On the road with Adoption Options…

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As part of our annual Adoption Options seminar tour, I left New Jersey for the beautiful Southwest last week.  Adoption Options is Petfinder’s single-day seminar for animal welfare professionals and volunteers, focusing on increasing adoptions and making time spent in a shelter or foster home an enriching experience that best prepares pets for new homes.  We hit 20 – 25 spots around the country each year, in conjunction with Petco Foundation, to bring education to areas that don’t usually see a national conference presence.  Last Thursday, I left my human and non-human family behind to hit Santa Fe, New Mexico and Flagstaff, Arizona.
Deb Edwards talking about fostering

Deb Edwards presents


It doesn’t take much for me to have an excuse to visit the Southwest and I was so eager to meet our local members.  I teamed up with other fellow NJ travelers, Dr. Stephanie Janeczko from the ASPCA and Deb Edwards from St. Hubert’s Animal Welfare Center at Newark Airport.  We met up with Sue Sternberg of Great Dog Productions and Susan Rosenberg of Petco Foundation, both coming from the western part of the country.


We had enthusiastic and receptive crowds in both Santa Fe and Flagstaff with about 40 and 50 attendees, respectively.  I gave a 90-minute workshop on using Petfinderto its fullest to increase adoptions and how to best market your pets online.  Deb Edwards gave a fantastic presentation on working with foster homes, one of animal welfare’s greatest lifesaving programs.  Dr. Stephanie Janeczko spoke about the main issue affecting cats in shelters and rescue groups – Upper Respiratory Infections.  Sue Sternberg worked her dog training magic with local dogs from Santa Fe Animal Shelter & Humane Society and Coconino Humane Association.

Coconino Humane Dog

Sue Sternberg demonstrated her techniques for teaching a shelter dog

Between events we caravanned our way across the desert, including a drive through the amazing Petrified Forest.  We make a stopover at DoBell’s Ranch in Holbrook, Arizona to collect a few (ok, more than a few) pieces of petrified wood with Sue’s dogs alongside.  Beautiful scenery, great company and two fantastic events filled with animal welfare education made this my favorite trip so far this year.
We have seven Adoption Options events remaining in 2012.  During our downtime at the events, Susan Rosenberg and I began planning our 2013 Adoption Options calendar.  Stay tuned to see where the shelter outreach team will be next!