Maddie's Insights: Practical tips based on current research to help pets and people

These one-hour webinars have been pre-approved for 1.0 Certified Animal Welfare Administrator continuing education credits by The Association for Animal Welfare Advancement and by the National Animal Care & Control Association.

Some of the webcasts in this series have also been approved for 1 hour of continuing education credit in jurisdictions which recognize RACE approval.

 

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  • Contains 5 Component(s), Includes Credits

    Understand the emotional aspects of providing foster care and identify ways to better support volunteers so that they are satisfied and more likely to continue to provide this service.

    Maddie's® Insights are monthly webcasts with practical tips based on current research to help pets and people.  

    It is commonplace among those who provide foster care for animals to have a recurring conversation with those who do not.  Upon hearing that one is an animal foster parent, a frequent response is, “Oh, I could never do that.  I would not be able to give the animal up.”  But this is precisely what those caring for animal fosters are called to do.  The ability of animal shelters and rescues to provide critical care through foster homes depends on volunteers who willingly and temporarily take animals into their homes and lives.  Studies of foster volunteers have indicated that they find taking care of animals with medical, and particularly behavioral, issue to be stressful.  And, volunteers that do not feel that their shelter is providing them sufficient emotional support are more likely to think about quitting.  Given these two realities, it becomes important for shelter staff to understand the emotional aspects of providing foster care and to identify ways to better support volunteers so that they are satisfied and more likely to continue to provide this service. 

    The presentation addresses these issues with the following learning objectives:

    ·      What is the nature of attachment (human-animal bond) between volunteers and their foster animals?

    ·      What emotions do volunteers experience when their fosters leave their care?

    ·      What coping and resilience strategies appear to reduce the stress of providing foster care?

    ·      How can animal shelters help foster volunteers cope with the stress inherent to fostering?

    Presenter: Laura A. Reese, PhD, Professor, Departments of Urban and Regional Planning, Global Urban Studies, and Political Science, Michigan State University

    This webinar has been pre-approved for 1.0 Certified Animal Welfare Administrator continuing education credits by The Association for Animal Welfare Advancement and by the National Animal Care & Control Association. It is also for approved for 1 hour of continuing education credit in jurisdictions which recognize RACE approval until 02/06/2026. Complete the quiz to earn continuing education credit for CAWA and NACA.

    Visit Maddie's Pet Forum to comment, follow a discussion or ask questions: https://maddies.fund/MIwebcastsFosterCareHumanAnimalBond

    keywords  Maddie's Insights, Laura A. Reese, foster care, animal welfare, human-animal bond, coping and resilience strategies for foster caregivers, foster pets, foster caregiving

  • Contains 5 Component(s), Includes Credits

    Learn how you can use short-term fostering programs to improve the welfare of dogs in your shelter as they await adoption.

    Maddie's® Insights are monthly webcasts with practical tips based on current research to help pets and people.  

    Animal shelters can be stressful for dogs, but human interaction, such as foster caregiving, can improve their experience. In this webcast, Dr. Gunter will discuss multiple studies she and her team have carried out as part of the Arizona State University/Virginia Tech Maddie’s Nationwide Fostering Study in which we studied the effects of field trip and sleepover programs on the welfare of dogs living in shelters. Their initial studies investigated the physiological impacts of these programs, and their published study examined how field trips and sleepovers influenced dogs’ likelihood of adoption and length of stay. They also explored factors related to the performance of these programs. Overall, their findings support the implementation of these programs. Learn how you can use short-term fostering programs to improve the welfare of dogs in your shelter as they await adoption.

    Learning objectives:

    •  Describe potential stressors that make shelters stressful for dogs

    •  Relate how human social interaction can improve the welfare of dogs in the shelter

    •  Extrapolate the different activities dogs likely engage in during field trips and sleepovers

    •  Discuss the research findings about field trips and sleepovers

    •  Differentiate how field trips and sleepovers impact dogs’ proximate and distal welfare

    Presenter: Lisa Gunter, PhD, Assistant Professor of Animal Behavior and Welfare, Virginia Tech

    This webinar has been pre-approved for 1.0 Certified Animal Welfare Administrator continuing education credits by The Association for Animal Welfare Advancement and by the National Animal Care & Control Association. It has also been submitted for approval for 1 hour of continuing education credit in jurisdictions which recognize RACE approval. Complete the quiz to earn continuing education credit for CAWA, NACA and RACE. RACE CE is available until January 10, 2026.

