show episodes
 
An animal welfare professional’s typical day includes unparalleled joy and heart-wrenching despair, often in equal measure. Small triumphs are huge, huge losses are expected. The burn out 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 enabl ...
 
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Podcasting is more popular today than ever before, giving listeners their choice of more than 1.5 million podcasts. While there are plenty of shows to feed your true crime habit, there aren’t too many podcasts that focus on saving the lives of shelter pets. One of the best and longest-running is The Community Cats Podcast, hosted by Stacy LeBaron. …
 
This episode is sponsored in part by Doobert.com. This week’s guest is Brad Kriser, founder of Kriser’s Natural Pet and Chief Education Officer of Independent Pet Partners. Brad lives in LA with his family and a menagerie of rescued animals. Stacy and Brad chat about Brad’s role with Independent Pet Partners and how he promotes education around nat…
 
A far cry from the days of being seen as the “dogcatchers,” today’s highly skilled animal care and control officers are on the front lines in our communities, helping animals in need. In the last few years, as sheltering has seen progress towards connecting lifesaving to public safety, there’s a need to restructure the role animal services has in h…
 
This episode is sponsored in part by Doobert.com. Founding member of Archimedes’ Printing Shoppe and Sundry Goodes, Susan Russell has had diverse experience as a writer, attorney, and animal advocate. She has led municipal animal shelters in Chicago and Philadelphia, worked as a litigator, and published an array of books including A Ruff Road Home:…
 
You see an outdoor cat. What do you do? There’s a good chance your instinct is to save the cat. An outdoor cat is a cat in need. Right? What if that isn't the case? Many cats will spend their entire lives outdoors. They often have people who care for them by providing food or outdoor shelter. Others prefer to fly solo, not looking to us for help. R…
 
This episode is sponsored in part by Doobert.com. Writer, curator, and design and material culture historian Sarah Archer speaks with Stacy about how her love of her rescue cats led her to her newest project. Sarah is a senior curator at Philadelphia Art Alliance, a contributor to Hyperallergic and many other publications, and has worked with organ…
 
This episode is sponsored in part by Doobert.com, and KittySift. Author of Hobo Finds a Home and Huck and Finn, Bookstore Cats and independent bookstore owner Kevin Coolidge is featured in this episode. The tradition of library and bookstore cats goes back to the Library of Alexandria and Kevin is keeping up the tradition with his two bookstore cat…
 
Thirteen years ago, dogs seized from dogfighting busts were considered by most organizations to be too dangerous, too damaged, too traumatized to be rehabilitated. So it was no surprise that the effort to save the dogs from the Michael Vick dogfighting case was controversial. Some in our line of work called it reckless, and others believe it to be …
 
In this special episode, we celebrate National Cat Day by talking with Pam Johnson-Bennett, Certified Cat Behavior Consultant and best-selling author. Pam and Stacy discuss how Pam started her career and why we need to "think like a cat," as well as her latest project with ARM & HAMMER Cat Litter's "Purrfectly Impurrfect" campaign. The campaign is …
 
This episode is sponsored in part by Doobert.com, and Heaven Can Wait. Kathleen O’Malley is a longtime practitioner and educator of TNR. She has worked for the Hudson County Animal League, the ASPCA, the Mayor’s Alliance for New York City Animals, and Bideawee Feral Cat Initiative (FCI). In this episode Stacy and Kathleen discuss what to do if you …
 
A priority for Best Friends is building a nationwide, grassroots movement of advocates who are willing to work together, all driven by the belief that people and their pets deserve compassion. We need to connect with others who share the common goal of ending the killing of cats and dogs in our nation's shelters by the year 2025 - even when that me…
 
This episode is sponsored in part by Doobert.com, Heaven Can Wait, and C5. This week Stacy talks to Meagan King, who has worked in pit bull rescues, animal shelters, and the pet service industry for more than eight years. She is interested in animal fear, aggression, and behavior and has worked with the SPCA of Texas as the Dallas behavior coordina…
 
