Dakin Hosts Jackson Galaxy for 2-Day Workshop

In late February, Dakin was thrilled to be chosen by Greater Good Charities and renowned cat behavior and wellness expert Jackson Galaxy to host Cat Pawsitive 360, a two-day training workshop for staff members of more than 30 regional animal welfare organizations.

Cat Pawsitive 360 is an initiative of Greater Good Charities that creates a 360-degree view of the feline experience on everything from behavior to environmental enrichment so that more lives will be saved and the well-being of cats will be improved both in and out of the shelter.

With the support of Life of Riley at Spring Point and Inaba, this dynamic workshop took place right here in the heart of Springfield, Massachusetts.

Jackson and his team of experienced speakers shared their expertise on shelter-centric topics including “catification” of housing areas, intake diversion and pet retention, pathway planning, adoption counseling, and more.

Jackson toured Dakin’s facility with Assistant Shelter Manager Alanna Regan and Admissions & Capacity Coordinator Sarah Pentowski, who showed him our various feline environments.

We walked away from this workshop with a renewed sense of inspiration and valuable information on how we can further better the lives of cats in our care. Although capacity was very limited, we are fortunate to have attended this workshop alongside so many colleagues from respected organizations throughout the region.

During an interview with a local news reporter, Jackson spent time with Onyx, a shy tuxedo cat in one of Dakin’s open cat colonies. As he coaxed Onyx out from his hiding spot in the base of a cat tree, Jackson told the reporter, “I’ve been doing this for 30 years now, and I see him walk across the floor and it’s exciting to me.” He added, “Whether you’re a scientist or just a guardian or anywhere in between, cats still contain mystery.” Jackson’s passion for the work he does is palpable through his interactions with the cats and the voice he gives them through discussions about cat behavior with humans.

After the event, Jackson generously took the time to host a book signing so everyone in attendance had an opportunity to connect on a more personal level. Longtime Dakin volunteer Jerry Marchand used the opportunity to tell Jackson about the more than 600 cats he’s cared for as a foster caregiver and the deeply touching story that inspired his mission. Such a large number of lives saved is thrilling for anyone to hear, and Jackson didn’t hesitate to pull Jerry in for a much-deserved hug.

Dakin’s connection with The Jackson Galaxy Project and Greater Good Charities goes back to 2018 when we were selected for Cat Pawsitive Pro, a program aimed to set shelter cats on positive reinforcement training programs to help them find adopters faster. Dakin trainer and adoption counselor Eliza Fischer and the amazing feline Mimi won the National High Five Day grand prize of a $5,000 grant and 10,000 bowls of cat food courtesy of Halo Pets. Dakin has continued working with Greater Good Charities and the Jackson Galaxy Project by partnering on cat training instructional videos.

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