    Visit Maddie's Pet Forum to comment, follow a discussion or ask questions: https://maddies.fund/MIwebcast...

    keywords  Maddie's Insights, Lisa Gunter, animal foster care, animal welfare, human-animal bond, shelter dog field trips, shelter dog sleepovers, stress in shelter dogs

  • Contains 5 Component(s), Includes Credits

    Current research on the Family Bondedness Scale and the implications of the results in both veterinary research and practice

    Maddie's® Insights are monthly webcasts with practical tips based on current research to help pets and people.  

    The Family Bondedness Scale (FBS) was designed to measure scores which represent the degree to which a person is emotionally and affectionately bonded to a pet as a member of their family. This presentation will cover the development and use of and research to date on the FBS when measuring equivalence between cat and dog owners. Dr. Nugent will go over the rationale for the scale, what it is intended to measure, how it was developed, how scores on the scale should be interpreted and how it should be scored and used. He also discusses current research on the scale and the implications of the results in both veterinary research and practice.

    Presenter: William R. Nugent, PhD, Professor at the College of Social Work, The University of Tennessee in Knoxville, TN

    This webinar has been pre-approved for 1.0 Certified Animal Welfare Administrator continuing education credits by The Association for Animal Welfare Advancement and by the National Animal Care & Control Association. It has also been approved for 1 hour of continuing education credit in jurisdictions which recognize RACE approval. Complete the quiz to earn continuing education credit for CAWA, NACA and RACE. RACE CE (non-medical) is available until 10/23/2025.

    Visit Maddie's Pet Forum to comment, follow a discussion or ask questions: https://maddies.fund/MIwebcast...

    keywords  Maddie's Insights, William R. Nugent, Family Bondedness Scale, animal well-being, keeping pets and people together

  • Contains 5 Component(s), Includes Credits

    Results of a study that explored the relationship between BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) communities with their companion animals

    Maddie's® Insights are monthly webcasts with practical tips based on current research to help pets and people.  

    Catherine Kisavi-Atatah PhD will share the findings of her publication, Examining the Relationship between BIPOC Communities and Their Companion Animals. This study explored the relationship between BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) communities with their companion animals, using Attachment Theory as a lens of analysis. Findings suggest that public and private policy decision-makers should develop and implement holistic, across-the-board, companion animal policies that are user-friendly to all.

     Learning Objectives:

    ·      Understand the complexities of the multifaceted aspects of the relationship between Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) communities and their companion animals, including historical, cultural and socio-economic factors

    ·      Identify the unique challenges and barriers that BIPOC communities encounter in accessing veterinary care, resources and support for their companion animals, and evaluate the implications for both the animals and communities

    ·      Understand the significance of cultural competency and diversity in veterinary medicine and animal welfare; analyze how these factors influence the provision of care and support to BIPOC individuals and their communities

    ·      Evaluate policy recommendations and practical insights presented in the paper to better support BIPOC communities in their relationship with companion animals, and consider the broader implications for public policies, animal welfare organizations, and community initiatives

    Presenter: Catherine Kisavi-Atatah Ph.D., Professor, Health and Human Performance Department, Prairie View A&M University 

    This webinar has been pre-approved for 1.0 Certified Animal Welfare Administrator continuing education credits by The Association for Animal Welfare Advancement and by the National Animal Care & Control Association. It has also been approved for 1 hour of continuing education credit in jurisdictions which recognize RACE approval. Complete the quiz to earn continuing education credit for CAWA, NACA and RACE. RACE CE is valid until 9/18/2025.

