Issue 29 | February 2024 — Shelter

The Final Gift: Ensuring a Peaceful Behavioural Euthanasia

As a shelter behaviour consultant, I’ve become intimately familiar with the difficult task of euthanizing animals that are unsafe to live with humans or that suffer from poor quality of life due to extreme behaviour. These decisions are never taken lightly, whether...

By Blaze Fulbrook

Creating a College-Based Shelter Cats Training Program

Every year, approximately 3.4 million cats enter animal shelters nationwide. Although about 170,000 of these cats will be safely returned to their owners and 1.3 million will be adopted, many will spend months waiting for their forever family, and more than 1.4...

By Shlomit Flaisher-Grinberg, PhD

A Multidisciplinary and Trauma-Informed Approach to Community-Based Support Programs

In 2023, Toronto Humane Society launched a pop-up pet support program designed specifically to provide wellness, behavior and social services to underserved communities. While community wellness is not new to the organization, this program was designed to offer...

By Lauralee Dorst, RVT, Dillon Dodson, RSW, MSW, Beverley McKee, CDBC, CPDT-KA

Issue 28 | February 2024 — Shelter

Enrichment Involving Human Interaction Saves Lives

Summary: The transition into an animal shelter is a stressful event for an animal, regardless of their previous life circumstances. Stress is linked to many difficulties, including failing to pass a shelter’s temperament test and potentially being euthanized....

By Regina Willen, MS, CDBC, ACAAB

Simple Solutions for Common Behavior Issues in Shelters

Since 1990 I have been volunteering in or working with a variety of shelters and rescue groups, until 2013 when I accepted a full-time position at Best Friends Animal Society in Kanab, Utah. While there, one of my fellow behavior consultants, Allie Bender, and I...

By Emily Strong, CPBC, CPBT-KA, CDBC, SBA

Testing the Temperament of Dogs Housed in Animal Shelters

Summary: An overview of available research on some of the temperament tests currently used as first-line intake evaluations for dogs in a shelter, why these tests are used at all, and some possible alternatives. Animal shelters and rescues have two essential...

By John Reilly, MS, CBCC-KA

One Dog at a Time: Enriching the Emotional Lives of Shelter Dogs

Summary: A description of the SPCA Singapore’s Dog Mentorship Program, which identified and trained volunteers to a high level of skill in enrichment, behavior management, and modification so that they could provide intensive support to dogs suffering from...

By Dr. Nee Kang, PhD, CDBC, Elisa Ang, and Jaipal Singh Gill

Issue 27 | October 2023 — Shelter

Multisensory Enrichment for Shelter Dogs

Summary: Originally published in Issue 3 of The IAABC Foundation Journal, this article focuses on practical, creative, low-cost ways to provide multi-sensory enrichment to sheltered dogs.  I have worked in the animal industry for over 18 years. I currently work at the...

By Mik Moeller

Issue 26 | June 2023 — Shelter

Revitalizing a Shelter Volunteer Program in the Wake of the Pandemic

Summary: Animal shelters were significantly impacted by the covid-19 pandemic in 2020. Among other issues, lockdowns meant that animal shelters could no longer rely on their volunteers in the same way. As communities begin to reopen and shelters start to recover, they...

By John Reilly, MS, CBCC-KA

Adoption Events: Skills, Ethics, and Best Practices

Summary: Getting cats and dogs through the shelter and onto the next stage of their lives is understandably the main thing shelter staff and volunteers are focused on, and adoption events are one way to make this happen. However, adoption events are complex and can be...

By Tiro Miller, PhD

Fearful Dogs in Shelters Can Have A Brighter Future With Evidence-based Interventions

Summary: An interview with two of the authors of the ASPCA’s latest research paper, “Behavioral rehabilitation of extremely fearful dogs: Report on the efficacy of a treatment protocol.” With a combination of sufficient practical resources and a...

By Kristen Collins, MS, ACAAB, Emily Patterson-Kane, PhD, and the IAABC Foundation Editing Team

Issue 23 | February 2023 — Shelter

Issue 22 | February 2022 — Shelter

Claire: A Case Story

Summary: A case study of a shelter dog that came from a serious hoarding situation in Southern California. This dog initially showed significant avoidance and fear-based behaviors around unknown people. However, she was highly affiliative with other dogs and whilst...

By Paige Kim BCC-KA, CSB-C

An Interview with Dr. Lauren Finka

Dr. Lauren Finka is a postdoctoral researcher in animal welfare at the University of Nottingham Trent in the U.K. Her specialization is in feline behavior, particularly in sheltered cats. Dr. Finka recently co-authored a research paper entitled “Providing Humans With...

