Tip of the Week: “Tell Me a Little Bit More…”

We raided the vaults of our Innovation Bank for this week’s tip, courtesy of Kentucky Humane Society’s Shelby Schulz, MPA. As shared in her recorded webinar on pet retention, here’s a simple, no-cost, big-impact way to help keep pets out of the shelter and in their homes.

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. He thought he had no choice but to surrender one of them. Schulz then pointed him to their low-cost clinic–$80 per cat–and just like that, 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

What would you add to Shelby’s list? Leave a comment and share what’s working at your agency.

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

More Tips

Tip of the Week: Vax Tracking
Tip of the Week: United States of Heartworm
Tip of the Week: Go Big & Go Home


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


'Tip of the Week: “Tell Me a Little Bit More…”' has 1 comment

  1. March 31, 2022 @ 12:40 pm Kathi b Lachenauer

    Open mindedness and a willingness to listen go a long way in sensitive communication. No one likes to be judged esp when they feel they are doing the best that they can.
    Thank you for the very helpful articles. We need them.


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