorrow's" expert care, Josephine's coat and condition improved and her personality blossomed.  She began accepting head scratches and full body pats, purring all the time, and she thrived - soliciting attention and winning the hearts of everyone. 

Within 2 1/2 weeks of arriving at "Here Today, Adopted To morrow", sweet Josephine made it onto the adoption floor and found a loving, forever home. Way to go, Josephine!   Thank you to "Here Today, Adopted Tomorrow" and to all of our Sending and Receiving Organizations.  These partnerships are helping to improve the lives and adoptability of cats throughout Massachusetts.

The AniMatch for Cats team sincerely thanks our "Here Today, Adopted Tomorrow" and Auburn Animal Control friends for the teamwork involved in giving Josephine the opportunity for a wonderful new life.

AniMatch for Cats is actively seeking new Sending Organizations and Receiving Organizations.  If your organization would like to become part of this life saving program, please contact us at  Visit the AniMatch page on the MAC website for more information about the program.

 Not a Member Yet? Time to Renew? Join MAC Today and Make a Difference for Animals

mac meeting small
If you're not a MAC member, please consider becoming one and help support the work we do. Individual memberships are just $10/year! Joining MAC is a great way to become more involved in animal welfare, meet others who are doing similar work, make friends and connections, and hear from experts in the field. For more info visit our membership page.