Beyond Steering: Education Pays Dividends


Marion Emo, Chief Executive Officer, Hamilton/Burlington SPCA

There are three important things we can do for our pets’ health and well-being: get them spayed/neutered, seeing a vet regularly for preventative care and getting our new friends microchipped for safe return home if they get lost.

The Hamilton/Burlington SPCA, local veterinarians, the OVMA, Royal Canin and Cat Healthy collaborated to ensure forever homes last forever. The "Teaming up for Cats" project in Fall 2015 helped educate new pet parents about follow-up care post adoption and the role of a veterinarian throughout a cat’s life. All cat adopters were encouraged to choose a vet, and then the cat’s medical history and a copy of the completed adoption checklist was sent to the vet prior to the first visit.

The legacy of this project has transformed adoption practices at the shelter. The Cat Healthy Adoption Checklist™ is a fully integrated feature in the adoption process. As important, a majority of adopters without a vet are now choosing a veterinary practice at point of adoption or within a week of adoption.


  1. Acquire insight into teaching tools for adoption staff and volunteers.
  2. Learn how to practically and effectively have open conversations about choosing a vet.
  3. Learn how to engage your veterinarian community by participating in the “Teaming up for Cats” campaign.

Marion Emo is the CEO of the Hamilton/Burlington SPCA, a private, non-profit animal welfare charity that has existed for 130 years. A priority focus over the last four years has been nurturing a culture of learning and best practice for animal welfare and shelter intervention.