By IAABC Editing Team

Issue 21 | November 2021 — Shelter

The Dead Dogs on My Phone

Summary: Grief is a natural, unavoidable part of life with dogs. Especially for those of us who work in shelter and rescue. This article is a meditation on grief and the importance of witnessing and remembering the shelter dogs that come and go in the course of our...

By Paige Kim

Issue 20 | September 2021 — Shelter

Horse & Halo: Caring for Horses at the End of Their Owners’ Lives

Summary: Horse & Halo is a facility that boards horses on behalf of individuals who currently suffer or have died from a terminal illness. This article looks at the history of this unique sanctuary and the stories of some of the horses and their people that have...

By Mandie Stuhan

Issue 19 | May 2021 — Shelter

Shelter Behavior and Medical Teams Find Success Through Synergy

Summary: Shelters, especially larger ones, are made up of different departments that seldom interact with each other. Shelter behavior and veterinary medical teams may have competing priorities due to limitations on their time and resources. However, if shelter...

By Melissa Taylor, Lori Seelhoff, DVM, Jennifer Pallanich, CPDT-KA

Selecting Shelter Dogs for Education Programs

When the idea of pairing shelter dogs and youth is discussed, dog training professionals generally have one of two reactions: That’s fantastic! – or – That’s risky! For decades, Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Los Angeles (spcaLA) has brought amazing...

By Paula Ferrel, CPDT-KA

Dangerous Puppies: A Heartbreaking Choice

Summary: A deeply personal case history of a litter of puppies from a stressed, abandoned Catahoula. Signs of significant, unusual aggression were present from very soon after birth in all the puppies, despite their mother being social and affiliative. After several...

By Chelsea Edwards

Issue 18 | February 2021 — Shelter

Using Research-based Protocols with Shelter Dogs

Summary: Shelter personnel and consultants are always looking for new tools that to introduce dogs into a new home, help resolve inter-dog aggressive behavior within a household, or form shelter playgroups. This article describes how a single evidence-based protocol...

By Kimm Hunt

Socially Conscious Sheltering: Examples in Practice

Summary: Shelters are a part of the communities they serve, and should be aware of the needs and challenges people and animals in those communities face. Socially Conscious Sheltering (SCS) is a framework for helping shelters change the way they operate and make...

By Dot Baisly MS, CPDT-KA, and Mara Velez MA, CDPT-KA

Building Confidence in Foster Dogs Through Passive Observation

How often do we use observation as a tool? We tend to monitor, assess, and weigh whether what we observe is what we would like to see. We question ourselves and judge the responses we observe to assess whether we are getting closer to our goal or nearing the outcome...

By Irene Perrett

Shelter Dogs Go to College

Summary: What better way to teach college students about canine learning and behavior than inviting sheltered dogs into the classroom? This article introduces a program at Saint Francis University that matches dogs from a local shelter with psychology undergraduates...

By Shlomit Flaisher-Grinberg¹, Megan M. Stanton²

Issue 17 | November 2020 — Shelter

Socially Conscious Sheltering: Moving From Aspiration to Operation

In the first installment of this article series on socially conscious sheltering (SCS) for the IAABC Foundation Journal, we explored the basics of this relatively recent concept. In this article, we will explore how to operationalize the core concepts that we...

By Dot Baisly MS, CPDT-KA, and Mara Velez MA, CDPT-KA

Issue 16 | July 2020 — Shelter

Socially Conscious Sheltering

The concept of socially conscious sheltering (SCS) as an approach to sheltering was developed in Colorado by shelter leaders Apryl Steele, DVM, Jan McHugh-Smith, Lisa Pederson, and Judy Calhoun. Three of these shelter leaders co-authored an article, “Crisis in Animal...

By Dot Baisly and Mara Velez

Coping with Quarantine at a Shelter

This is a reflection on a distemper outbreak/quarantine from a behavior perspective, as opposed to an operations, medical, or management review. Our shelter Maricopa County Animal Care and Control is located in Phoenix, Arizona. We have two shelter locations known as...

By Kim Schulze, MS

Kids and Shelter Dogs Teach Each Other

As a professional working in animal behavior and training, I have always enjoyed the partnership of human and non-human animal, and what a better way to embrace that than to start teaching young people to respect and love animals. That was my inspiration to create a...

By Maria Eguren

Issue 15 | April 2020 — Shelter

Training Cats to Become Therapy Cats

“I’m so happy to see my favorite cat!” the older gentleman said as Rainy and I entered his room at the senior retirement community. He held out his shaking hand to pet Rainy and said that he had been feeling down and in need of company. After he had stroked Rainy a...

