People, Pets, and Purpose: Best Friends’ Brent Toellner, and Clare Callison of HASS

Welcome to the next installment of People, Pets, and Purpose, our (no longer quite brand new!) interview series exploring the human-animal bond, and what really matters. Check out previous PPP episodes with the Arizona Pet Project’s Leanna Taylor and Michigan Humane’s Matt Pepper.

What does a humane community look like, in and out of its animal shelters? That’s the topic host Diaz Dixon—the Maddie’s® Advisor for External Affairs and Partnerships for the Human Animal Support Services project—explores with our expert guests in this episode of People, Pets, and Purpose.

Our guests really couldn’t be more expert. Diaz is joined in this conversation by Best Friends Animal Society’s Brent Toellner and HASS’s own Clare Callison

As Senior Director, Lifesaving Programs at Best Friends, Brent oversees the organization’s regional work across the Central part of the United States and prioritizes strategic initiatives aimed at ending the euthanasia of healthy and adoptable shelter pets nationwide by 2025.

Before joining Best Friends, Brent co-founded the KC Pet Project in Kansas City, Missouri. He helped turn the shelter from one where more pets lost their lives than got out, into one that has become a proof of concept that large, tax-funded shelters can be progressive models of lifesaving. KCPP is now a HASS pilot shelter.

Clare is Director of National Operations for American Pets Alive!. She and the expert team she leads provide guidance and support to help organizations build robust lifesaving programs and improve operations to better serve people and pets.

It’s a great conversation among these three, that is both visionary and also gets into practical, nitty-gritty, actionable details you’ll definitely want to hear and use. Clare’s foster dog even gets involved.… in a funny and oh so relatable way.  

We hope you’ll give a listen—and reach out at to suggest a topic or guest for an upcoming episode of People, Pets, and Purpose! 

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