Fall Conference For Animal Welfare Day 2: 5 Key Takeaways

“I stepped away from my desk/makeshift studio this morning for 2 minutes and came back to this,” laughs The Association’s Jim Tedford about the scene in the above photo. “And, she had turned off my computer!” Although Jim’s pup Riffle had other ideas for Day 2 of the Fall Virtual Conference for Animal Welfare, the 1,156 attendees dug deep into a day of learning and networking. Stay tuned for more in-depth looks at key sessions, but here are top 5 takeaways to whet your appetite.

The Time for Volunteers Is…Now!

In “Tech Savvy Pandemic Playbook For Volunteerism,” Sara Cruz-Mora of Arizona Humane Society suggests implementing Learning Management Systems to drive volunteerism, particularly in the midst of a pandemic. She clarifies: 

  • Moving scheduled volunteer orientations to virtual training modules can be advantageous, since these are accessible to more people.
  • Now, more than ever, encouraging volunteerism virtually via pre-recorded training videos, online conferencing, and social media engagement is increasingly important for volunteer retention.

Embrace The Suck

In “Breaking Happy: A Path to a Sustainable Career,” Josh Vaisman made everyone feel a million times better by stating, “Negative emotions are both NORMAL and NECESSARY.” He also asked attendees to repeat the mantra, “My struggle is real, normal, and valid.” 

Keeping Seniors & Their Pets Together=Best Thing Ever

In their joint session, “The PetSmart Charities & Meals on Wheels America Partnership,” Shanna Gauvin and Melisa Pratt shared the partnership’s objective––to support seniors and their pets during the pandemic. Why is this so vital? Nowadays, 1 in 4 seniors live alone and experience loneliness. Receiving home-delivered meals and the resources they need to take care of their companion animals is invaluable right now. 

Brad Shear Loves Animal Welfare Professionals and Wants You To Become a Member (if you’re not already)

In his Day 2 opening remarks, Brad Shear, CAWA, Executive Director of the Potter League for Animals and chairman of the board of The Association for Animal Welfare Advancement, had everyone sharing hearts and thumbs-up in the chat. “To those of you who are attending for the first time, we’re so glad you are here. This is where the future of animal welfare is getting built.” He also shouted out the membership directory as an underutilized but incredible resource. “If you ever feel alone, like no one else has been in the position you’re in, reach out. This is the most generous and giving group of people I have ever met.” Take his advice and become a member here.

Are You a Compassionate Bada$$?

As presenter Jessica Dolce, MS, CCFE, described in her session of the same name, “Compassionate badassery is having the courage to care, even when you can’t predict the outcome.” She also shared this graphic representing our pandemic brains:

Extra! Extra! Bonus Tip: Dolce started the session by reading this incredible poem that (hankie alert!) made some people cry.


What’s YOUR top takeaway from Day 2? Leave a comment and let us know!

Thank you to our roving reporters Zoe Bonnell, Kelly Cunningham, and Jordan Fues, who contributed to this blog


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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