    Visit Maddie's Pet Forum to comment, follow a discussion or ask questions: https://maddies.fund/MIwebcast...



    keywords  Maddie's Insights, Catherine Kisavi-Atatah PhD, BIPOC communities and their pets, Black, Indigenous, and People of Color communities and their companion animals, challenges and barriers that BIPOC communities, cultural competency and diversity in veterinary medicine and animal welfare, resources and support for BIPOC communities and their pets,

  • Contains 5 Component(s), Includes Credits

    Learn the results and potential impact on length of stay of a study in which researchers recorded all the social behavior occurring between cats living in group housing and compared cats who were introduced at the shelter versus those who were surrendered together

    Maddie's® Insights are monthly webcasts with practical tips based on current research to help pets and people.  

    Little is known about the social behavior of cats living in group housing at shelters. In a series of studies, Dr. Suchak and her research team recorded all the social behavior occurring between cats living in group housing and compared cats who were introduced at the shelter versus those who were surrendered together. They then followed up by specifically examining social behavior between cats who were labeled as bonded pairs or adopted together. Cats who were labeled as bonded pairs had a longer time to adoption, but the relationship between this designation and social behavior was weak. Recommendations will be provided for identifying bonded pairs.

    Learning Objectives:
    1. Identify positive social (prosocial, affiliative) behavior in cats
    2. Understand that being surrendered together is not adequate evidence for bonding
    3. Recognize the link between behavior and social bonding in cats

    Program Agenda:

    • General overview of social behavior in cats
    • Review of research regarding social behavior in group housed shelter cats and the impact of bonded pairs on adoption times
    • Limitations of identifying bondedness in cats
    • Recommendations for identifying bonded pairs

    Presenter: Malini Suchak, PhD, Associate Professor of Animal Behavior, Animal Cognition and Animal Well-being at Canisius University in Buffalo, NY.

    This webinar has been pre-approved for 1.0 Certified Animal Welfare Administrator continuing education credits by The Association for Animal Welfare Advancement and by the National Animal Care & Control Association. It has also been approved for 1 hour of continuing education credit in jurisdictions which recognize RACE approval. Complete the quiz to earn continuing education credit for CAWA, NACA and RACE. RACE CE is valid until 9/6/2025.

    Visit Maddie's Pet Forum to comment, follow a discussion or ask questions: https://maddies.fund/MIwebcastsBondedPairs

    keywords  Maddie's Insights, Malini Suchak, PhD, , animal well-being, animal welfare, scientific assessment of animal well-being, care for shelter animals, mental experiences of animals, animal behavior, cats living in group housing at shelters, bonded pairs, positive social behavior in cats, behavior and social bonding in cats, impact of bonded pairs on adoption times, identifying bonded pairs of cats

  • Contains 5 Component(s), Includes Credits

    How animal shelters and rescues contribute to problematic representations of disability -- and how these practices can harm animals.

    Maddie's® Insights are monthly webcasts with practical tips based on current research to help pets and people.  

    Many animal shelters and rescues unwittingly perpetuate ableism through their engagements with disabled animals, even when they are trying to help these animals. In this session, we will explore how animal shelters and rescues contribute to problematic representations of disability and engage in practices that harm these animals. We will explore strategies for challenging ableism and better serving disabled animals.

    Learning Objectives:
    By the conclusion of this session, participants should be able to

    - Define ableism and the dis/ability system
    - Recognize ableist representations of animals and people
    - Identify and rework personal or organizational practices that support ableism to support better outcomes for disabled animals

    Presenter: Katja M. Guenther, Professor of Gender & Sexuality Studies, University of California, Riverside, and author of The Lives and Deaths of Shelter Animals

    This webinar has been pre-approved for 1.0 Certified Animal Welfare Administrator continuing education credits by The Association for Animal Welfare Advancement and by the National Animal Care & Control Association. It has also been approved for 1 hour of continuing education credit in jurisdictions which recognize RACE approval. Complete the quiz to earn continuing education credit for CAWA, NACA and RACE.

    Visit Maddie's Pet Forum to comment, follow a discussion or ask questions: https://maddies.fund/MIwebcastsAbleism

    keywords  Maddie's Insights, Katja M. Guenther, animal well-being, animal welfare, scientific assessment of animal well-being, care for shelter animals, mental experiences of animals, animal behavior, disabled animals, animal sheltering, serving disabled animals, problematic representations of disability, animal care, behavior, training & enrichment, case management

  • Contains 3 Component(s), Includes Credits

    Basic scientific research informs our understanding of the stress dogs undergo in a shelter environment


    Maddie's Insights are monthly webcasts with practical tips based on current research to help pets and people.