By Allison Hunter-Frederick

One Dog at a Time: Enriching the Emotional Lives of Shelter Dogs

The animal sheltering world is an emotional one for all stakeholders: the animals who live with the stress of an imperfect and unpredictable environment; a shelter organization that is constantly addressing challenges with funding, staffing, and rehoming animals;...

By Dr. Nee Kang, PhD, CDBC, Elisa Ang, and Jaipal Singh Gill

Issue 14 | January 2020 — Shelter

Communication and Documentation in an Animal Shelter

It is the responsibility of the Behavior and Training Department at our animal shelter, the Humane Society of Pinellas (HSP), to create, communicate, and implement behavior modification and training plans for the animals in our shelter’s care. Staff and volunteers are...

By Heather Gibbs, SBA

Grey Zone Dogs

“Is this a no-kill shelter?” That’s one of the most common questions I was asked when I worked at the Denver Dumb Friends League, a huge shelter that provides services to over 20,000 homeless animals per year. The answer depends on how you define no-kill: Our live...

By Kayla Fratt, CDBC

Working with Rescues as an Animal Behavior Consultant

Building a relationship with your local rescue can not only be a way of improving the welfare and rehomeability of many dogs but can also help with expanding your client base and business. Time is a hugely important and often stretched resource and therefore the idea...

By Tom Candy, CDBC

Issue 13 | October 2019 — Shelter

Selecting Shelter Dogs for Conservation Detection Work

The San Joaquin kit fox is a small endangered species of fox that lives in Mexico and the southwestern United States. Its scat is small — these foxes are only about 5 pounds. The almond-sized scat pellets are usually the same color as the desert ground. Biologists...

By Kayla Fratt, CDBC

Issue 12 | July 2019 — Shelter

Issue 11 | April 2019 — Shelter

Euthanasia in Shelters: Data and Decisionmaking

Euthanasia in shelters is a frequently discussed topic among staff, volunteers, and increasingly on social media by people with little experience of the realities of the situation being discussed. Looking at these often highly emotional discussions, it would seem that...

By Amy Schindler

Boo! Training a Bear: 2018

Background Readers were introduced to Boo, a male grizzly bear (Ursus arctos), in the Winter 2018 issue of the IAABC Foundation Journal. Born in 2002,  Boo weighs around 550-600 pounds in the spring, and up to 750-850 pounds in the winter before hibernation. We came...

By Cindy Peacock CPDT-KA, KPA-CTP

The Shelter Playgroup Alliance

How the Shelter Playgroup Alliance (SPA) Started Toward the end of 2017, I was putting the final touches on a canine enrichment program for the open-admission, high-volume shelter at which I am a behavior and training consultant. I started to develop an inter-dog...

By Mara Velez, MA, CPDT-KA

Issue 10 | February 2019 — Shelter

Special Challenges of Senior Cats in Shelters

How do senior cats end up in shelters? For over a decade, I have volunteered in the cat areas at Dallas Animal Services (DAS), a municipal shelter which has the fifth highest intake volume of animals in the United States. I routinely see senior cats on their rescue...

By Molly DeVoss, CFTBS

Issue 9 | October 2018 — Shelter

Weekend Getaways: A Lifesaving Short-Term Foster Care Program

Shelter dogs can vacation too! Participants in our animal shelter’s Weekend Getaway program are provided with a much-needed break from the kennel, fresh scenery, and new friends to meet — both furry and non-furry. Weekend Getaways have increased foster volunteer...

By Heather Gibbs, CPDT-KA, SBA

Issue 8 | July 2018 — Shelter

Building a Solid Volunteer Base

So many people working at nonprofits are caught in the cycle of focusing on the urgent task in front of them and just trying to get through the day. They know a well-trained and motivated team of volunteers could really help them accomplish more without breaking the...

By Kimberly Elman, Manager, National Outreach Volunteer Programs, Best Friends Animal Society®

Pet Retention Programs in Play: A Case Study

In July 2017, the Pet Retention Program at Contra Costa Animal Services (CCAS) got a request for the return of a young tabby cat adopted from the shelter a few months prior. When Stefani Buzzard, the pet retention coordinator at the time, responded with a request for...

By Dilara Göksel Parry, CCBC

Feral Kittens

It’s springtime, which means kitten season is upon us. Shelters around the country will soon be inundated with box after box of kittens that need to be bottle fed or “tamed.” These kittens will come from under a person’s porch, a live trap set for skunks, and inside...

By Kayla Fratt

Issue 7 | April 2018 — Shelter

Rural Dogs

Often times in sprawling country areas, such as the one I’m writing from now, the overall majority of dogs (and cats) brought into shelters and rescues are what I typically describe as “rural.” Not exactly social and not exactly feral, the...

