Maya Angelou said, “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.”

This is, in a nutshell, why education is so important to advocacy. If you want people to join your cause, it is critical that they are provided with the information they need to help them understand the issue or issues being addressed and the solutions being proposed. People who “know better” will be able to join in the process of doing better.

The Michigan Humane Society engages in education on a variety of levels. One type of education that directly involves MHS’ Advocacy department is statewide and regional animal welfare training.

For fifteen years, MHS has offered an annual animal welfare conference that has grown to attract animal welfare stakeholders not just from Michigan but also neighboring states, resulting in the conference being dubbed the Great Lakes Animal Welfare Conference (GLAWC). This year’s conference will be held on October 21 and 22 at the Detroit Marriott in the Renaissance Center. GLAWC is the largest Midwest educational conference in the animal welfare field and draws hundreds of attendees to learn about the latest trends and programs, as well as best practices in the industry, during engaging sessions and events. This year’s keynote speaker is Rachel Finney, CEO at Columbus Humane. Tickets are still available at

In addition to this large, two-day conference, MHS also offers regional animal welfare training. This year, MHS received a grant from Michigan’s Animal Welfare Fund, which is funded through a state income tax checkoff and administered by the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development. The grant is supporting MHS in taking animal welfare sessions “on the road.” These regional conferences focus on topics including best practices in sheltering, animal handling and behavior, and legal issues impacting shelters and rescues. MHS is partnering with local shelters that host and help promote the events. Regional conferences have been provided at Berrien County Animal Control in Benton Harbor and UPAWS in Marquette, and an additional conference is scheduled for December 6 in conjunction with Friends for Animals of Metro Detroit in Dearborn.

We are grateful to all of the attendees who participate in these conferences and continuously learning and implementing new ways to do the best they can for the animals in their care. We are all striving to know better so that we can do better and together, we can continue to make a difference in animals’ lives.

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Photo credit: Michigan Humane Society