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Community Conversations - 3/6/23 - Open Arms Challenge Kickoff: Prior Winners Panel

  • 1.  Community Conversations - 3/6/23 - Open Arms Challenge Kickoff: Prior Winners Panel

    Posted 03-01-2023 04:03 PM

    Updated 3/6/23 at 3:30pm - Recording now available! 

    We hope to see you on Monday, March 6, 2023 at 11am PT  for our next Community Conversations call

    To kick off the March line up of Community Conversations that will be dedicated to the Open Arms Challenge, we are thrilled to hear from four organizations who previously won grants for their welcoming practices. Please join us for a panel discussion with @Charice Davis  from Hands and Feet Pet Advocates, @Faith Koleszar  from Montgomery County Animal Services and Adoption Center, Cole Mastroserio from SPCA of Hancock County and @Shelbi Waters from Souris Valley Animal Shelter. 

    We will also be announcing the February 2023 grant winners for Community Conversations and Maddie's Pet Forum!

    Register here for our Monday Community Conversations Calls:

    If you are unable to make it live on Monday, this thread will be updated with the recording and resources so you can watch and share whenever you'd like. After you watch the recording or attend the call live, be sure to complete this new March entry form to enter to win a grant:


    Maddie's Pet Forum Admin
    Maddie's Fund

  • 2.  RE: Community Conversations - 3/6/23 - Open Arms Challenge Kickoff: Prior Winners Panel

    Posted 03-06-2023 04:16 PM

    Thanks to the 310 attendees who joined us for today's call! Below you'll find a recap of the agenda, resources and February grant winners! After watching the recording or attending live, be sure to complete an entry on the new March grant giveaway form:


    • Welcome - Co-hosts
      • Irene Chansawang, Grants Specialist, Maddie's Fund
      • Allison Cardona, California State Director, UC Davis Koret Shelter Medicine Program
    • Question of the Day:  What is one of your favorite idioms/sayings/phrases that includes animals? If you have one from another culture or language, please share the meaning with us! Example: "You're the cat's pajamas" means you're excellent!
      • "It's raining cats and dogs." - Margaret Tompkins
      • "If only I could "Let sleeping dogs lie" when it comes to disrupting in my community...!" - Amy Charles
      • "Memory like an elephant" - Gwen Harding-Peets
      • "happy as a clam!" - Gwen Harding-Peets
      • "You can lead a horse to water." - Shana McCawley
      • "Busy bee!" - Riley Yates
      • "Until the cows come home." - Shana McCawley
      • "Busy Beaver" - Katie Pauli
      • "Not my pig, not my farm" - Dylan Moore
      • "I'm dog tired" - Debbie Hawkins
      • "Better than a slap in the belly with a wet fish." - Johanna Humbert
      • "The dog days of summer" - Karin Baker
      • "The Cat's Meow!" - Lauren Green
      • "like a duck to water" - Michelle Robinson
      • "don't let the cat out of the bag" - Debbie Hawkins
      • "The pigeon lives in the forest as well as the the parrot (means that It is important to listen to quiet people - New Zealand)" - Em Patterson-Kane
      • "Singing pretty in the cat bird's seat." - Ben Swan - Espanola Humane
    • February Grant winners!
      • Community Conversation Giveaway Winners, $2,500 each:
        • Alicia Mason Animal Advocates of the Ozarks (Branson, MO)
        • Shana McCawley Freed Spirits Animal Rescue (Phoenix, AZ)
        • Tracy Sator Wags & Whiskers (Innsbrook, MO)
        • Laramie Smovir City of Great Falls Animal Shelter (Great Falls, MT)
      •  Maddie's Pet Forum giveaway winner
        • $3,000: Amanda Gray Truly All Cats Trapping and Rescue (Lake Worth, FL)
    • Coming up in March on these calls:
      • March 13: Barrier-Free Foster Program
      • March 20: Leading Staff & Volunteers Through Change to Embrace Barrier Free Practices
      • March 27: Addressing Bias 

    National Updates

    • Let's Do This! Free half-day webinar from Maddie's Million Pet Challenge! Spring 2023 Shelter Summit and Fast Tracks from Maddie's® Million Pet Challenge Learniverse #ThankstoMaddie Tuesday, March 14 9am-12:30p Pacific.   More info and registration links:

    • Treatment Options for Canine Fears and Anxiety. Earn RACE, CAWA and NACA CE credit for Maddie's Insights webcast at noon Pacific / 3p Eastern on Thursday, March 9 – it will be recorded but join live if you can.  Register:

      This presentation will be given by one of the world's most pre-eminent animal behaviorists, Dr. Nicholas Dodman, DVM, DACVA, DACVB, and Ian Dinwoodie, a data analyst and software engineer.  Both are from Tufts University and the Center for Canine Behavior Studies which Dr. Dodman co-founded.

