“Business of Saving Lives” Seminar Hosted in La Paz

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The various organisations working to help animals in Baja California Sur take various stances about how that can be achieved. Some put their time, energy and money into sterilization campaigns, others put an emphasis on building animal refuges, and still others work on education and campaigning.

But the animal welfare devotees who came together on 21 June 2014 for a seminar and networking event were united by their commonalities, rather than separated by their differences. They had come to hear a presentation by Renee Resko, Vice President of Development for the Helen Woodward Animal Centre in San Diego.

Established over 40 years ago, the Helen Woodward Animal Centre has become one of the most respected animal facilities in the world, and calculates that its various programs have saved or helped 7 million animals.

The seminar was part of the annual “Business of Saving Lives” conference, which attracts participants to the San Diego centre from around the world who want to learn about more effective ways to find new families for animals in need, and thus reduce the toll of euthanized cats and dogs.

Renee spoke on fund-raising, adoption and foster, and from the outset, the discussions among those attending were lively and wide-reaching, and touched on many other useful areas. “It was one of the most engaged groups I have ever worked with,” said Renee.

The generous passing of information between groups and individuals was noteworthy. “People had come to listen, learn and share, and it was great,” commented Penny Cottee, animal welfare volunteer who organized the seminar for Renee in La Paz.

Renee had offered to take a day out of her vacation and give a free workshop for anyone interested.  Penny knew that many people would be interested, and she volunteered to spread the word and set up the event. “The ethos of Helen Woodward is to share information as freely and widely as possible, so I wanted Renee’s presentation to be available to anyone in the state who would find it helpful,” she explained.

Groups and individuals came from towns as far apart as Santa Rosalia (Hagamos Mas and Cresca), and La Ventana (Bark for Baja), and from Cabo (Humanitarian Society of Los Cabos). Several La Paz groups attended, including Huellitas del Corazon, MIAU Gatito, Humanitarian Society of La Paz, and the newest refuge on the block, K9 Rancho del Perro.

After the seminar, participants were invited to stay for a networking lunch, to continue to exchange contacts and forge links for the future.

The event was held at the delightful beachfront Bed and Breakfast, Casa Kootenay, in La Posada, La Paz, which owner Leeanne Vanderkooi generously donated for the event. The only cost for participants was a buffet lunch, prepared and served fresh on-site by caterers Artecrea Bugambilias.

The event has already brought link-ups between groups. For example, two organisations are discussing a joint sterilisation clinic, one established group has shared all its routine documentation and form templates with a newer group, while another refuge is floating the idea of an association of animal welfare groups in Baja Sur, and possibly even a system of accreditation. It is hoped that more such moves will follow and that the few resources in the state dedicated to helping animals can be used to greater effect through partnerships and mutual support.

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