Animal care and control services are redefining the community and embracing principles that promote safe, humane communities for people and pets. Keeping families together should be a primary goal of today’s field services operations. To do that, it is critical to understand the difference between cases of true cruelty, and when it is a case of neg…
 
This episode is sponsored in part by Doobert.com, Boulder Holistic Vet, and C5. Kathy Black, an all-breed judge from the Cat Fanciers’ Association (CFA) for the past 19 years, joins Stacy in this episode. Kathy has bred and shown cats for 30 years, and she also chairs the CFA’s Companion Cat World (CCW), a program that celebrates rescued and non-pe…
 
In 2018, Abilene Animal Services (AAS) had a 55% save rate. That put them at 27th on the list of shelters nationwide most in need of help. The community wanted the shelter to succeed and the city’s elected officials took action. In May of this year, Abilene’s City Council passed a resolution that approved Best Friends to take on the role of Animal …
 
This episode is sponsored in part by Doobert.com, Boulder Holistic Vet, and Kitty Sift. In this episode, Stacy chats with Sarah Moore, the clinic manager for the Animal Protective League (APL) of Springfield Illinois’s spay/neuter clinic, and with Dr. Teri Kidd, the clinic’s veterinarian. They discuss how Dr. Kidd got into high-quality, high-volume…
 
Pets need food, water, veterinary care, adequate shelter, and love. But what happens when an owner can provide endless amounts of love but struggles to deliver the rest? The lack of access to care is a major contributor to pet owners surrendering their animals to shelters. There is so much more we, as animal welfare professionals, can do for our co…
 
This episode is sponsored in part by Doobert.com's FosterSpace, Boulder Holistic Vet, and Community Cat Coalition of Clark County. In this episode, Stacy chats with Jennifer Barnes, a US Marine Corps veteran who has been colony feeding and trapping cats for TNR for over five years in New Jersey. Known online as “The Trap Queen,” Jennifer largely us…
 
Right now we are getting hit with some of the worst wildfires and hurricanes in recorded history. There’s civil unrest nationwide, the economy is on the brink, and of course, the pandemic has turned our lives upside down. We must be prepared to respond to emergencies - meteorological or otherwise - so that we can help pets and the people who love t…
 
This episode is sponsored in part by Doobert.com’s FosterSpace, Boulder Holistic Vet, and Heaven Can Wait Animal Society. Sarah Dunsmore of CDE Animal Cages, previously featured on CCP Episode 302, joins Stacy to talk about catios, which CDE (a 2020 Online Kitten Conference sponsor) produces in all shapes and sizes for all different applications. S…
 
In previous episodes of the podcast, we’ve covered the lack of diversity in our industry and how that has affected our ability to save lives. We discussed ways that we can work on breaking down our unconscious biases and how we can focus on meaningful approaches to diversity, equality, and inclusion. But we’ve barely scratched the surface when it c…
 
This episode is sponsored in part by Doobert.com’s FosterSpace, C5, and The American Association of Feline Practitioners. In this episode, Stacy chats with Holly Ganz, Ph.D., a micro-ecologist who studies how microbes and mammals interact, with a specific interest in the role that the gut microbiome plays in gastrointestinal (GI) conditions in cats…
 
What do you get when you take 18 of the best and brightest lifesaving innovators, pair them up, put them on a Zoom call and hit record? You get magic! The Best Friends Professional Development Symposium is happening next week. The two-day, online event features short, fast-paced presentations designed to keep attendees engaged and excited. But ever…
 
This episode is sponsored in part by Doobert.com's FosterSpace, Heaven Can Wait, and The American Association of Feline Practitioners. In this episode, Stacy catches up with Keith Williams of the Community Cat Coalition of Clark County (C5), based in Las Vegas, Nevada. Keith was featured previously on CCP Episode 297, ad in a CCP Trapper Tips & Tri…
 
