Besides making new friends, reuniting with old friends and generally becoming inspired, one of the reasons I attended BlogPaws this year was education. My passion for dogs and my love of my dog Cleo, motivates me to learn ways to make a difference in their lives. I want to do more than just pet my dog or donate some money each year to various animal nonprofits or campaigns.
When Mike Arms, the president of the Helen Woodward Animal Center (HWAC) spoke as the keynote at the pet blogging conference BlogPaws in Denver last year, I was so grateful to hear someone speak directly about the "business of saving lives". He understands that to effectively make a difference in the lives of animals, you need more than good intentions and more than love for animals.
BlogPaws sponsor, P&G Pet Care, offered us conference attendees a special abbreviated Animal Center Education Services (ACES) workshop as a pre-conference event. Since I wanted to attend the popular three-day ACES workshop (now 4-days!) at the HWAC San Diego location, this mini-ACES was a great opportunity for me, and I'm so glad I signed up.
Right at the start, if you took nothing else away, anyone truly interested in making a difference could have walked out with these keys:
Direct mail tip: Use a "brown bag" that looks like a paper bag with photo of puppy looking at food dish . It's a "doggie bag for orphan dog only you can fill" This has been very effective with the VERY important business reply envelope. If you don't put a success story at the top and followed by a business reply envelope, you lose 40% of the people!
"NEVER shop in a store for ANYTHING if they sell dogs & cats. Don't support them in any way until they stop selling mill animals."
Reduced or free adoptions devalue pets as a "cheap, bargain basement throwaway pet."
The word "love" has lost all meaning. We want people to care about animals. Market them, enhance the quality of their life, don't just love them.
On the importance of educating children, Mike was clear "We're not going to change tomorrow if we don't start with the children today."
Besides the adorable stuffed animal Socks (who shared his view from my iPad before he went home with Brett from LIFE+DOG), Krissie Newman from the Ryan Newman Foundation shared her views on animal welfare education, finding families for orphaned pets and the opportunity to educate rural kids.
We can't thank Krissie Newman enough for our copy of the book Pit Road Pets: The Second Lap of NASCAR Stars and Their Pets.
Angela Morris from Proctor & Gamble Petcare Division. What resonated with me the most was Angela was her passion for Whippets and breed specific rescue, education and not everyone should get a puppy. More people should be comfortable saying that out loud. Below is more of what she shared that afternoon:
This afternoon was a great way to start the conference and only confirmed my suspicions about how informative the full ACES workshop would be. These workshops are free by the way. Mike knows that in order to truly make a difference, we have to give away the tools that will save lives.
Friday morning's keynote and my reactions to that is next. Friday had Hurricane Irene shutting down airports, but not before two of the men from Rescue Ink spoke. I've hinted at my thought that they were the other more colorful side of the canine scales of justice, with Mike Arms their counter-weight.