An animal welfare professional’s typical day includes unparalleled joy and heart-wrenching despair, often in equal measure. The burnout is real but it’s the hard-won progress that sustains us.
The Best Friends Podcast brings you stories from the front lines of lifesaving. You’ll hear from leading experts on topics that impact all of us. These are stories that matter to shelters, rescue groups, and the animal welfare organizations that enable their service to a community and its animals. These are stories for all of us.
Capacity Crisis Marketing
Animal shelters across the country have been in a capacity crisis for the past two years due to rising intakes and adoptions that are simply not keeping pace with the number of animals coming in.
At the 2023 Best Friends National Conference, speakers Tori Fugate and Misty Valenta told the audience during their session that by reframing the perspective to “never let a good crisis go to waste,” they allowed themselves the opportunity to try new and creative marketing that they never thought possible - and they say you can do it too.
This week, we’re sharing a session from this year’s conference titled “Capacity Crisis Marketing.” You’ll hear how Tori at KC Pet Project and Misty at the Williamson County Regional Animal Shelter publicized their shelter capacity to their communities while still promoting their pets, programs, and services. You’ll hear unique ways to use different mediums to effectively communicate the current capacity of your shelter and engage your community to get involved. Through effective messaging on social media, email, text programs, and more, you’ll continue to see support from your community, obtain media coverage, and ultimately save lives.
To watch the video or to check out the slides for this presentation, visit the website for The Best Friends Podcast: https://network.bestfriends.org/proven-strategies/best-friends-podcast/best-friends-podcast-ep-149
Getting caught up with Marc Peralta
After a hiatus, we’re excited for the return of the Best Friends Podcast!
To catch up on what’s been happening around the country since our last episode, we contacted the Chief Program Officer for Best Friends, Marc Peralta. We discussed what’s happening regarding intake and outcomes in animal shelters and dug into the details around some less-than-helpful news articles that came out over the last few weeks.
Marc also shares how, when times are tough, he leans on his experiences from the past 17 years in animal welfare.
To access resources from this episode, check out the website: https://network.bestfriends.org/proven-strategies/best-friends-podcast/best-friends-podcast-ep-148
Shelter Pet Data Alliance
The animal welfare industry’s approach to data has come a long way in the last few years. As a result, we understand more than ever the importance of tracking our lifesaving efforts and using that data to ensure we have the right resources in the right places to save the most lives. However, the processes and tools available to help collect and analyze data have been due for an upgrade.
This week we focus on a newly launched platform that aims to help you take the way you use data to the next level. The Best Friends data science team designed the features of Shelter Pet Data Alliance. It includes automatically populated dashboards that quickly show you what you need to know and help you understand what you need to do to improve and how to do it.
The Chief Mission Officer for Best Friends, Holly Sizemore, joins us this week to discuss this exciting new platform.
Shelter Pet Data Alliance: shelterpetdata.orgBest Friends Pet Lifesaving Dashboard: bestfriends.org/no-kill-2025/animal-shelter-statisticsBF Podcast episode 147: network.bestfriends.org/proven-strategies/best-friends-podcast/best-friends-podcast-ep-147
Time for a language checkup!
Animal welfare is an ever-evolving field, and as our understanding grows, it stands to reason that the way we talk about our work should also change.
When you realize the impact words can have, this carries more importance. For example, if we describe adoption returns as failures and publicly call adopters out for doing so, how likely is it that other adopters will return to us if they have issues?
This week we sat down with two Best Friends staff members to get their take on words and terms we use in our work; the senior director of lifesaving programs for the east coast region, Makena Yarbrough, and the manager for the east coast region, John Graves.
For resources related to this episode, check out our website: https://network.bestfriends.org/proven-strategies/best-friends-podcast/best-friends-podcast-ep-146
Preparing for emergencies
We know that planning for the unknown can be a challenge. That’s why we’re excited to share one of our newest resources, our Emergency Preparedness Toolkit.
Geared towards individuals and organizations that focus on helping people and pets, such as animal shelters, rescues, boarding facilities, and veterinary clinics, the toolkit has everything you need to create a comprehensive emergency plan.
The effects of a changing climate are impacting larger parts of the country more often. The toolkit’s information, plan templates, assessments, task descriptions, and checklists will help you stay safe no matter what heads your way.
Best Friends Emergency Preparedness Toolkit: https://network.bestfriends.org/education/operations/additional-education/emergency-preparedness-toolkitRegister now for the Best Friends national conference: https://bestfriends.org/conference. Use the discount code "PODCAST" to save $10 (Best Friends network partners receive a greater discount using the code delivered via email. Discount codes can not be stacked)
The 2nd edition of the Guidelines for Standards of Care in Animal Shelters released
Since the Association of Shelter Veterinarians published it in 2010, the “Guidelines for Standards of Care in Animal Shelters” has been an invaluable resource to shelters, rescues, and any organization that provides temporary care for animals nationwide.
Ten years after its initial release, 19 shelter veterinarians formed a task force to update the guidelines. Their goal was to reflect the current reality in shelters and incorporate the latest science, expert consensus, and programmatic knowledge. The result is a comprehensive set of guidelines everyone can use to assess and improve their operations.
This week we speak with two shelter veterinarians about the updated guidelines and how they can help you in your work; Dr. Lena DeTar, who served on the task force as an editor, and the medical director for Best Friends, Dr. Erin Katribe.
For more resources related to this episode, check out the website: https://network.bestfriends.org/proven-strategies/best-friends-podcast/best-friends-podcast-ep-144
Read the companion program spotlight on the Best Friends Network website: https://network.bestfriends.org/proven-strategies/program-spotlights/asv-releases-updated-guidelines-standards-care-animal-shelters
The inaugural Best Friends National Action Week for Animals is coming soon! Visit this link to learn more and sign up to take part: https://bestfriends.org/advocacy/national-action-week
The Daily vibes but about animals and people
This is a solid listen. Jon is a wonderful and engaged interviewer! This will be a weekly listen for me.
No kill shelters
I would prefer to have no kill shelters.
My tortie of 10 years passed two weeks ago from cancer.
We rescued her from a shelter and I didn’t know at the time that she was scheduled to be put down in the next week because she had almost been there for the designated amount of weeks allowed before they had to put them down.
The lady even said that she was very used to people and was very kind. She wasn’t wrong. Which brings me back to why I don’t like kill shelters.
Kim was a perfect cat and the fact that she was in the center that long and no one else considered taking her isn’t fair in my eyes.
Many people are probably missing out on the opportunity to be a guardian for amazing cats like Kim.
I guess it’s like my mom says,
“She was meant for me. That’s why she was there for all that time.”
I want others to be able to find the perfect one for them and give them all a fighting chance to do so.
Which is why I am going to adopt another cat in the next few weeks. I just still need to grieve a bit more.
Great podcast for animal lovers
These people do amazing work and everyone should support them!