Last week we introduced you to the new name of our weekly newsletter – LifeLearn Unleashed. This week we are including what I hope will be a weekly new addition to our newsletter and that is a few words from me. I have the amazing honor to lead a team of passionate professionals at LifeLearn and in my role I am exposed to so many things that just confirms time and time again the importance of pets and the incredible work that the animal health industry does.
In my first article I wanted to share a recent experience I had. On the evening of September 18th, I had the pleasure to attend Pet Night on Capitol Hill in Washington DC. Hosted by HABRI (Human Animal Bond Research Institute, which LifeLearn is a sponsor and supporter of), the Pet Food Institute, and the Pet Leadership Council, Pet Night brings the power of pets to Capitol Hill, delivering the message to the elected representatives in the USA that pets are important for human health and quality of life. Pet Night convenes elected representatives, industry leaders, the veterinary community, animal welfare advocates and research organizations about the importance of pet ownership in America and the growing scientific evidence that pet ownership leads to improved wellbeing for both people and animals.
This event was attended by close to 500 people, several dogs and lots of media. Also in attendance was King, 2019’s Westminster’s Best in Show Winner and Henry, the star of the Imax Film, Superpower Dogs (I even got Henry’s autograph, or pawgraph). All kidding aside there were several speeches including one by Congressman Roger Marshall, who share some of the important work that the US Congress has done in the passing of The Pet and Women Safety (PAWs) Act which was passed into law on December 20, 2018 (https://awionline.org/content/pet-and-women-safety-paws-act).
The PAWS Act was introduced to respond to the crisis of domestic abuse by helping programs provide shelter and housing assistance for the companion animal of domestic violence victims. Congressman Roger Marshall also talked about the incredible work that Purina is doing through their Purple Leash Project (www.purpleleashproject.com). Through this project Purina is committing more than $500,000 through 2022 to establish Purple Leash grants. The grants will be awarded on a biannual basis to provide funding and resources to transform domestic violence shelters into safe spaces for survivors with pets.
While these programs are only in the USA, great work is also being done in Canada. Two examples of this are the SafePet Program in Ontario (https://www.ovma.org/pet-owners/safepet-program/) and the work that Dr. Michelle Lem is doing through her non-profit Community Veterinary Outreach and their work on Animal Care Guidelines for Emergency Co-Sheltering.
Also celebrated during Pet Night on Capitol Hill was the Cutest Dog, Cat and Exotic on Capitol Hill. This years winners were Zoey – Cutest Dog, Senator – Cutest Exotic and Charlotte – Cutest Cat.
This is a very small example of the incredible and very important work, and in many ways silent work, that veterinarians, veterinary staff and the animal health industry is doing. In future articles I hope to share other examples.
President & CEO