Relationship Building With Humane Societies/Shelters

Let Us Help You Foster a Relationship with Your Local Humane Society, Rescue or Animal Shelter

At the MVMA we know our members face their own unique challenges when it comes to operating in their local communities.

Often animal shelters and rescue organizations operate independently from local veterinary practices instead of acting as partners. But we should remember that everyone has one thing in common: the desire to see positive outcomes in the treatment and welfare of animals.

Tech and AnimalRelationship Building Resources

Building Bridges: Developing Good Relationships Between Animal Care and Control Agencies

Presented by Dr. Cathy Anderson, Jackson County Animal Shelter

Dr. Anderson's Presentation featured on MVMA's YouTube Channel

Animal shelters, humane societies and rescue groups face many challenges including high euthanasia rates, staffing shortages and a lack of funding. Veterinarians struggle to get pet owners to maintain responsible pet health care, to pay off their enormous debts from veterinary school and lack an understanding of the shelter situation. The purpose of this program is to teach participants how to build a cooperative relationship between veterinarians and animal care and control agencies. In addition, the presentation will help you:

  • Identify realities of each group with definitions and statistics
  • Clarify misunderstandings
  • Identify common goals
  • Identify perceptions and vocabulary that present barriers to collaboration
  • Promote the development of trust through mutual understanding and respect
  • Identify examples of successful collaborative relationships

MVMA member, Dr. Cathy Anderson, designed the Building Bridges program as a way to improve relationships between private practitioners and animal welfare organizations. Dr. Anderson has presented to classes at Michigan State University’s College of Veterinary of Medicine, at the Michigan Partnership for Animal Welfare Conference, at Michigan’s No-Kill Conference, to the Pennsylvania Veterinary Medical Association, and to numerous local groups in Michigan.

Dr. Anderson’s primary position is as Jackson County Animal Shelter’s shelter medicine veterinarian. She is a member of the Animal Welfare and Legislative Committees of the MVMA. She is an adjunct professor at Baker College of Clinton Township where she teaches in the veterinary technology program, and is one of the founding members of PAWS Pet Rescue out of Brighton.

KittenCatalyst Connection: Forever Homes Forever Health Toolkit

Presented by the CATalyst Council

As a non-profit entity, CATalyst Council is a national leader in creating resources to help foster positive veterinary-shelter partnerships. They have developed materials to assist and guide you as you begin a connection or grow the one you already have.

Toolkit Guide
An overview of each component of the Catalyst Connection Toolkit. Find out briefly how each of the materials below can help you develop a valuable partnership and encourage pet owners to take proper care of their pets.

An overview of Catalyst Connection that includes important information on the reasons behind the initiative and ways it can benefit your facility and community.

Truth in Numbers
A detailed look into the current trends that surround pet ownership and how they affect animal shelters and veterinary clinics.

Reasons for Your Clinic to Participate
What your practice can gain through participation in the Catalyst Connection--more clients, improved care for the pets in your community and a decreased number of owner relinquishments to your local animal care and control agency.

Reasons for Your Shelter to Participate
What your shelter or rescue organization can gain through participation in the Catalyst Connection-improved client education, better care for pets after adoption and fewer relinquishments after adoption.

Examples of Successful Partnerships
Samples of other partnerships that have already seen success from working together in their communities

Terminology Guide
A list of outdated terms along with some friendly alternatives.

Resource Guide
Educational resources to help strengthen partnerships


Partnership Materials

3 Steps to Getting Started

A step-by-step guide to contacting other facilities in your area and beginning a conversation about working together toward a common goal.

Letter/Email Templates

These templates provide suggestions on how to craft a letter or email to another facility inviting them to meet and discuss the possibility of teaming up.

Memorandum of Agreement

A template for you and another facility to use when creating a written agreement pertaining to the structure of your partnership and your commitment to specified goals.

Michigan Veterinary Medical Association

2144 Commons Parkway
Okemos, MI 48864-3986



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