It’s a long journey bringing an entire state to no-kill. And, like every epic road trip, it’s good every once in a while to stop and celebrate how far you’ve come and renew your focus on where you’re going. Best Friends and its No-Kill Utah (NKUT) Coalition partners will be doing just that March 18 and 19 in Salt Lake City.
Party like lifesaving rock stars
To celebrate the accomplishments of NKUT’s second year, Best Friends will host a public celebration March 18 from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Wasatch Brew Pub in Sugar House.
“The anniversary celebration is our way of thanking Utahns for their support, and it’s also a great time to update everyone on our progress toward no-kill,” says Kim McDaniel, communications manager for Best Friends. “Wasatch Brew Pub is generously donating the space and will keep the appetizers coming. And of course we’ll have vegan cupcakes.”
The festivities include a membership table where NKUT T-shirts will be given to everyone who makes a $25 donation. “This will be a fun event, bringing animal lovers together. The public is a big part of this NKUT celebration,” says Kim.
What the future holds
While encouraging statistics show that Utah is getting closer to the goal every day, the road ahead is bumpy. Things like saving the lives of orphaned newborn kittens and dogs and cats with medical needs — the hardest groups of animals to help — pose the biggest speed bumps to reaching no-kill.
Best Friends wants to make sure its partners can effectively navigate the rest of the road to no-kill. So that’ll be the discussion during the annual No-Kill Utah Coalition meeting on Saturday, March 19.
“This one-day meeting is really about building our partners’ capacity to address some of the animals who are the hardest to help,” says Tracy Kelley, NKUT Coalition manager. “We want to help them build their financial and volunteer capacity, specifically in order for them to avoid burnout.”
Pat Guerrero, Best Friends’ own national volunteer manager, will be on hand to share her ideas and strategies for recruiting and, more importantly, making the best possible use of volunteers. Volunteers help spread out the workload so no one person has to carry a heavier load on his or her shoulders.
Accessing dependable help will also be the topic of a presentation by Melissa Lipani, Best Friends No More Homeless Pets Network specialist.
“Coalition partners are automatically members of the network, but many don’t realize that,” says Tracy. “They don’t know they can take advantage of those special perks, like participating in adoption promotions, applying for grants and having the one-on-one relationship with a specialist who can help them with whatever they need.”
Beyond the presentations, the annual gathering gives NKUT Coalition partners the chance to meet face-to-face, create relationships, find opportunities to collaborate together and also meet the local Best Friends team.
“Maybe 15 years ago, it was more difficult getting shelters and rescue groups to work effectively together,” says Tracy. “This spirit of collaboration and teamwork has really caught on with the formation of the No-Kill Utah Coalition. Since then, we’ve probably doubled the number of people attending these meetings.”
And the more people who gather together and work in unison, the easier it will be to navigate the road ahead to a no-kill state.