Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Jacqui goes to Greece



To be invited to talk at our International Companion Animal Welfare Conference (ICAWC) in Athens, Greece was a great honour, one which I approached with trepidation and excitement.

ICAWC is our annual conference which allows smaller overseas animal welfare charities to learn about best practice, hear from experts from around the world and hear case studies from previous delegates who have put them into action. It’s always held overseas to allow the maximum number of delegates to attend easily and cheaply. This year there were nearly 300 delegates from 32 countries from as far afield as New Zealand, Japan and Argentina

When you tell people you are going to Greece to work for 5 days you get a lots of quizzical looks, but this is far from a holiday. From the moment you meet your colleagues at check in to the moment you say goodbye at various tube stops on the way home you are in full Dogs Trust working mode. Its long days, even longer nights, a lot of hard work but also a lot of fun.

As its all hands on deck from the minute you arrive at the venue, its not unusual to see senior staff registering delegates in and Trustees packing goody bags, but it  all adds to a great atmosphere.

My workshop was on Digital Marketing, I wanted to get across to people how important getting your charity online was and how most of the things that we do are free - apart from time of course! The delegates seemed enthusiastic and it was great to get input and share stories of other people’s experiences.  I love sharing my knowledge, I really was in my element! You can see my presentation here.

As with any conference the networking side is equally important and every night there is a dinner and chance to network with other speakers and delegates alike. I met many, many amazing people this year all with stories to tell. We speak well into the night and then are up early the next day to do it all again. My secret to keeping going – Mars Bars!

Two of the lovely dogs at KAZ


The second day I was lucky enough to accompany one of our other speakers to a local dog shelter called KAZ , we were here to do some clicker training with some of the dogs and to video and photograph the exercises for a presentation the next day. We wanted to show not only how easy it is to train the dogs but how using video made just 24 hours before can be used very quickly. As a head office based employee its rare I get to see our other staff in action. In just a few hours a very shy dog who wouldn’t come out of his kennel was making his way to us and taking treats from our hands.

The dogs in the shelter were lovely, they do not have the kennel facilities we are used to but all the dogs were happy, and how can you not fall in love with these faces!



I’m not going to lie, the thought of speaking at our 2012 ICAWC conference this year filled me with fear and dread but I’m really glad I did it. Same time next year?

Jacqui O'Beirne, Head of Digital Marketing


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