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Michigan is  home  to state-of-the-art animal shelters and rescue groups, many of which are utilizing cutting-edge protocols that you'll want to learn about. Temperament testing, behavior assessment, conversational adoptions, best practices for rescue organizations, and MPFA Assistance are  topics being discussed  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.

Be sure to catch these sessions: 
  • How to Conduct Conversational Adoptions (Role Play Session) presented by Tanya Hilgendorf (President and CEO, Humane Society of Huron Valley) and Katie Timber (Executive Director, SPCA of Southwest Michigan) - Connecting pets and people through adoption is a big job. Shifting from application-based adoptions to engaging and supportive conversation often requires new skills. Training and practice helps build confidence in adoption staff and volunteers, so that organizations can have confidence in their ability to deliver a positive adoption experience. This session offers practical tips and exercises to help adoption team members develop core strengths and positive interactions with potential adopters.
  • How Does Your Rescue Measure Up? Best Practices for Home-based Rescue Organizations  presented by Courtney Protz-Sanders (Executive Director, Paws for Life Rescue)  - The relationship between shelters and home-based rescue organizations has come a long way over the last decade. Home-based rescue organizations are imperative in achieving no kill as they often provide the medical care and training for animals, which can't appropriately be addressed in the shelter, in order to ready them for a new home. As an unregulated business, it is vital that home-based rescue organizations voluntarily undertake best practices. However, we still hear of 10-page adoption applications, no return phone calls and corners being cut in standards of care and training. Continuing education and keeping up with new research and findings are necessary to incorporate best practices into these crucial groups. Take this opportunity to hear if your organization needs to kick it up a notch.
  • Developing Plans and Addressing Issues - MPFA Assistance presented by Deborah Schutt (Chairperson, Michigan Pet Fund Alliance) and Lisa Rabine (ABCDT, Instructor and Trainer, Michigan Pet Fund Alliance) - Only in the world of Disney do you wish upon a star and dreams come true. If your shelter needs improvement, START PLANNING. Developing plans is not just for a new building or building expansion, it can be for ANYTHING... from raising funds to attend training to expanding an enrichment program; from increasing medical treatments to launching a community support program. Half of this session will focus on helping you create a plan of action or strategy for your needed improvement. The second part will highlight two new programs MPFA offers to shelters: Medical/Functional Shelter Assessments with Maddie's Shelter Medicine graduate, and on-site training with ABCDT instructor - modules include: Animal Behavior and Training, Enrichment, Stress Reduction, Reading Animal Body Language, Safe and Humane Animal Handling, Behavior Assessment, Behavior Modification, and more. 

Tanya Hilgendorf
Tanya Hilgendorf
Tanya Hilgendorf  has been leading Humane Society of Huron Valley (HSHV)  for 13 years. With a BA in Political Science and a Masters in Social Work Administration and Public Policy and having served as Executive Director of Ozone House, her passion centers on protecting the vulnerable (human and non-human animals) and transformational leadership that helps struggling nonprofits achieve mission success. With an incredible team, HSHV has become a thriving, dynamic animal multi-service organization, with 100+ employees, 2500+ volunteers, and a 96% save rate. Tanya currently is the proud mom of several fabulous felines and a beautiful teenaged human.

Courtney Protz-Sanders and Bubba
Courtney Protz-Sanders  founded Paws for Life Rescue in 2007 and serves as Board President and executive director. She has 18 years of experience in animal welfare and, in addition to managing the rescue, also serves as an Advisory Board Member to Michigan Pet Fund Alliance, Board Trustee and spokesperson for Michigan's Political Action Committee for Animals and member of the National Disaster Animal Response Team.

Lisa Rabine
Lisa Rabine and Gracie
Lisa Rabine, ABCDT, is an instructor and trainer with Michigan Pet Fund Alliance.  Lisa has been volunteering or working in municipal and nonprofit animals shelters throughout the state of Michigan for over a dozen years. She is a Certified Canine Trainer through Animal Behavior College with a focus on canine behavior modification programs, animal enrichment, behavioral assessments in shelter environments, and community education and outreach. Lisa also serves as Vice President and Lead Program Facilitator for Teachers Pet: Dogs and Kids Learning Together, an intervention program that pairs troubled youth with hard-to-adopt shelter dogs for a multi-week workshop in positive, reward-based dog training and behavior modification. This program makes the dogs more adoptable and empowers at-risk youth to improve in the areas of empathy, patience, impulse control, perseverance and hope.

Deborah Schutt
Deborah Schutt and Cassie
Deborah Schutt  is president and one of the founders of the Michigan Pet Fund Alliance. She was an urban planner by profession. After 21 years working for the public sector, she established her own consulting firm which she ran for 20 years ago, working out of her home, which allowed her to volunteer as a foster parent for puppies. As she became more familiar and more involved with animal welfare, Deborah became acutely aware of the lack of planning, collaboration and use of systematic approaches, which were successfully used in other areas of her profession, to solve and address problems and issues in animal welfare. She became convinced that animal homelessness in Michigan could be solved, including saving the more than 100,000 animals annually euthanized in shelters, if a different approach was taken. Since the Michigan Pet Fund Alliance has been providing information on best practices and supporting advocacy, Michigan shelters have reduced the number of animals euthanized in shelters to 20,314 in 2016.

Katie Timber
Katie Timber and Kiki
Katie Timber dedicates her life to animals in the communities that the SPCA of Southwest Michigan serves. She began her career with the SPCA in 2006 and was promoted to her position of Executive Director in 2013. Katie works tirelessly to transform the SPCA of SWMI into one of the most impactful limited-admissions animal welfare organizations in the Great Lakes region. Under Katie's leadership, the SPCA grew and expanded into the community in numerous ways. She started the SPCA's spay and neuter clinic in 2013 that serves over 1200 animals per year. Katie also initiated Kalamazeuter, a free spay and neuter program that focuses on feral cat care. She started community programs with the YWCA for animals and women fleeing domestically violent situations, started a food bank with Kalamazoo Loaves and Fishes for pets who were without food and she also recently started working with Read and Write Kalamazoo to help at-risk youth. Katie is a no-kill advocate and believes that the community should work together to rescue and rehabilitate animals in need. She would like animal welfare to be addressed as a wellness issue and hopes to lead the region into becoming a No-Kill Kalamazoo some day. Katie was recently appointed to serve on the Kalamazoo County Animal Services & Enforcement Advisory Board and will retain the seat until 2020. She served on countless nonprofit boards and committees and is one of Southwest Michigan's most recognized citizens as a result of her tireless activism, outreach and indefatigable drive to forge a better Southwest Michigan. But her reach doesn't end there, she also does consulting for out-of-state low-income shelters, and is a nationally recognized leader in animal welfare who is sought to speak on the humane treatment of companion animals and community-based, collaborative approaches to pernicious, entrenched social issues. Katie lives in Kalamazoo with a poorly-behaved dog named Kitten, a difficult cat named Moonstone and her never poorly behaved or difficult daughter Meadow who is her inspiration and constant motivation (and the SPCA's most beloved ambassador).

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

Early registration ends August 7. Save by registering now!

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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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