    In this program, Dr. Michael Hennessy, Professor in the Department of Psychology, Wright State University, is joined by Regina Willen, Founder and Director at HALO K9 Behavior. They discuss how basic scientific research informs our understanding of the stress dogs undergo in a shelter environment. They also examine immediate effects of entry to a shelter as well as potential long-term consequences. How basic research findings suggest practicable means for reducing or preventing these outcomes was also considered.


    The information contained in webinars and related materials has been prepared, compiled, or provided by Maddie’s Fund as a service to webinar participants and is not intended to constitute the rendering of legal, consulting, or other professional services of any kind. The opinions expressed by webinar presenters are their own and do not necessarily represent those of Maddie’s Fund.


    This webinar has been pre-approved for 1.0 Certified Animal Welfare Administrator continuing education credits by The Association for Animal Welfare Advancement and by the National Animal Care & Control Association.

    Visit Maddie's Pet Forum to comment, follow a discussion or ask questions: https://maddies.fund/MIwebcast...


    keywords canine stress in dog shelters, canine behavior, shelter dogs, foster care for shelter dogs, animal sheltering, foster care, canine training, dog behavior, cortisol in dogs, managing stress in shelter dogs, reducing stress in shelter dogs


  • Contains 3 Component(s), Includes Credits

    Recent research found that the term “pain” is not just a metaphor but is based on the finding that social pain is processed in the same brain regions where physical pain is processed. This has been found in canines as well as humans and thus can impact the way we treat shelter dogs.

    The experience of unpleasant emotions is often referred to as “emotional pain”, such as when someone loses a loved one. The emotions that arise when one’s social bonds with another are impaired or lost – such as feelings of isolation, loneliness, and rejection – comprise one type of emotional pain, called “social pain”. Recent research has found that the term “pain” is not just a metaphor but is based on the finding that social pain is processed in the same brain regions where physical pain is processed. In addition, similar drugs can alleviate both physical and social pain. For social species, like elephants, horses, sheep, rats, guinea pigs, dogs, and humans, social pain plays a powerful role in one’s well-being and quality of life. For today’s domestic dog, the issue may be of greater importance than for any other species on Earth. Evidence indicates that through domestication the emotional bonding propensity of dogs toward humans has been greatly amplified, which appears to have resulted in both greater joy for dogs when in the company of humans, but also greater suffering when denied human companionship. Only by educating all those who care for dogs will “man’s best friend” receive the care they so strongly deserve.

    Presenter: Franklin D. McMillan, DVM

    Visit Maddie's Pet Forum to comment, follow a discussion or ask questions: https://maddies.fund/MIwebcast...

    This webinar has been pre-approved for 1.0 Certified Animal Welfare Administrator continuing education credits by The Association for Animal Welfare Advancement and by the National Animal Care & Control Association.

    keywords shelter dogs, canine behavior, stress in dogs, social pain in dogs, emotional pain in dogs, emotional bonding with animals, human animal bond, Franklin D. McMillan, Dr. Frank McMillan



  • Contains 3 Component(s), Includes Credits

    Key takeaways from a recent study on canine foster caregiving for foster recruitment, trial adoption programs, caregiving practices, and behavioral support that can be utilized in our post-pandemic world.

    Maddie's Insights are monthly webcasts with practical tips based on current research to help pets and people.

    Presenter: Dr. Lisa Gunter, Assistant Professor, Coastal Carolina University

    On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization deemed the coronavirus outbreak a worldwide pandemic, and subsequently a nationwide emergency was declared in the United States. During this time, media outlets reported increased interest in foster caregiving and adoption of shelter pets. In this talk, Dr. Gunter will describe her research team's examination of canine foster caregiving at 19 US animal shelters during the first four months of the COVID-19 pandemic and what they learned about shelters' utilization of foster caregiving, the foster caregivers and their relationships to the shelter, and how monetary resources influenced foster caregiving and dog outcomes. Specifically, Dr. Gunter discusses key takeaways for foster recruitment, trial adoption programs, caregiving practices, and behavioral support that can be utilized in our post-pandemic world.

