This past week, I was honored to give the keynote presentation at the 34th Annual Governor’s Conference on the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect in Wichita, Kansas. There were 600 child protection professionals in attendance and my topic was “The Co-Occurrence of Animal Abuse and Violence to Humans.” I love teaching on that topic because it demonstrates how everyone, regardless of profession, can get involved to protect animals thereby keeping families and communities safer. Many people initially do not make the connection of how they can help; afterwards, I am surrounded by people who want to express that they now understand how they can contribute to helping animals.

If you work in the human services field (child or adult protection, domestic violence prevention, homelessness services), you encounter families everyday that are in need of help, most of which have pets that also need help. It is easy to see how those helping professions can benefit the protection of animals. But what if you are an engineer, radio talk show host, mystery novel writer, greeter at Walmart, or construction worker? How can those people help animals as part of their work? In my next book on How to Become an Animal Advocate (due out Fall 2011), I outline how everyone can help. For example: an engineer could help to design pet-friendly cages/enclosures for an animal shelter; a radio talk show host or novelist could feature animal protection issues; a greeter at Walmart or other store can keep an ear out for people who verbally express frustration or help for their pet and offer some friendly advice (I’m always amazed at what I overhear people say in stores); and a construction worker may encounter a stray cat or dog, or a litter of puppies or kittens and help get them to safety. Regardless of your profession, humans encounter animals everyday. By simply taking a moment to notice the animals around you and lending a helping hand when an animal in need crosses your path, we can all work toward a better society where animals are cherished.

I would love to hear from you on whether you have been able to connect your work to help animals. Please post a comment and it may be included in my next book!