By Mallory Robinson

Expressive Writing for Resilience in Animal Care Professionals

Helping professionals of all kinds are exposed to a variety of stressors related to both their workplace systems and the ongoing exposure to direct and indirect trauma. This complex combination of stressors requires helping professionals to explore the steps they can...

By Jessica Dolce

Issue 6 | February 2018 — Shelter

Successfully Handling Transitions in Shelters

Animal shelters and rescues often struggle with resources. The ability to adapt to change is just as important as community and staff support. In April of 2007, the Jacksonville Humane Society suffered a great loss after a massive fire, which you can learn more about...

By Amy Schindler, CPDT-KA, SBA

Issue 5 | October 2017 — Shelter

Playgroups the LIMA Way

Playgroups are undoubtedly a beneficial practice in shelters and rescue groups, and over the past few years they have increased in popularity. As with most tools, though, playgroups can be implemented with varying degrees of skill, or misapplied altogether. While my...

By Emily Strong, CPBC, CPBT-KA

Housing Cats in Shelters

Appropriate housing is essential for animal wellbeing in shelters. Without clean, comfortable, spacious housing, no amount of enrichment will be sufficient to maintain low stress levels. An animal may receive enriching interaction with staff, trainers, or volunteers...

By Jessica Hekman, DVM, MS

Issue 4 | July 2017 — Shelter

Simple Solutions for Common Behavior Issues in Shelters

Since 1990 I have been volunteering in or working with a variety of shelters and rescue groups, until 2013 when I accepted a full-time position at Best Friends Animal Society in Kanab, Utah. While there, one of my fellow behavior consultants, Allie Bender, and I...

By Emily Strong, CPBC

K9 Nose Work® in Shelters

The winter months are cold and damp in Kansas. During this time, a lot of our dogs do not get out for enough exercise. At the Lawrence Humane Society, we do not have indoor space for exercising our dogs. We are situated on 4 acres, and most of our property is divided...

By Amy Ogleby

Enrichment Involving Human Interaction Saves Lives

As I walked through the intake room of a large county animal shelter in Dayton, Ohio, evaluating dogs to enroll in the Behavior Modification and Enrichment Program (BMP), I stopped in front of a kennel and looked down at a young pit bull–type puppy, with a turned-up...

By Regina Willen

Issue 3 | April 2017 — Shelter

Spotlight on Research: Rabbits in Shelters

According to the House Rabbit Society, rabbits are the third most commonly surrendered pets in the United States. Rabbits have also been steadily gaining in popularity as indoor pets in many parts of the world, with an estimated one million pet rabbits in the United...

By Clare Ellis, interviewed by the IAABC Foundation Editing Team

Species-Appropriate Enrichment for Ferrets

When I first started volunteering with a ferret shelter, I had owned ferrets for over 13 years, but I still knew very little about them. I understood my own ferrets, but the species and its behaviours were something of a mystery. What I didn’t know at the time was...

By Shannan Skitch

Multisensory Enrichment for Shelter Dogs

I have worked in the animal industry for over 18 years. I currently work at the Arizona Humane Society, where my original title was canine welfare specialist. My role is to provide mental and physical stimulation to the dogs in our care. We get a lot of medically...

By Mik Moeller

Issue 2 | February 2017 — Shelter

A Circle of Friends Makes the Difference for Chiquita: A Video Case Study

Chiquita was living with two other under-socialized dogs in the previous home. Their owner was starting cancer treatment, and could no longer care for all three dogs. We ended up getting Chiquita and Ramon both surrendered to us. All dogs were fearful when we met...

By the Humane Society of Silicon Valley

Case Study: Raisin

Case Information Dog’s name: Raisin Sex: Spayed female Age: 1 year Breed: Terrier mix Other people involved: Cindy Lowrey, Megan Hewes, Sylvia Brink, Collin Stevens, and various volunteers. Location Animal shelters in Jacksonville, Florida. To help the community and...

By Amy Schindler

Interview With Dr. Alexandra Protopopova

“I was actually planning to be a veterinarian.” And so were declared the earliest professional aspirations of Alexandra (Sasha) Protopopova, PhD, a scientist whose work is finding a varied and eager audience in the animal welfare world these days. With a doctorate in...

By Barbara Davis CDBC

Issue 1 | October 2016 — Shelter

The Perils of Placing Marginal Dogs

(Originally published in Sheltering Magazine, 2003) Rosie was a loving, beautiful dog with doting owners, but in the end, her predatory instinct made her too dangerous for human society. Her attack on another dog was the last straw for her owners, who vowed never to...

By Trish McMillan Loehr