Autism and therapy dogs


TUESDAY, Feb. 26 (HealthDay News) — For children with autism, trained dogs may offer not only a furry friend, but some therapeutic benefits, too, a new research review finds.

There is a “substantial body of evidence” that dogs act as “social catalysts,” even encouraging adults to be a little friendlier to each other, said senior researcher Francesca Cirulli, of the National Institute of Health in Rome, Italy. And the few studies that have focused on kids with autism suggest the same is true for them.


Read more on webMD


Your nonprofit tip originally posted by Tom okarma (put passion back into your nonprofit board meetings)

Put Passion back into your Nonprofit Board Meetings
Posted by Tom Okarma on Mar 18, 2014 in Blog, Board Development, Leadership | 0 comments
If you’ve struggled to increase board meeting attendance, raise the energy level in your meetings, develop a clearer focus on your mission, or instill a fiery passion back into your boardroom, I have an answer. It is quite simple, costs nothing, and you can do it at your next board meeting.

What is it? Put your clients back in the boardroom…not literally but figuratively.

I served on a particular social service nonprofit board for six years and during the last 12 months or so, our executive director started each meeting by reading a letter (anonymously) we received written by someone who had benefitted from the services we provided. Those letters typically described how the client came to need our help and how our services helped them get back on their feet.

As you can imagine, those letters were heartfelt, thankful, and passionate…and powerful. This simple practice reminded us why we stepped onto that board in the first place and what our real business was…helping the under resourced.

You may also want to read these letters at staff meetings, volunteer gatherings, and when speaking with donors.

Are your board meetings getting mechanical, dispassionate, dry, or routine, try this and watch your directors step up and refocus.

If you like this idea, please “share” it with others or “like” it so others can try it out.

Nonprofit tip: what is an Ex-officio board member?

There is often confusion among those new to working with a board about why some board members are ex officio board members. What does this mean? Ex officio board members are individuals who serve on the board because they hold a key position within the organization or have a key relationship to the organization. They are not elected to the board; when they stepped into the key position or relationship, they automatically became board members. Why? Because they have responsibilities that are linked to the board in important ways.

Do ex officio board members automatically have voting rights? No. Legally, the term ex officio does not address voting rights. Therefore, it is very important that your bylaws address this issue and make it very clear if your ex officio board members have — or do not have — voting rights. This information should appear in the section of your bylaws addressing board member selection.


A big win for Best Friends in utah (reposted from best friends blog)



Many of us here at Best Friends spent yesterday afternoon sitting on the edge of our office chairs. We were captivated (and nervous!) watching the live feed of the Utah Senate’s last day. Already passed by the State House, our preemption bill would prevent any local government from enacting breed-discriminatory legislation (BDL). As the debate on the Senate floor unfolded, it became clear that the facts of the law had won, and it passed by a vote of 26-2. The bill now heads to the governor’s desk.

You all know by now those BDL facts. Laws that focus on a dog’s appearance are expensive and don’t make communities any safer. They only serve to restrict the types of dog a citizen may choose to own, and that kind of restriction is something few Americans agree with. Effective, properly written legislation focuses on reckless owners and problem animals. Reckless owners are the issue, and we wholeheartedly support efforts to curtail irresponsible ownership.

A growing number of states are recognizing this, and some of them have legislatures still in session considering a preemption law. One of those states is Missouri, where unfortunately the path to victory is not quite as clear.

Stuck-in-the-past thinking from a small but vocal group led by the Missouri Alliance for Animal Legislation is putting House Bill 1116 in jeopardy in the Show Me State. They’re perpetuating ridiculous myths and generalizations, suggesting that we need laws to prevent “gang bangers” from adopting pit bulls.

Dogs are dogs, and they should be treated and evaluated equally as dogs, no matter the breed (and groups shouldn’t adopt animals out to bad guys either way!). Missouri, maybe more than any other state, is in need of this legislation. Kansas City has a mandatory spay/neuter law aimed solely at “pit bulls,” which hasn’t served to make the community any safer. As such laws do, it only increased the number of dogs killed.

If you’re in Missouri, we need your voice on this issue now more than ever. Click here to visit our Action Center, and in a few clicks you can message your representatives.

Gregory Castle
Best Friends Animal Society

P.S. We’ve just received word that South Dakota’s governor signed heir preemption bill into law today. You can read more about that effort here.