Spring 2024 Online Instructor-Led Courses

Looking to implement a new program, learn more about a specific subject and create positive change for pets and people in your community? Maddie’s Fund® Online Instructor-Led Courses provide an interactive educational opportunity for those who are looking to benefit from the wisdom of established innovative programs. They’re the catalyst you need to take your programs and learning to the next level! 

These courses require completion of: self-paced online materials, Zoom classes with your instructor and classmates, and a final project. (The length and number of Zoom classes are course dependent, but can range from 4 to 6 classes, at 60- to 90-minutes.) Class size is limited and the selection process is competitive. 

THE SPRING 2024 APPLICATION WINDOW IS FEBRUARY 1 - FEBRUARY 16, 2024.

Sample Application

To apply (1) click the application hyperlink provided in the description below (2) click the green ENROLL button on the application webpage, and (3) click submit on the survey via Survey Monkey. To be eligible, your organization must be a U.S. based 501c3 or government animal welfare organization. All Maddie’s University courses are pre-approved for NACA and CAWA CE (continuing education) credits.

If you have any questions please email maddiesuniversity@maddiesfund.org.


Feline Lifesaving: Essential Cat Programs for Shelters

Shelter programming for cats is radically changing every day! Learn how it’s evolved and how to create or grow coordinated programs that result in increased feline lifesaving. In this advanced-level instructor-led course, students will explore why cat services need reformation and how to lead their organization through challenges. Students will learn how to implement essential cat programs, lead staff and volunteers, engage their community, and be as effective as possible with limited resources. Course content includes: Handling Fractious and Feral Cats, Shelter-Neuter-Return and Community Cat Management, Intake Decisions for Cats, FIV, FeLV, Ringworm, Panleukopenia, Behavior Programs, Conflict Resolution, Adoptions, Matchmaking, Working Cat Programs, and more.

(4) 90-minute Zoom classes over 4-weeks, estimated time commitment of 20 hours for coursework and classes

Instructor: Monica Tarant, Chief Innovation Officer: Feline Lifesaving at Cincinnati Animal CARE and The Joanie Bernard Foundation

When? Zoom classes will be held Tuesdays from 12:00 PM - 1:30 PM ET on 3/5, 3/12, 3/19 and 3/26.

Who should apply? For shelter-based organization directors, managers or coordinators who are empowered to make changes and launch new initiatives in their organizations. Representatives of organizations with physical facilities will get the most from this offering.

Apply Now


Field Services: Community-Centered Programming

In this engaging and informative Instructor-Led Online Course participants will discover the pivotal role community engagement plays in the realm of animal control and welfare. It's not just about the animals; it's about cultivating compassionate and responsible communities that actively participate in creating a safer, more humane, and healthier environment for our pets. You'll explore a spectrum of community-centered strategies, successful partnerships, and innovative initiatives, all of which have generated tangible results in animal control efforts across the nation. From local grassroots endeavors to larger-scale community programs, this course empowers you to become an agent of change within your community. By addressing the root causes of animal-related issues and fostering a sense of shared responsibility, you'll contribute to a more sustainable and humane future for all. You’ll hear from several shelters that are successfully redefining what field services mean in their cities, jurisdictions, and within their communities, including time for Q&A. The virtual (Zoom) classes for this Instructor-Led Online Course will be interactive; you’ll leave with a solid understanding of where field services have been, where we are now, and where we are going.

(4) 90-minute Zoom classes over 4-weeks, estimated time commitment of 10 hours for coursework and classes

Instructor: Jerrica Owen CAWA, Executive Director, National Animal Care & Control Association 

When? Zoom classes will be held Mondays from 3:00 PM - 4:30 PM ET on 3/4, 3/11, 3/18 and 3/25.

Who should apply? Directors, managers, coordinators and animal services officers are encouraged to apply. Best for shelter-based organizations with field services, like municipal organizations or organizations with municipal contracts. 

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Cat Adoption Team’s Fostering 4 Rock Stars

Cat Adoption Team (CAT) is the largest cat shelter in the Pacific Northwest, boasting 1,004 felines through foster care in 2023. They’ve refined their famous Fostering 4 Rock Stars model over time, enabling them to serve an ever-growing number of kittens and cats. In this online instructor-led course, CAT shares all facets of its foster program, including their culture agreement, foster caregiver recruitment, training, communications and support,  hands-on foster mentorship, admissions procedures and kitten flowchart, kitten socialization, fundraising, marketing, and how they monitor their program for improvements. CAT includes all of the templates, manuals, protocols, and training materials they use so that you can customize them for your organization. Students who complete this online instructor-led course should have everything they need to start or expand their kitten and cat foster programs. 

(5) 90-minute and (1) 60-minute Zoom classes over 6-weeks, estimated time commitment of 15 hours for coursework and classes

Instructors: Kristi Brooks, Director of Operations, Cat Adoption Team; Heather Miller, Development and Communications Director, Cat Adoption Team; and Dr. Dianne Brown, Medical Director, Cat Adoption Team 

When? Zoom classes will be held Wednesdays, from 3:00 PM - 4:30 PM ET on 3/6, 3/13, 3/20, 3/27 and 4/3; and from 3:00 PM - 4:00 PM ET on 4/10.

