Helen Woodward Animal Center

Helen Woodward Animal Center (HWAC)Headquartered in San Diego, CA and founded roughly 40 years ago, the folks at the Helen Woodward Animal Centr, in my humble opinion, are some of the most knowledgeable and caring animal rescuers and lovers on Earth. The Center is another no-kill center that focuses on education, rescue, adoption and, believe it or not, animal-assisted therapy for kids, teens and adults who have disabilities and diseases like PTSD, cancer, etc.. They are very well-regarded among other non-profits. They partner every holiday season (for over 15 years) to hold the world’s biggest event and adoption drive: Blue Buffalo Home for the Holidays. Since 1999, the campaign has found over 9,000,000 animals permanent loving homes – which is noteworthy to say the least and totally unbelievable! Their website is another one that has a ton of information on everything from SoCal adoptions and events to fostering; plus, the CEO, Mike Arms, has one of the most well-regarded industry blogs-he is not looking for funds, asking for support or anything like that. He simply wishes to educate Americans (and everyone) on the plight of shelter pets. Arms himself is also one of the most well-respected figures in animal rescue and rehab in the entire world at this point… At a recent BlogPaws conference, he discussed the group’s commitment, his outlook on the negative connotation associated with the term “shelter pet,” and how much his group’s ACES program can help new rescues (see Awesome).  This group also has many events, including Run/Walks, Surf Dog Surf-A-Thon and more!

The Good: A ton of resources online; you can ask a trainer or a vet a question; you can even find support if you’re suffering from pet loss grief….

The Awesome:  Certain therapy programs – like Pet Encounter Therapy, are free. They have one of the most well-respected Equine Vet Hospitals in the country and offer horse-back rising for disabled children. HWAC also has one of the most amazing multi-day educational sessions for new rescue centers to attend so they can learn the basics, the ins and outs of running a rescue, called Animal Center Education Services (ACES Workshop).  I got a taste of this at BlogPaws and it was… well, I have no words! Rescue-runners learn everything from how to get desperately-needed funding and market themselves to how to get more adoptions and function better overall; hands-down one of the best animal education seminars I’ve attended (and I’ve been to a lot) and this was a mini-version of the real one…