    • Bob Tubbs: Animal Friends of Williamsburg - Kids getting dogs and cats adopted! Kids, Cats and K9s Facebook page

    • My Dog is My Home virtual conference March 21-23. For everyone who is committed to keeping pets and people together
      Connie Kile The Ryan Animal Rescue Foundation (RARF) has 2 registration scholarships still available to the My Dog is Home Co-Sheltering conference! Feel free to email for questions

    • 2023 Access to Veterinary Care Conference: Call for Speakers October 17-19, 2023 
      Location: Virtual  Proposal submission due date: March 31, 2023

    • Faunalytics Ambassador Program! We provide free, customized presentations for your animal advocacy group or organization. Learn all about 1) what research exists to inform your work for animals, 2) the latest insights related to animal protection in your country, and 3) how to apply data to your campaigns. Presentations are available in English, Spanish, Portuguese, Mandarin, and Cantonese. Learn more and schedule your presentation by emailing

    • Animal Care Expo 2023: New Orleans 3-6. Advanced Registration closes Feb. 6 

    • Humane Canada's 2023 Summit for Animals May 2- 4th in beautiful Victoria, British Columbia.  Register now!!

    • Maddie's Fund Weekly Community Conversations give-away – enter a chance to win:
      Open to all who are watching live or on-demand! Be sure to enter each week you attend!

    • Maddie's Pet Forum monthly give-away!  Maddie's Fund® is giving away a $3,000 grant each month to one lucky Maddie's® Pet Forum member!  You'll automatically be entered to win each month when you start a new discussion, reply to a new post. More info:


    • If you applied for the Open Arms Challenge, and didn't get your notification email, please contact Maddie's Fund at
    • Open Arms Challenge Kickoff - Prior Winners Panel - To kick off the March Community Conversations that will be dedicated to the Open Arms Challenge, we are thrilled to hear from four organizations who previously won grants for their welcoming practices. Please join us for a panel discussion with Hands and Feet Pet Advocates, Montgomery County Animal Services and Adoption Center, SPCA of Hancock County and Souris Valley Animal Shelter.
    • Speakers and their contact Info:
    • Adopters Welcome is a great read to help with this

    Highlights from the Chat

    • "Conversations are so important!" - Elena Welte
    • "I couldn't agree more with the grace that Charise described. There is no need to come in hard and alienate people who are seeking help." - Lisa Pearce
    • "We see so many people wanting to surrender because they can't afford vet care, but we lack the resources to help." - Kate Williams
    • "Snip volunteers - found that helping the families with barriers - such as repairing fencing, housing while they are in hospital or rehab., giving dog kennels, food, etc.   All of this does help keep the animal in the home." - Alisa Fraser
    • "Being a foster based rescue, no facility, we feel it is very important to check rental reference because once the animal gets adopted that foster home gets filled and we can not take an immediate return for our lack of checking their rental requirements." - Hillary Witt
    • "Asking where someone lives only tells you where they live right now. It doesn't tell you anything about the future. A renter could buy a home next month. A homeowner could lose their house and become a renter." - M S
    • "We never checked homes and trusted that our conversations helped make matches that would work. We always took dogs back and rarely was the home the problem. Most problems were divorce, illness, pets didn't get along, etc. All those returned pets ended up in homes." - Augusta Farley
    • "Charleston Animal Society offers open adoptions with minimal questions. Also, a 30 day return on adoptions should there be an unforeseen problem post-adoption. No one can control every living situation." - Lisa Pearce
    • "Removing our landlord check didn't increase our return rate for animals, track your stats to see if loosening restrictions actually has a negative impact." - Liz Stamper
    • "I was turned down once because I didn't have a 6' fence around my entire yard and across my driveway... That's cost-prohibitive and impractical!" - Tracy Brad
    • "Do you all follow the free give away pages on Facebook in your area? We see TONS of cats and dogs given away for FREE because they aren't allowed pets or they won't pay the pet FREE. Thoughts on not having the landlord check related to that? In our market landlord are serious about that policy" - Marci Bowling
    • "Rule of thumb is language needs to be at 3rd grade level. Feel free to run phrasing and wordsmithing by each other in Maddie's Pet Forum (there is a Marketing and Fundraising thread) or send to, happy to brainstorm with alternative words." - Sharon Fletcher
    • "There are a few bad adopters and people out there but we can't let them to dictate how we treat people and the conversations we have with people about pets." - Augusta Farley
    • "We ask if they have landlord certification, but we are not confirming.  We have only had a couple cats returned after adoption due to fees." - Susan Schlundt
    • "For digital volunteers, we've had a past adopter with a background in education get involved in writing educational blog posts for us (yay!); we've also had folks who can't get to the shelter physically but have experience in web design and editing jump into help us in these areas, too." - Rhiannon Lewis

    Charlotte Otero
    Community Strategist at Maddie's Fund