Who should apply? For most staff and/or volunteers (executives, managers, coordinators or assistants, etc.) in shelters or rescue organizations that work with cats.

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Humane Education: Tools & Techniques to Expand Your Reach 

Humane education programs are an invaluable resource to any shelter, as they directly help them meet their organizational goals and benefit the entire community. These programs help expand your community reach into new populations of donors, fosters, adopters, and volunteers, while also generating revenue for the organization. Humane education exists with the hopes that by creating kinder, more compassionate youth, the future of animal welfare will be brighter. In this instructor-led course, students will learn about the tools and techniques needed to garner organizational buy-in, create programs to fit needs, and get tips and tricks to get started right away. If you are already facilitating humane education programs, we’ll dive into specific games, lessons, program details. Topics include safety and liability, marketing, funding opportunities, resources at your disposal, incorporating animal ambassadors, how to measure your success and more. 

(4) 90-minute Zoom classes over 4-weeks, estimated time commitment of 12 hours for coursework and classes 

Instructors: De Daltorio, Chief Education Officer; Heather Grogan, Director of Humane Education; and Kylie Wiest, Humane Education Manager at Charleston Animal Society 

When? Zoom classes will be held Tuesdays from 1:00-2:30 PM ET on 3/5, 3/12, 3/19 and 3/26. 

Who should apply? For shelter or rescue organizations looking to grow their youth programming. We encourage shelter directors, managers, staff and/or volunteers to apply.

Apply Now


Marketing Communications 101: The Essentials of Community Connection

Interested in reaching more of your community? This Online Instructor-Led Course is for those wanting hands-on experience creating a marketing and communications plan for a specific community centric program* at their organization. You’ll walk away with a marketing plan specific to your unique program, audience and goals, with messaging and sample copy to use in emails, press releases and more. Together, we’ll take it from strategy to implementation. This interactive workshop style class will feature short informative presentations by instructors followed by ample time to discuss, ask questions, brainstorm and most importantly, work on your plan.

*Community centric programs include programs such as Lost Pet Reunification, Pet Support Services, Foster Care, Supported Rehoming, Field Services and Public Safety, Community Partnerships and more. 

(5) 60-minute Zoom classes over 5-weeks, estimated time commitment of 12 hours for coursework and classes

Instructor: Caitlin Quinn, former Director of Operations at HeARTs Speak, Adjunct Professor at University of Florida, and Consultant.

When? Zoom classes will be held Thursdays from 5:15 PM - 6:15 PM ET on 3/7, 3/14, 3/21, 3/28 and 4/4.

Who should apply? For animal welfare professionals looking to understand foundational concepts of marketing and communications, including those who develop communications, marketing, advertising, and fundraising messaging and materials, communicate with audiences using press releases, email, newsletters, website and social media posts. This class is best-suited for those creating a marketing plan for the first time or those looking to brush up on making marketing more strategic.

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Pet Support Services: Culture, Collaboration, and Case Management

By providing resources and services, animal welfare organizations can work toward reducing barriers to keep pets and people (families) together. “Pet support services” programs not only provide reactive responses to community needs but can also proactively and strategically work to solve root causes such as lack of accessibility to resources. The animal welfare organization can act as a central support hub to directly provide resources or leverage partnerships with service organizations in your local ecosystem that can fill in gaps in support. Resources and services may include the provision of pet supplies or food, behavior support, medical support, emergency boarding, people-housing-related assistance, and more.

During this course, we’ll discuss the key components of a successful pet support services program, individual case management, strategic decision-making processes, utilizing technology to your advantage, having the right people on the team, measuring progress, and the importance of regular communications with your community to ensure visibility of programs. We aim to give you the roadmap to either pilot a new program or increase the success of your current one. 

(6) 60-minute Zoom classes over 6-weeks, estimated time commitment of 10 hours for coursework and classes

Instructor: Lucy Fernandez, PASS Manager, Austin Pets Alive!

When? Zoom classes will be held Wednesdays from 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM ET on 3/6, 3/13, 3/20, 3/27, 4/3 and 4/10.

Who should apply? Best for those managing or have approval to start pet support services program(s), those managing intake diversion processes, and those interacting with community members, and those offering intake diversion options. Many topics will be presented from a “leadership” lens (e.g., how to structure a department, strategic program implementation, and hiring the right people) and have the goal of keeping more people and pets together by providing support services.

