Igniting Animal Welfare through Technology
Celebrating National Adopt a Shelter Pet Day
In today’s digital world we see every day how technology is transforming lives – and for me, that also means helping animals in need. April 30 is National Adopt a Shelter Pet Day, and to ensure success, we need to employ technology to improve lifesaving efforts, whether assisting in search engine results, boosting social media, running shelters, or helping shelters and support organizations collaborate.
Animals are an important part of my life, and at one point my family included 17 indoor cats! That may be hard for some people to imagine, but it was our way of making a difference. Since 2003, I’ve served on the Board of the Humane Society Silicon Valley and now also serve as CIO of Maddie’s Fund, a national family foundation established by Dave and Cheryl Duffield to revolutionize the status and well-being of companion animals. I have been able to merge two important themes in my life: serving animal welfare by using technology to make a purpose-driven difference.
How Technology is Transforming Animal Welfare
Technology is helping create a new level of interoperability between funding organizations, shelters and technology partners. Technology helps stakeholders more effectively work toward the same goal of saving lives by sharing knowledge, resources and information.
Here are five ways technology is making an immediate impact:
PROMOTING ADOPTION: The Shelter Pet Project connects various organizations with a goal of emptying shelters through adoption.
PROVIDING EDUCATION: sites like Maddie’s Pet Forum and Maddie’s Pet Assistant help people interact with others or learn how to introduce a new pet into the home. Maddie’s University, a free learning management system for animal shelters to train staff and volunteers, as well as providing online certifications and continuing education for veterinarians.
DEVELOPING APPS: apps like Adopt-a-Pet and Paws Like Me make it easier than ever to connect people to animals in need. These types of technology solutions pull data from shelter systems into apps, including animal background, microchips and medical records.
SEARCH: Ensure search engines are working seamlessly with tools and apps to connect pets to people.
CONNECTING NETWORKS: Systems like Maddie’s Pet Forum are helping connect emerging networks of people, especially during times of crisis, to coordinate where people can volunteer and animals can be taken for assistance when areas are overwhelmed, or transfer based on demand.
Since my first board member role with the Human Society Silicon Valley16 years ago, I’ve been able to focus on influencing and educating others around technology applications to help drive success and awareness for animal welfare. Today my role as a consulting Partner with StrataFusion, allows me to be part of a group of community-minded technology executives.
In this age of digital intelligence, resources are a big challenge when it comes to non-profits and community organizations. And let’s face it, technology solutions are expensive, especially when it comes to staffing and talent. It is crucial for people with deep technology experience to get involved — because the world needs the help.
You Can Help
While animal welfare was the natural choice for me, there are so many organizations that need volunteers and board members who can help guide operations and enable success. You don’t have to share your home with 17 cats to make a meaningful difference — you can share your expertise as a volunteer or a board member to help others.
The bottom line is that passionate people are change agents, and we all have something special to offer – especially a home to a shelter pet.
Lars Rabbe, StrataFusion Partner and CIO at Maddie’s Fund