The Shelter Consultation Mentorships will be led by Dr. Sara Pizano from Team Shelter USA and Cameron Moore, Dr. Julie Levy, and Dr. Cynda Crawford from Maddie’s Shelter Medicine Program at the University of Florida.
The Foundational Course
The Shelter Consultation Mentorship Program is conducted in two phases. Training begins with the Foundational Course, in which mentees complete an online self-study program, required reading, and the Fear Free Shelter Program.
The Advanced Course
Mentees admitted to the Advanced Course will participate side-by-side with shelter medicine faculty and expert consultants in a professional assessment of a client animal shelter. Mentees will develop an understanding and appreciation for the challenges shelter leaders face while working to meet the needs of animals and their families inside and outside the shelter.
Prior to visiting the shelter, mentees will learn to plan for an assessment of an animal shelter’s operations and to perform a holistic approach, including review of currently available programs in the community, state laws, local ordinances, municipal contracts, the organizational chart, website and social media activity, and chain of command. During the research phase, local decision-makers may be identified and in-person meetings scheduled ahead of time. This may include mayors, commissioners, municipal attorneys, county administrators, shelter managers, and boards of directors. Mentees will collect, analyze, and report on shelter animal data from a shelter management software program, and calculate epidemiological statistics and trends related to annual and seasonal intake, length of stay, capacity, and outcomes.
Mentees will then participate in an onsite visit to the shelter and collaborate in designing practical recommendations designed to optimize shelter operations, including recommendations on topics such as sanitation, environmental controls, nutrition, medical and surgical protocols, animal handling, transport, facility design, housing, preventive health care protocols, and infectious disease control.
Communication and leadership skills will be practiced by leading discussions with the consultation team on assigned assessment topics and by preparing written and in-person recommendations for optimizing shelter operations. Following the visit, mentees will participate in follow-up meetings with shelter managers to address challenges to implementation, track progress, and provide ongoing support for the shelter.
- All mentorship training starts with the Foundational Course
- Shelter Consultation Mentorship Course at Maddie’s® University
- Fear Free Shelters Program (30-45 minutes per module, 5.5 hours plus bonus modules as they are developed, free)
- The goal of this program is to improve the experiences of animals by educating shelter, rescue, and animal welfare employees and volunteers about their emotional needs. The program will empower you to apply key strategies and techniques designed to reduce the negative emotional states that are commonly experienced by shelter and rescue animals—including fear, anxiety, stress (FAS), and frustration—and increase their enrichment opportunities. This program is suitable for every individual involved in the care and oversight of shelter and rescue animals.
- Completion of the Fear Free Shelters program will earn 5 credits of RACE-approved continuing education.
- The Journey to Open Adoptions (25 min)
- This presentation, by Chrissy Sedgley, describes how culture change in a shelter can lead to more live outcomes.
- The Lifesaving Impact of Community Cat Diversion (10 min)
- A quick overview by Cameron Moore presents the benefits and common myths of return to field/community cat programs.
- Community-Centric Model of Animal Services (4 min)
- A short explanation of the evolving role of animal shelters, the emerging importance of safety net programs, and help keeping people and pets together.
- The Best Practice Playbook for Animal Shelters
- The Association of Shelter Veterinarians’ 2016 Veterinary Medical Care Guidelines for Spay-Neuter Programs (free download)
- The Association of Shelter Veterinarians Guidelines for Standards of Care in Animal Shelters (free download)
- Shelter Snapshot – Questions About Community Cat Programs (free download)
- Pathway Planning for Community Cats (free download)
- Research a Shelter
- Research a shelter by reviewing their website, Facebook page, and online news reports. You can set up Google alerts to be notified when news about the shelter occurs.
- Review local municipal code(s) and state statutes regarding the regulatory environment in which the shelter operates. Some shelters serve multiple jurisdictions that may have different requirements. Reflect on how the laws facilitate or hinder the shelter best practices. Finding the relevant laws can be a challenge, and not all laws are necessarily indexed in prominent directories.
- After completing the Foundational Course, advanced participants can apply to complete the Advanced Course and participate in a professional consultation at a client shelter.
Have a fundamental knowledge of the following key shelter assessment topics:
- Introduction to animal welfare assessments
- Key research before onsite assessment visit
- Community programs and the link to shelter success
- Community cat management programs
- Intake policies and managed admissions
- Population management
- Live outcome programs
- Onsite assessment overview
- Community messaging
- Recommendations and reports
- Follow-up post assessment
- The Fear Free Shelter Program
- Critically review state statutes and local ordinances and provide guidance to overcome lifesaving barriers, eliminate the waste of resources, and overcome barriers to life-saving.
