Making A Difference... At Conferences, And Beyond!

Sunday, Sep 30, 2018


Here at Sparkie, we try to sponsor or attend an animal welfare-related event every year. It’s a great way to stay connected to the national animal rescue community and learn more about the latest trends in the space.

This year, Kelly and Brownie (yes, our 3-legged canine mascot came along!) had the opportunity to attend the ‘ Making a Difference Now, Kentucky’ animal welfare conference on September 21st. It was a great day of learning and networking with wonderful speakers, representatives from Best Friends, and, of course, amazing local rescue groups!

This year, we were proud to be an official sponsor of the conference!

Data, data, data

“Help us turn data into lives”

- Marc Peralta, Sr. Director, Regional Programs of Best Friends

A common thread throughout all the talks given was the importance of DATA, DATA, DATA; in fact, we noticed the topic came up in about every 5th sentence! And we couldn’t agree more. Without data, animal rescuer groups may struggle to prove their impact or make the case for receiving grants or support from government organizations. The bottomline is that data unlocks opportunity.

Data - recording it, reporting it, and analyzing it, was a key theme of the conference - and we couldn't agree more!

Collaboration is key

Another area of focus during the conference was the importance of collaboration across different animal welfare groups. Creating communities that work together was cited as one of the best ways to go about giving more companion animals positive outcomes. In particular, building a coalition that is committed to reaching a common goal (for example, a 90% save rate in Kentucky) is what many states around the country are doing with the help of Best Friends and their local animal welfare groups.

Community Oriented

The final topic we picked up on during the conference was the importance of being community oriented. We particularly enjoyed the talk by Kenny Lamberti, Best Friends Southeast Regional Director, who spoke about dispelling some of the myths and fears people have about entering and working in communities they aren't familiar with. We loved that he encouraged people to get out of their comfort zones and emphasized that “the more informed and culturally humble and competent we are as animal professionals, the better we can serve all communities.”

Awesome pictures!

O.K., maybe not a theme of the conference, but we can’t help and share our favorite photos from MADNKY!

“So, what do you think about data?” Brownie asks a fellow canine attendee (by the way, check out his cool Sparkie t-shirt!
As part of our sponsorship we had the chance to pick a prize to auction off. We chose everyone’s favorite - an Amazon gift card! Here’s Kelly with the winner (rocking a Sparkie polo)
Brownie preps for his important role of attention grabber and Sparkie ambassador at the MADNKY conference…we think he did a pretty good job :)
Like Brownie here in his very own plane seat, we see the possibilities for all rescuers getting access to better technology!