    This webinar has been pre-approved for 1.0 Certified Animal Welfare Administrator continuing education credits by The Association for Animal Welfare Advancement and by the National Animal Care & Control Association.

    Visit Maddie's Pet Forum to comment, follow a discussion or ask questions:https://maddies.fund/MIwebcast...


    keywords foster care, adoption, animal sheltering research, Dr. Lisa Gunter, canine foster caregiving study, COVID-19 pandemic, foster recruitment, direct adoption, foster caregiving practices, dog behavioral support, emergency fostering during the COVID-19 pandemic


    Sheila Segurson, DACVB (Moderator)

    Director of Outreach and Research

    Maddie's Fund

    As Director of Outreach and Research for Maddie's Fund®, Dr. Sheila Segurson's goal is to develop and support research that increases pet adoptions from rescue groups and shelters and improves pet well-being. She relies upon her background working in and with animal shelters, pet foster care programs, and veterinary medicine to lead Maddie's Fund research efforts.

    After graduating from UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, Dr. Segurson worked as a general practice/emergency/shelter veterinarian at pet hospitals in California. Then, in 2005, Sheila graduated from Maddie's Shelter Medicine Program at UC Davis, becoming the first in the nation to complete a three-year, post-graduate behavior specialty training program with an emphasis on shelter animals and shelter behavior programs. She worked for several pet welfare organizations, including UC Davis Koret Shelter Medicine Program, The Sacramento SPCA, and the Animal Rescue League of Boston, where she developed and implemented enrichment/behavior modification programs.

    Lisa Gunter, PhD, CBCC-KA

    Assistant Professor

    Coastal Carolina University

    Lisa Gunter, PhD, CBCC-KA is an Assistant Professor at Coastal Carolina University in the Department of Psychology. Before beginning her graduate studies, she worked for nearly a decade with dogs in animal shelters and with pet dogs and their owners. The goal of Lisa's research is to better the lives of companion animals and their owners. To this aim, she has investigated the breed labeling of shelter dogs, their breed heritage, shelter housing and social interactions, temporary and long-term fostering, short-term outings, behavioral indicators of welfare, post-adoption interventions focused on owner retention - and more recently, fostering during the pandemic and safety net programs to help keep people and their pets together. Under the mentorship of Clive Wynne, Lisa earned her Master’s in 2015, and her PhD in 2018 as a graduate student in the behavioral neuroscience and comparative psychology program at Arizona State University. 

  • Contains 3 Component(s), Includes Credits

    Results from a new study using a standardized behavior modification program and daily gabapentin administration to treat fearful cats from hoarding environments.

    Maddie's® Insights are monthly webcasts with practical tips based on current research to help pets and people.  

    Cats entering shelters often experience fear, anxiety, and stress while in care. Mitigating negative states in cats is critical to their health and well-being, especially in populations of fearful cats that are already at risk for poor outcomes. One particularly at-risk population are fearful cats rescued from animal hoarding environments. In this presentation, learn about the results from a study using a standardized behavior modification program and daily gabapentin administration to treat fearful cats from hoarding environments. Further, instructions and resources for conducting behavior modification in shelters will be shared, along with a summary of a growing body of research and in-shelter experience demonstrating that many fearful cats from hoarding environments are treatable in shelters and can have positive outcomes in homes.

    Presenter: Bailey Eagan, MSc, PhD Student, University of British ColumbiaBailey Eagan is a PhD student specializing in animal behavior and welfare in animal shelters. Bailey has a particular interest in conducting applied animal behavior and welfare research and incorporating research findings into animal shelter practice. Bailey’s current work focuses on anxiety-medication use in behavioral treatment plans of shelter animals.

    This webinar has been pre-approved for 1.0 Certified Animal Welfare Administrator continuing education credits by The Association for Animal Welfare Advancement and by the National Animal Care & Control Association.

    Visit Maddie's Pet Forum to comment, follow a discussion or ask questions: https://maddies.fund/MIwebcastGabapentin

    keywords 
    Maddie's Insights, gabapentin, behavior modification for shelter cats, shelter cats, fearful cats, shelter medicine,