- Understand the organizational infrastructure and chain of command and how/why it affects shelter policies.
- Identify key decision-makers early in the assessment process in order to maximize the impact of the onsite assessment.
- Educate elected officials and civic leaders regarding public and shelter policy using national and local data, trends, and research.
- Demonstrate effective communication with a variety of stakeholders, such as civic leaders, shelter leaders, staff, private organizations, animal welfare funders, media, and the public.
- Analyze key performance indicators to assess organizational performance, compare to industry norms, and benchmark to standards of excellence.
- Prioritize opportunities for the greatest impact across shelter operations, including management of admissions, populations, health, welfare, housing, length of stay, and best outcomes for each animal.
- Create an action step checklist and trend analysis to help the organization implement systems change and monitor progress.
- Link stakeholders to others with similar struggles who have overcome the same obstacles.
- Identify pertinent resources, reading material, webinars, etc. for shelter leadership.
- Monitor implementation of recommendations and trouble-shoot barriers to success.
- What is included in the sponsored program? All training is provided at no cost.
- What is not included in the sponsored program? Participants are responsible for their own travel arrangements and expenses. Information about where the consultation team is staying and travel times will be provided to the mentees several months in advance. It is often possible to share vehicles for local travel and hotel rooms with other participants if desired.
- Who should take the Foundational Course? Anyone interested in learning more about how to assess operations in their own shelter or in other shelters is welcome to enroll in the course.
- Who should apply to the Advanced Course? The Advanced Course is available by application to working professionals on a space-available basis. Most mentees have been shelter medicine interns, residents, veterinarians, veterinary students, shelter leaders and managers, representatives from national organizations, and others who are working toward leadership positions in animal welfare.
- When and where are the shelter consultations for the Advanced Course held? The schedule and location of each consultation varies according to the needs and location of the shelters. Our shelter consultations have spanned from Hawaii to Puerto Rico. Mentees accepted to participate in the Advanced Course will be notified several months in advance when consultations are available to join.
- Who leads the Advanced Course? Sara Pizano and Cameron Moore are the primary leaders of the Shelter Consultation Mentorships. Dr. Julie Levy, Dr. Cynda Crawford, and others may participate depending on the key topics of interest.
- What is the Fear Free Shelter Program? The Fear Free Shelter Program is an online self-study course with a goal to improve the experiences of animals by educating shelter, rescue, and animal welfare employees and volunteers about the animals’ emotional needs. The program will empower you to apply key strategies and techniques designed to reduce the negative emotional states that are commonly experienced by shelter and rescue animals—including fear, anxiety, stress (FAS), and frustration—and increase their enrichment opportunities. This program is suitable for every individual involved in the care and oversight of shelter and rescue animals. Completion of the Fear Free Shelters program will earn 5 credits of RACE-approved continuing education.
- How much time should I plan for the Foundational self-study course? The two modules in the online self-study course can be completed in 2.5 hours. The online Fear Free Shelter Program can be completed in approximately 10 hours. In addition, there are approximately 200 pages of assigned reading to complete. It is possible to complete all of the course requirements in about 15 hours. This course is 100 percent self-paced, and the work can be done at any time, from any device. You do not have to be in class at specific times.
- How much time should I plan for the Advanced Course? The Advanced Course requires several hours of research and conference calls in the weeks prior to the shelter visit. The shelter visit itself is usually five days long with additional travel time. Several hours of follow-up conference calls and report review are scheduled in the weeks following the consultation visit. Some mentees return to the shelter to assist with implementation of the report recommendations.
- Are CEUs available? In jurisdictions that recognize RACE approval, the online self-study course has been approved for 2.5 hours of continuing education credit, and the Fear Free Shelter Program has been approved for 5 hours. This class has been pre-approved for 2.5 Certified Animal Welfare Administrator continuing education credits by The Association for Animal Welfare Advancement. Veterinarians attending the advanced course are eligible for 6 contact hours for each day of onsite consultation for Veterinary Continuing Education Credit through the University of Florida. Veterinarians participating from other states should contact their licensing board for guidance.
A collaboration of UC Davis Koret Shelter Medicine Program, Maddie’s® Shelter Medicine Program at UF, Open Door Veterinary Collective, and Team Shelter USA.