Are You Doing These 3 Things To Help Keep People & Pets Together?

It’s Thursday, so that means we’re sharing another brilliant idea from our Innovation Bank. These short, pre-recorded webinars feature successful, replicable programs from your colleagues in the field, and today it’s Kentucky Humane Society’s Pet Retention program in the spotlight. Shelby Schulz, MPA, Pet Resource Manager, shares a few tips and tricks that can help keep pets out of the shelter and in their homes.

“Tell Me A Little Bit More…”

It doesn’t take extra staff or resources to dig a little deeper to figure out why someone is calling to surrender their animal. “You can keep a pet in their home simply by having a conversation,” says Schulz, and shares the story of a pet owner who explained he couldn’t afford the $600 to have both of his cats neutered at his local veterinarian, and thought he had no choice but to surrender one of them. Schulz pointed him to their low-cost clinic–$80 per cat!—and the family could stay together.

Some tips for having nonjudgmental conversations:

  • Start the interaction with the attitude that people are doing the best they can for their pets
  • Work on active listening and give the client the opportunity to share their situation
  • Validate the client’s feelings

Create a Safety Net Resource List

No matter your budget, size or available resources, Schulz stresses that all you need is a little time to create a list of safety net services in the community. (And P.S., she finds that most people have no idea many of these resources are available.) This is a great project for a volunteer, and be sure to include such services as:

  • Pet food banks
  • Free/low-cost spay/neuter & vaccine clinics
  • Financial aid resources
  • Lost & found resources
  • Pet-friendly housing

Track Your Program

You’ll want a way to quantify your efforts, says Schulz. Tracking is also a good way to see how much time you’re spending in order to best assess impact.

How to track

  • Excel (“Easiest to use, but difficult if more than one person is maintaining”)
  • Google sheets (“All members of a team can access and edit,” says Schulz.)
  • Custom Software 

What to track

  • Number of contacts
  • Species
  • Whether the contact resulted in a surrender or retention
  • Reason for surrender

For more highlights of Kentucky Humane’s Pet Retention Program, register and watch the webinar Applying and Tracking Pet Retention Techniques.

Learn More

Blog: Street Medicine Teams to Help Pets of the Indigent
Blog: 3 Tips for Starting a Pet Food Pantry


The Association

The Association is the only international society of leaders actively leading and managing community animal shelters/animal control agencies.


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