Best Friends Professional Development Symposium

Published: August 10, 2020 | Read Time: 3 minutes

Best Friends Professional Development Symposium: Reaching New Heights in Contemporary Animal Services

Best Friends Professional Development Symposium Offered Sept. 16-17
Presented in Partnership with Southern Utah University (SUU)

Kanab, UTBest Friends Animal Society, a national animal welfare organization devoted to ending the killing of pets in America’s shelters, and Southern Utah University (SUU), are expanding their partnership, offering learning opportunities for practitioners and students in the field of contemporary animal services.

In September 2020, the next building block in the Best Friends – SUU partnership is the new offering of the Best Friends Professional Development Symposium: Reaching New Heights in Contemporary Animal Services. This is a new dynamic online symposium for animal services professionals and students devoted to lifesaving innovation and revolutionary change for pets and people. It will be held Wednesday, Sept. 16 and Thursday, Sept 17.

Julie Castle, CEO of Best Friends Animal Society and an SUU alumna, said the symposium is an example of the nimbleness needed not only in these extraordinary times created by the COVID-19 pandemic, but also to propel the animal welfare profession forward towards the goal of ending the killing of shelter pets by 2025.

"We are thrilled to be engaged in offering new academic and career development opportunities in the field of animal services," said Melynda Thorpe, Southern Utah University Community and Professional Development executive director. "This symposium is thoughtfully designed to provide consolidated access to experts gathering to share best practices and contemporary research to those wishing to enter or polish in their profession, or to anyone wishing to make animal services a field of academic study."

Learn more about the Best Friends Professional Development Symposium and how to register.

In December 2019, Best Friends Animal Society and SUU announced the nation’s first university-endorsed animal services leadership program for working professionals. The Best Friends Executive Leadership Certification (BFELC) is a comprehensive, six-month blended learning program utilizing in-person and online interactive instruction. Training top-level leaders in animal services throughout the nation, the goal of the program is to end the killing of companion animals in shelters.

Summer 2020 saw the launch of the Institutional Certificate in Principles of Contemporary Animal Services, which is for anyone interested in learning more about the animal services field and an opportunity for students to apply academic credits toward an undergraduate or master’s degree.

For more information on all partnership offerings, see

About Best Friends Animal Society

Best Friends Animal Society is a leading national animal welfare organization dedicated to ending the killing of dogs and cats in America's shelters. In addition to running lifesaving programs in partnership with more than 3,100 animal welfare groups across the country, Best Friends has lifesaving centers in New York City, Los Angeles, Atlanta and Salt Lake City, and operates the nation's largest no-kill sanctuary for companion animals. Founded in 1984, Best Friends is a pioneer in the no-kill movement and has helped reduce the number of animals killed in shelters nationwide from an estimated 17 million per year to around 625,000. That means there are still more than 1,700 dogs and cats killed every day in shelters, just because they don’t have safe places to call home. We are determined to bring the country to no-kill by the year 2025. Working collaboratively with shelters, rescue groups, other organizations and you, we will end the killing and Save Them All. To check out our pet lifesaving dashboard and for more information, visit

Join the conversation on, Twitter (@BestFriends) and Instagram (@BestFriendsAnimalSociety).

Tags: Regional Services Community and Professional Development

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