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A surprise love connection at a Petfinder seminar


Memphis 2008 Sarah Babcock.JPG

Sarah Babcock from the Richmond SPCA discussing dog body language at an Adoption Options

As a member of the outreach team, one of the best parts of my job is planning and attending our Adoption Options seminars.

Adoption Options is one of our biggest initiatives and is a traveling educational seminar that brings training and networking opportunities to our shelter and rescue members throughout the country.

We do 20 per year and try to travel to areas that don’t have affordable access to training. We bring with us some of the nation’s best-known speakers and discuss the hottest topics in animal welfare. Each attendee also gets breakfast, lunch and an Adoption Options T-shirt — all for $10 per person. The program is sponsored in part by our friends at the PETCO Foundation.

I just returned from Memphis, TN, where 80 dedicated animal welfare professionals came out to network and discuss adoption policies, dog behavior, shelter medicine and how to most effectively use Petfinder.

A great story came out of this day.

Memphis Animal Services was kind enough to provide volunteer help for the day, including three adoptable dogs who participated in our dog-behavior segment. One of the dogs was a cute little female terrier named Sweet (I’m only sorry I didn’t get a picture of her!). One of our attendees came up to me and told me that her husband had had a very similar dog who had passed away three weeks earlier at the age of 16. Her husband had gone to the bathroom to compose himself after seeing Sweet.

When I returned home after the event, I had this email waiting for me:

Lynn, I want to thank you so much for inviting me to the seminar. It was so full of Information I thought I would burst from excitement.

We ended up going and getting Sweet the wirehaired terrier from the Memphis shelter. She and Marty bonded like they were old pals. She is helping him with his loss. Such a good dog; not a bit of trouble. Marty is waiting for her stitches to heal so she can join him at work once a week. His last dog of 16 years went everywhere with him, and Sweet will be doing the same.

We have a fair number of happy stories like this come out of Adoption Options. I’ve been known to snag a dog or two myself to help them find permanent homes. More on that later as I tell more AO stores in future blogs. The best part of any AO day is getting together with so many people who have dedicated their lives to helping homeless pets.

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