It's the weekend and I'm racing about catching up after an amazing past fortnight! It's been a whirlwind and by gee, do I have some super fun things to tell you about!
Working dogs, working together
My first news is what has been keeping me flat out busy over the first half of this year, and ESPECIALLY for the past fortnight.
I'm excited to introduce to you, the Australian Working Dog Alliance!
You know all about my work with the Australian Animal Welfare Strategy (AAWS) working group and working dog research projects over the past six years, but I might not have mentioned that this year, the project team were given seed funding by AAWS to actually implement the first year of activities outlined in the Australian Working Dog Industry Action Plan.
To do this, we realised that we needed to have an administrative home - an organisation that could drive the initiatives and partner with other groups and sponsor companies to maximise our reach - and so, the Working Dog Alliance has been founded. It is a registered not-for-profit organisation, that works with a diverse industry stakeholder network to improve the welfare of Australia's working and sporting dogs.
The organisation will publicly launch in August, after the next national AAWS workshop. The Alliance's industry hub (and resource-filled!) website will launch then too, but if you want to keep in the loop, you can register on the webpage for email updates here or keep track of our progress on the Facebook page.
For the past two weeks, I've been travelling interstate with my colleague, Dr Nick Branson, visiting many groups to talk about the Working Dog Alliance, the Australian Working Dog Industry Action Plan and inviting them to be part of it all. I'm so happy to report that we've had the most positive and enthusiastic welcome we could have hoped for! We've met with over ten representative groups and bodies from various government, assistance and sporting dog, animal advocacy and rescue group industry sectors so far, and all have been keen to talk about their work and how the Alliance can help in sharing the best bits around the industry.
We'll continue these meetings with many more working and sporting dog groups in the coming months.
In other exciting news, I'm really looking forward to speaking at the annual Getting 2 Zero Summit in September.
If you haven't heard of it, G2Z is a model that
"details the principles, structures and strategies for achieving zero killing of healthy and treatable cats and dogs (more than 90% of all incoming stray and surrendered cats and dogs) in whole communities"I'll be there to share some of the things (science things, personal things, silly things, etc.) I've learned about social media in the year that we've been blogging together here on Do You Believe in Dog? - it will be great fun to join this group of highly committed and resourceful attendees. I'm sure I'll be learning lots of things!
Now, it IS the weekend here, and I have to admit that my fancy has been somewhat tickled by the recent trend of dog beard photos.
I'd love to invite you, and anyone else, to take a crack (but only if with a relaxed and willing canine conspirator - of course!) at creating one of these magical illusions!
I'll post my efforts on the DYBID Facebook page.
Your last post about measuring dogs and pro-actively preparing dogs to maximise their comfort in life, was fantastic (and not just because it started with "May I have your urine, please?").
Don't forget - SPARCS!
Don't forget the SPARCS international conference next weekend! Only 1 week away! Streaming direct into your lounge room, world wide!
Set your alarm/s - I've got mine ready to go,
N. Branson, M. Cobb, P. McGreevy (2012). Australian Working Dog Industry Action Plan 2013-15. Australian Government Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry.
N. Branson, M. Cobb, P. McGreevy (2010). Australian Working Dog Survey Report 2009. Australian Government Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry.
Bik H.M. & Goldstein M.C. (2013). An introduction to social media for scientists., PLoS biology, PMID: 23630451
© 2013 Mia Cobb