I’m sitting in my Las Vegas hotel room reflecting on the many experiences I enjoyed while attending the Best Friends No More Homeless Pets Conference of 2011. I’m also thinking about a few observations I made during the conference that I’d like to share with you. With only a little time before I have to leave to catch my flight home, I look forward to finishing this post from my couch this evening…
Over all, the Best Friends No More Homeless Pets Conference of 2011 was informative, fun and very much worth the time and expense required to attend. Of course, what gathering in support of companion animals wouldn’t be worth attending unless it was hosted by the dreaded Michael Vick or the bat-eating Ozzie Osborne?
Before I left Wisconsin, I invested some time in choosing the sessions that would enable me to help animals the most from among the many different lectures and workshops offered by the conference. I gained particularly invaluable knowledge from three of the workshops I chose: the Leadership Seminar taught by Bonnie Brown and Susan Kogut, the Creative Writing for Fundraising Workshop led by Elizabeth Doyle and the Blogging Worship instructed by my friend, Kathy Pobloskie. On a personal note, I just want to apologize to Kathy for violating so many of her blogging do’s and don’ts!
During some of the other sessions I attended, I watched instructors having to address topics unrelated to their respective areas of expertise. Maybe it was because more than 70 percent of the attendees were participating in the conference for the first time, but a lot of students distracted instructors by using opportunities to ask questions of their teachers to promote their own efforts to save animals. While I enjoyed the chances to learn more about what others are doing, I regret not being able to take full advantage of the expertise certain instructors brought to the conference and, more specifically, their workshops.
I was also a little disappointed with the way the conference ended especially in comparison with the gathering’s strong, moving start. When I arrived in Las Vegas, I was inspired by the conference’s theme of unity, of working together to prevent the needless, pointless abuse, neglect and death of companion animals. I was surprised when, at the end of the conference, two of the people I view as visionaries in the No Kill Movement were not discussed or even mentioned by name. With his book, “Redemption,” Nathan Winograd changed my viewpoint on the movement to save animals and, I’m sure, did the same for others. The talk about Austin without the mention of Ryan Clinton was, at best, empty.
I don’t know what the motivation was to not identity Nathan Winograd or Ryan Clinton as leaders in the movement to protect companion animals. Maybe it was a matter of not wanting to share credit or something else. Either way, I think we all, conference attendees and everyone who was unable to attend the gathering, should unite in our efforts to prevent the senseless killing of companion animals. That’s all that matters, after all, right? That’s what all of us, from the most-renowned to the least recognized of us, are working to stop, right?
Ah…back on my couch after a great flight with no lost luggage! Just a few more thoughts I’d like to share…
First, thanks to the folks who attended the Best Friends No More Homeless Pets Conference of 2011 on behalf of Lost Dogs of Wisconsin and Wisconsin Voters for Companion Animals! I had a great time meeting all of you and learning about what you are doing to preserve the well-being of animals in my own state. Thank you for your efforts and, please, keep up your great work!
Also, thanks to the folks at Free Roamers, LTD, a local non-profit that exists to protect cats in my community. I enjoyed chatting with you before I left for Las Vegas and remain grateful for your enthusiasm and hospitality. Given my pleasant experience interacting with the people at Free Roamers, LTD, I look forward to learning more about that group’s work and sharing what I learn with you.
Finally, being that I am relatively new to working to protect animals in a formal manner, I am trying to decide which groups I am going to work with most closely on local, state and national levels. I am hoping all of you will help me determine which organizations will benefit from my help the most by making some suggestions. I’ll look forward to reading what you send my way!
As always, thank you for reading and for all you do for the animals! They need us all.