Kristen Auerbach—Director of Pima Animal Care Center (PACC), and recognized as a prominent, pioneering figure in the animal shelter world, in part through her previous stints at Austin Animal Center (which became the nation’s largest no-kill shelter), and Fairfax County Animal Services—recalls her earliest days in this field, as a humane officer. As the story goes, she became so horrified by the circumstances of an animal being euthanized, she bolted from the building, and the job. Auerbach describes being crazy about animals as a kid, and how it was almost inevitable that she found herself working with animals, and it’s sheltering great gain that, after fleeing from the humane officer job, she circled back to this line of work. Now that Auerbach’s a shelter veteran—and asked what sort of temperament and traits are most important—she replies, half-joking, that it’s essential to have ADD because you have to be hyper focused on 400 things, and be able to pivot deftly. She addresses the importance of an animal shelter’s culture, and how as a new leader, that culture can be re-shaped. She also spends some time discussing fostering—a hallmark of her groundbreaking work—noting the scientific, research-based studies she and others have conducted on the significant, and fast, impact experienced by shelter dogs when they enter a fostering scenario. On a related note, Auerbach explains that Pima Animal Care Center has received a grant to conduct the world’s largest foster program, aiming, she says, to place upwards of 6000 dogs in foster care.(http://webcms.pima.gov/government/pima_animal_care_center/, https://www.facebook.com/PimaAnimalCareCenter/)
ALSO: I spoke with Maria Diekmann, a conservationist whose efforts to save the pangolin—considered the most trafficked animal on the planet, poached more than elephants and rhinos—are at the center of a documentary called “The World’s Most Wanted Animal” that was to air that night on PBS, as the season finale of “Nature.” (http://www.pbs.org/wnet/nature/worlds-wanted-animal/16169/)
COMEDY CORNER: Hannibal Burress’ “Pigeons Get Murked” (http://hannibalburess.com)
MUSIC: Rebekah Pulley’s “Talking Animals Theme,” instrumentals
NAME THAT ANIMAL TUNE: We didn’t play Name That Animal Tune today.
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