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  • PACC hosts apprentices from shelters throughout nation

    Apr 13, 2018 | Read More News
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    adult foster dogsRepresentatives from municipal shelters across the nation converged at Pima Animal Care Center, 4000 N. Silverbell Road, April 9 – 12 to participate in an apprenticeship that emphasizes building and running a comprehensive foster program for adult dogs. 

    A $60,000 grant from Maddie’s Fund® made it possible for PACC to host Maddie’s® Medium and Large Adult Dog Foster Apprenticeship program, which drew animal welfare organizations from Phoenix, Chicago, El Paso, Indianapolis, New York City, Philadelphia, Houston and Cincinnati to participate. Although attendees represented different private and public sectors with varying animal intake capacities and levels of fostering experience, they all shared a common goal: save more adult dogs through foster. 

    “Pima Animal Care Center is one of the model shelters across the country for making foster care the gold standard for animal sheltering,” said Lisa Ward, Co-Director of Education for Maddie’s Fund. 

    The workshop, led by Kelly Duer with Maddie’s® and co-facilitated by PACC Director Kristen Auerbach, taught participants several techniques and best practices for creating and expanding their adult dog foster programs. Participants who attended learned how to recruit new foster parents and automate processes to free up staff time. The group also received marketing ideas to get foster pets adopted quickly and increase their animal organizations’ reach into the community, and obtained ideas on how to reward foster parents for their volunteer time and incentivize them to continue serving. Lastly, Duer and Auerbach introduced apprentices to the concept of day-trips with pets and short-term fostering for newcomers.

    "Ultimately, we want to empower animal rescue organizations to make their foster programs successful. Something as simple as taking a dog out of the shelter overnight can work wonders for their behavior and, ultimately, their adoptability, too," Auerbach said. 

    About 15 representatives participated in the week-long apprenticeship. A majority of the organizations represented had existing foster programs they were looking to revamp and at least one was barely in the process of creating one.

    Foster apprenticeship“Being with peers who have the same goals is motivating,” said Ben Swan from Maricopa County Animal Care in Phoenix, Ariz. “This workshop helps us reinforce the ideas we have and provides us the framework we need to move forward.”

    Besides learning best foster practices from the workshop, apprentices also to learned from each other. 

    “Having such a small group allows us to focus on the weaknesses in our program,” said Kiersten Thoma from Harris County Animal Shelter in Houston, Texas. “It’s a really supportive environment and a place where you feel safe sharing your shortcomings.”

    While in this workshop, apprentices toured PACC’s facility, visited with shelter staff, and learned about some of PACC’s lifesaving programs, such as the foster program that pairs at-risk kittens with memory care center residents and the community cats program, which helps reduce the number of feral cats in the community. 

    “This has just been so inspiring,” said Tanna Riggs with Utah Valley Animal Rescue in Spanish Fork, Utah. “My goal is to have 25 fosters and with everything I learned, I feel like I can go back and do that.”

    Riggs plans to not only implement what she learned at the apprenticeship, but also implement a few lifesaving ideas from PACC, too. 

    “The memory care program for neonatal kittens can be game-changing for us,” she said. 

    Following the apprenticeship, participants will receive additional support and resources from the Maddie’s® Pet Forum, not to mention, the relationships formed with their peers and PACC staff during the week-long program. 

    On May 22-25, PACC will host a second Maddie’s® Medium and Large Adult Dog Foster Apprenticeship with funds from the original $60,000 grant. 

    Pima Animal Care Center is a proud recipient of funding from Maddie’s Fund®, helping to achieve a no-kill nation #ThanksToMaddie.