COVID-19 has turned the world upside down. In our lives, both professionally and personally, we’ve had to make big changes. From working at home to wearing masks to the operational changes we've had to make, life is a whole lot different than it was 6 months ago. And the restrictions on travel and gatherings meant animal welfare's "conference seaso…
 
Anna Raines, currently a community cat program manager at Best Friends Animal Society, has been involved in animal welfare for about 10 years. She started her career as a wildlife rehabilitator, where she learned about complaint mitigation and the importance of spreading the message of coexistence. From there, she became an ACO, a role in which she…
 
Georgia’s efforts to save pets have come a long way in the last few years. The 2019 lifesaving progress dataset showed that statewide, Georgia increased lifesaving by more than 30-percent over the previous year. Metro Atlanta is a sprawling area consisting of 29 counties and two of them, Fulton and Dekalb, have undergone a radical transformation ov…
 
Anne Beall, CEO and founder of Beall Research, a strategic market research firm in Chicago, IL, is also an animal advocate who has written extensively about the human-animal bond. In this episode, she chats with Stacy about her most recent book, Heroic, Helpful and Caring Cats: Felines Who Make a Difference, and about how she came to be so passiona…
 
Idaho may not be the first place that comes to mind when you think of animal welfare, but it should! Two years ago, a coalition was formed in an attempt to unite the shelters and organizations spread out over this vast, mostly rural state. The Idaho Shelter Coalition helped drive a 49.4% reduction in shelter killing in 2019, a result that has earne…
 
Stacy chats with Julie Jacobson of Spay Tennessee, who is also the grants coordinator for CCP’s Community Cats Grants program. Julie, a frequent CCP guest (check out Episodes 2, 92, and 268, talks about how great this year’s grant program had been going—until the coronavirus hit. Julie and Stacy explain how the Community Cats Grants work: They are …
 
Fewer pets in shelters. More resources for people with pets. More animal-friendly communities. Healthier, happier animals with safe places to call home. These are our shared goals. But are we all doing as much as we can to achieve them? For example, what does your pet adoption process look like? Is it welcoming, conversation-based, and solution-ori…
 
Bonney Brown (CCP Episode 30 and Episode 181) and Diane Blankenburg, the president, and the CEO, respectively, of Humane Network, join Stacy to talk about the process of leadership recruitment in animal welfare. Humane Network assists organizations with this process and Bonney and Diane talk a bit about their process for going about a search and wa…
 
Spay and neuter is the only way! We shouldn’t spend time or money doing anything else! Well, that’s not true at all, but there are still too many people who think that is the case. Widely available low-cost spay and neuter services are a critical part of the lifesaving program mix, but it is just one part of the recipe. So how much of your availabl…
 
Pastor Larry Vandever, a former police officer turned pastor, joins Stacy to talk about his nonprofit, the Coalition for Feral Cats of Lehigh Valley (Pennsylvania). His group practices what Larry calls “TNMM-plus,” which means trap-neuter-maintain-monitor—plus they provide other services to their community. Larry feels that TNR is just the basics a…
 
In 2016, 2.3-million Americans lived in a home that was served an eviction notice. During the foreclosure crisis in 2008, 10-million Americans lost their home. Experts believe that by the end of this year, 28-million Americans will face eviction due to the economic downturn related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Every community in every state will be af…
 
In this episode, Stacy chats with Carrie Gillaspie, a television and podcast host from rural central Wisconsin with a huge passion for helping animals. Last year, Carrie began noticing larger than normal numbers of barn and community cats in her area, and hearing complaints from the farms around her, that the cat numbers were out of control. Taking…
 
We’re gotten pretty good at saving dogs in shelters, but that’s not the case for cats. 69% of all animals killed last year were feline. That two-to-one ratio of cats killed to dogs has not improved year over year, and it’s clear that what we’ve been doing isn't effective. So what is working when it comes to saving cats? Launched in 2014, the Millio…
 
