Our Top 2022 Blogs: Facing Challenging Times with Compassion, Collaboration, and Innovation

Photo Credit: Michael Manganello

Don’t ask us to choose our favorite blogs of the year—it’s like asking who’s our favorite pet! (Seriously, don’t ask that.) 

But we didn’t choose our top blogs of the year. You did! 

These ten blogs from 2022 got read and shared the most, and, honestly, we’re pretty excited about the ones you picked. They encompass a lot of what we’re proud of and excited about at HASS—innovation, collaboration, learning from one another, compassion, and finding hope through challenging times, while saving lives and preserving families.

We hope you’ll take a read—and please reach out at hass-project@@americanpetsalive.org if you have ideas for blogs; ones you want to write, or that you think we should look into. They may make our top ten list for 2023!

1. Animal Welfare Has a Cruelty to People Problem

Why would someone want to reach out to surrender their dog to us, if we were just going to call them an a**hole for doing so? Why would they reach out to use our pet pantry if we believe, and say, that because “they’re so poor, they shouldn’t have a pet”?

When we use language like this, writes Shannon Glenn, executive director of My Pit Bull is Family, in our number one blog of the year, “we’re pushing away the very people who are most in need of our support.”

2. This Shelter Started a Lost and Found Texting Program and Got Twice as Many Dogs Home

Before instituting a lost and found texting program, Greenville County Animal Care‘s return to owner rate was about 15 percent for dogs. Since putting the testing program in place, that rate has doubled.

“We’re now averaging about 28 percent to 30 percent for dogs,” says director Shelly Simmons.

Steal This Idea! Read this blog to learn how this lost and found texting program works, and how your organization can start one, too.

3. This Animal Shelter Hired a Veterinary Social Worker!

Traditionally, animal shelters have concerned themselves with one thing: animals. But human welfare and animal welfare are deeply intertwined. Animal shelters are beginning to address the interconnectedness between humans’ and pets’ welfare by hiring a social worker. 

We spoke with Kelly Bremken, who became a veterinary social worker after working in animal welfare for over 15 years. Kelly came on staff at the Oregon Humane Society in Portland, Oregon, last OctoberIn this blog, Kelly spoke with us about her work, with lessons for other shelters.

4. How One Shelter Recruited 2,000 Fosters in a Year and a Half

Less than two years ago, Cincinnati Animal CARE Humane Society had no foster program at all. Now they have nearly 2,000 fosters, and they aren’t stopping there. How did they do it, and what can other shelters learn from their astonishing growth?

Check out this Q&A to find out!

5. New Study: We’re Making Bad Assumptions About Shelter Dogs’ Behavior and It’s Hurting Them

Do you think dogs are given up to shelters for behavioral reasons? It’s a common assumption—but an important paper by Janis Bradley of the National Canine Research Council finds otherwise. This research has big implications for shelters, communities, and dogs.

We hope you’ll listen to our interview with Janis!

6. We Asked Animal Shelter Workers How They’re Staying Hopeful & Strong, This Hard Summer

“Our mission is to keep animals happy, healthy, and at home with the people who love them. And it fills my cup every day.”

In a hard summer, of a hard year, we wanted to know what was giving people in animal welfare hope, and strength. What you told us is profoundly moving, and inspiring.

7. This Shelter’s Bonded Pairs Program Has Gotten 218 Pairs of Pets Into Loving Homes

Two years ago, some longtime volunteers at Pima Animal Care Center came up with a plan to help bonded pairs of pets stay together in the shelter and beyond. At the time we spoke with them for this blog, they’d placed 218 pairs of pets into loving homes through the PACC Pals program!

Learn how they did it, with lessons for other organizations that want to help more pet BFFs stick together, in this Steal This Idea!

8. 14 Things Your Organization Can Do Right Now to Support People and Pets in Your Community

Life comes with challenges: a health crisis, evictions, and more. You want to keep people and pets together through them, preserving families and keeping pets out of shelters when they don’t need to be there. Here are 14 ways to do just that.

9. Here’s How ‘Virtual Fostering’ Can Help Your Shelter’s Pets

“To see this dog that was so fearful, be able to conquer his fears—and me getting to help him conquer those fears so he could find this family.”

Steal This Idea! Check out this blog to learn what virtual foster programs are, how they can help your pets—and tips for setting up a program at your organization. You’ll read an incredibly moving dog adoption story in here, too…

10. 10 Easy Ideas to Create a Community-Minded Animal Shelter

One of the most exciting things we’ve witnessed over the last few years, is the creativity of animal welfare organizations to change and adapt their physical shelters into the community-focused shelters of the future, rethinking and reworking the role of the facility. 

These shelter-changing pioneers are showing us how the role of the shelter facility can be transformed, often using very few dollars. In this blog, our number 10 of the year, we share 10 of our favorite effective and cost-effective ideas to help you on that path!

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