Challenging the present, creating the future

 In preparation for next weeks APBC webinar our office lady talks with Evangelos Diamantakos to find out more about what inspires him in his project on human-dog interactions in the animal welfare centre:
“Challenging the present, creating the future” This is a really intriguing title for your project, what inspired you to choose this as a title for your work?
"Well, the aim of this project is to focus on various topics surrounding dog behaviour, training, welfare, education and management because, although on the surface they appear to or do operate in the right direction, below the surface there are aspects which need more thorough consideration, study and research in an attempt to further facilitate, enhance and improve them. 
          This project was inspired by and is dedicated to all those known and unknown people: researchers, academics, professionals, veterinarians, veterinary nurses, behaviourists, trainers, carers and owners who have and continue to contribute to the constant improvements in dog welfare, education and responsible dog ownership. In respect and regard for all the work they have done, their huge commitment and achievements. So, our task now and always is to keep pushing forward, to challenge the present and create an ever-improving basis for a better future for our four footed partners."
What is the most exciting thing that you have learned from your project that you would wish to share with the dog loving community?
"The project is still in progress - challenging is always an ongoing process, there`s always room for improvement - and the webinar I`ll be holding for The Association of Pet Behaviour Counsellors on the 4th July is the very first presentation of it. This webinar/presentation and those that will follow have one common characteristic: to challenge what we perceive as “normal”, “right”, “fine” and/or “o.k.”. If I had to choose the most exciting thing from everything I`ve learned so far, I`d say it would be to challenge without criticising. It is very easy to find “wrong” things in others and them in you. And, who can truly say that they have never done “wrong” things during their interaction with a dog. “Wrong” is part of our human nature. The issue is not to be afraid of it - because we can`t avoid it - learn from our mistakes and let education enlighten our path through our journey to the “right”."      
What do you see as the single most important step for the future of dog welfare in animal shelters?
"I believe that there are many important steps that have to be taken for the future of dog welfare in animal shelters and rehoming centres. However, I firmly believe that the most important of these is shelter/centre co-operation with local universities and colleges. Academics and students are ideal contributors to the research and study of Animal Welfare. The disciplines which should also get involved are Veterinary, Psychology, Sociology and others from the Educational, Health and Technological field. Rehoming centres are ideal places for a variety of welfare orientated projects to be run. These projects could include, but obviously are not limited to:
a. Animal Health and Care, 
a. Behaviour
b. Housing and Environmental Enrichment
c. Human (Staff) – Animal Interaction 
d. New materials and technology"