In this information-packed episode, Stacy sits down with Dr. Bob Weedon, a retired veterinarian who is still going strong as a volunteer at the TLC PetSnip low-cost clinic in Lakeland, FL, a board member of the Alliance for Contraception in Cats & Dogs (ACC&D), and in other volunteer posts. Bob worked in private practice and also spent many years t…
 
Starting in the 1970s, the animal sheltering movement slowly began to reject the practice of automatically euthanizing animals surrendered by the public at the owner's behest. This service, known as owner requested euthanasia (ORE), is still offered in many communities but only after consultation with the owner and the shelter staff and veterinaria…
 
In this episode, Stacy sits down with Sterling Davis again (she talked with him before in CCP Episode 243) to catch up on what he’s been doing for the last couple of years. Sterling is still living up to his nickname of Trap King, doing lots of TNR in Atlanta—but he has also been busy doing educational events and shows. He has been working with sco…
 
It wasn’t that long ago that the majority of dogs rescued from dogfighting operations were killed without any kind of behavior evaluation. It was widely accepted that they were too dangerous for a second chance. That changed with the rescue of the dogs from Michael Vick’s Bad Newz Kennels. The plea to evaluate the dogs was heard, and since that tim…
 
In this episode, Stacy sits down with Ashley Shoults, a principal w/ Animal Arts, an architecture firm in Boulder, Colorado that specializes exclusively in the design of animal care facilities, including animal shelters, veterinary facilities, and pet boarding facilities. Ashley is currently working on the design of a new facility for PAWS Seattle …
 
Every animal is an individual and their journeys are as unique as they are. Each of them has a story waiting to be told and these stories are how we connect our community to the work we do. Writing effective adoption bios leads to higher adoption rates. Cutting through the increasing noise on social media requires captivating stories. Donors and vo…
 
In this episode, Stacy chats with Steven Morelli, CEO and founder of Waggle, a new—and very different—crowdfunding platform to help pet owners and shelters/rescues raise money for animals in need of urgent veterinary care. Steven, who has a background in finance and data analytics, found himself increasingly angry over the way various crowdfunding …
 
Each year, a dedicated group of Best Friends staff and volunteers compile a colossal spreadsheet with 611,000 individual cells of data. This comprehensive dataset tracks lifesaving across the country and the latest numbers are in. It wasn’t that long ago that our field worked in the dark, not knowing where and how animals were being killed. It’s im…
 
Stacy talks with Elizabeth Finch, a member of the board of directors and full-time marketing and communications volunteer at Good Mews Animal Foundation in Marietta, Georgia. Elizabeth comes from a varied professional background and began donating her time to Good Mews after early retirement. “It’s my full-time gig,” she tells Stacy, “and I love it…
 
America loves cats. There are conventions entirely devoted to felines and the people who love them. The internet helped spur the mania with worldwide sensations like Grumpy Cat, who have forever changed popular culture. Despite our collective obsession with felines, they continue to be the animal most often killed in shelters. More than two-thirds …
 
In this episode, Stacy talks with Mary Howard, the community cat coordinator at McKamey Animal Center in Chattanooga, TN. The program started in 2018 with a grant from Best Friends Animal Society and since inception, the organization’s return to habitat releases has gone up by 145%. Stacy and Mary discuss the many programs McKamey offers, including…
 
Caring for and protecting companion animals involves strong emotions. Understanding how we feel and harnessing our feelings for productive solutions, recognizing and respecting how others feel so that we can bring them along is equally as important as we navigate lifesaving change across the nation. Emotions impact every facet of the human experien…
 
Stacy sits down with Mary Tan, owner and chief storyteller at Whisker Media, a boutique strategic communications agency that focuses on marketing and public relations for pet-related businesses and animal welfare nonprofits. Mary, who previously worked as a news reporter and in government communications, is also the public relations manager for Ani…
 
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