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Rehoming: Keeping Pets in Homes and Out of Shelters

Approximately 36% of animals come into shelters as an “owner surrender.” Many pet owners are willing to rehome their pets directly from their home to another but are unaware of how to do so confidently, safely, and successfully. “Supported self-rehoming” shelter programs aim to give pet owners the tools, support and knowledge to help them smoothly rehome their pet on their own, keeping more pets out of the shelter, decreasing overall pet stress, risk of disease, and shelter crowding. Rehoming is also better for people, giving pet owners the agency to personally select a new adopter, and even the option of potentially staying in touch with that new adopter. During this course, we’ll discuss the key components of a successful rehoming program, how to get buy-in, use technology to your advantage, communicate with the community, manage cases, measure progress, and more. We aim to give you the roadmap to either build a new pilot program or increase the success of your current one.

(5) 60-minute Zoom classes over 5-weeks, estimated time commitment of 10 hours for coursework and classes

Instructor: Eliza Torres, Maddie's® Education and Implementation Manager, Human Animal Support Services

When? Zoom classes will be held Tuesdays from 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM ET on 3/5, 3/12, 3/19, 3/26 and 4/2. 

Who should apply? For front-line staff and volunteers providing intake diversion, pet support services, or otherwise interacting with community members. Best for organizations that are ready to implement or improve supported self-rehoming programs and are interested in how to get started. Best for organizations that have the goal of preventing up to 36% of animals from coming into the shelter and gaining community and leadership buy-in for supported self-rehoming programming.

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Shelter Clinic Management 

Logistically, managing a shelter clinic can be hard! And while there is a lot of help and support for private practice managers, it doesn’t always translate to shelter medicine. I can help you identify key points in your shelter clinic day-to-day operations that can help you streamline processes, create usable and applicable protocols, share solutions to common problems, and create an overall more efficient and effective shelter clinic. Another topic we will discuss is culture. I will share some proven, tangible actions you can take to improve the human connections in your workspace. Set the right example so you can bring the best out in your staff! 

(4) 90-minute Zoom classes over 4-weeks, estimated time commitment of 12 hours for coursework and classes

This course is eligible for 4.5 credit hours toward the AAVSB's (American Association of Veterinary State Boards) Registry of Approved Continuing Education (RACE) program.

Instructor: Jordana Moerbe, Medical Care Director, Austin Pets Alive! & Shelter Support Director, American Pets Alive!

When? Zoom classes will be held Thursdays from 11:00 AM - 12:30 PM ET on 3/7, 3/14, 3/21 and 3/28.

Who should apply? For shelter executives, veterinarians, clinic managers, coordinators or assistants; or anyone who wants to start or improve their organization's medical services via a shelter clinic. 

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Short-Term Foster and Field Trips 

Struggling with long stays in your large dog population? Increase your dog adoptions by five times. 

A new journal publication shows that “outings and temporary fostering stays increased dogs’ likelihood of adoption by five and over 14 times, respectively.” Short-term foster programs, including field trips, are relatively easy to manage and can be run entirely by volunteers. They are a powerful tool for helping long-stay pets find positive outcomes, especially larger dogs. Because these programs require a shorter commitment, they draw in supporters who might otherwise be hesitant to foster. You also see a significant portion of short-term foster caregivers become longer-term foster caregivers, expanding your foster base. In other words, short-term foster is great for pets, great for the community, and great for your organization. You can also run them at almost no cost! Why wouldn't you have these programs?

(4) 90-minute Zoom classes over 4-weeks, estimated time commitment of 10 hours for coursework and classes

Instructor: Dani Tietgen, Adoption & Foster Manager, Charlottesville Albemarle SPCA

When? Zoom classes will be held Wednesdays from 1:00 PM - 2:30 PM ET on 3/6, 3/13, 3/20 and 3/27.

Who should apply? For shelter-based organization directors, managers, coordinators, staff, or volunteers who are empowered to make changes and launch new initiatives in their organizations. Representatives of organizations with physical facilities will get the most from this offering.

Apply Now


Transport: Forming Equitable Partnerships

Transport programs are continuing to grow and evolve to meet the shifting needs of the sheltering and rescue community. Those looking to be "destination partners" will leave this instructor-led course with tools on how to expand their programs, how to say "yes" to more requests for help, and lessons on building sustainable and effective transport programs. Those looking to be "source partners" will leave with lessons on how increase transports, identify partners, and increase lifesaving outcomes. This course will focus on equitable transport partnerships, with a local-first approach. Join those involved in transport programs across the country to connect and learn from each other.

(4) 90-minute Zoom classes over 4-weeks, estimated time commitment of 10 hours for coursework and classes

Instructor: Clare Callison, Maddie's® Director of National Operations, American Pets Alive!

When? Zoom classes will be held: Thursdays from 3:00 - 4:30 pm ET on 3/7, 3/14, 3/21 and 3/28.

Who should apply? For transport coordinators, program managers, shelter/rescue directors, etc. who are empowered to make changes and launch new initiatives in their organizations. Best for organizations that are either currently transporting or close to starting a transport program. Open to both source (giving) and/or destination (receiving) groups.

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If you have questions or any issues applying, please email Amber Freiwald at maddiesuniversity@maddiesfund.org

Thank you!!