The Humane Society of the United States has welcomed Amy Nichols as its new vice president of Companion Animals. Nichols is the founder and former CEO of Dogtopia, a dog daycare, boarding, spa and retail chain providing care to canines across the U.S. and Canada.
Nichols is no stranger to the non-profit world. In 2005, she founded K9 Support, a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting working and service dogs. Under her leadership, K9 Support has sent more than 2 tons of care packages to service animals in Iraq, Afghanistan and Kuwait. Nichols is also a dedicated volunteer for animal rescue groups.
Her experience as a business leader and entrepreneur extends beyond working with animals. In 2015, she co-founded and was the CEO of bThere, where she developed a software platform for interactive 360-degree video.
Nichols is excited to work with animals once again. “It is not often that you get the chance to pursue your passion,” she says. ”I am eager to take all that I learned growing a pet care company and a technology startup and apply it to animal welfare. From innovative new ways to support our shelter partners to influencing public policy and providing community outreach, I can't wait to get started.”
Michael Markarian, chief operating officer of the HSUS, says, “We are thrilled to have Amy Nichols join our team, with her business and leadership experience, and her dedication and passion for animal welfare. The HSUS is a leader in protecting pets, and we are excited to have an even bigger impact.”
The HSUS and its affiliates work to protect companion animals through various programs and resources:
- Animal Care Expo, which is the premier training conference and trade show for animal shelter and care professionals.
- Animal Sheltering Magazine and AnimalSheltering.org, which provide resources and education for animal shelters and rescue groups.
- The Pets for Life program, which extends free animal care resources and services to people and pets in under-served communities. The model incorporates door-to-door outreach, builds a consistent community presence and uses an extensive follow-up process. Pets for Life collects comprehensive data showing the effectiveness of their work, which can be found here: animalsheltering.org/pfldata.
- The Keeping Pets in Homes program, which aims to reduce the number of dogs and cats who are surrendered due to solvable behavior issues or lack of housing. It provides tools to help renters keep their pets, to keep more cats in homes and to make pet care, behavior and wellness resources more accessible. “Adopters Welcome” is an initiative aimed at removing unnecessary barriers in the adoption process.
- The Shelter Pet Project, a joint campaign between the HSUS, Maddie’s Fund and the Ad Council, which helps make shelters and rescues the first place potential pet owners turn to when looking for a new companion animal. Since the campaign’s inception in 2009, it has received more than $330 million dollars in donated media nationwide.
- Adopters Welcome, which is an initiative aimed at removing unnecessary barriers in the adoption process.
- In addition to those programs, the HSUS runs a campaign to combat abuses at puppy mills, works with law enforcement to stop animal fighting, protects pets during natural disasters and works to strengthen laws against animal cruelty. Together with its international affiliate, Humane Society International, the HSUS is fighting the global dog meat trade and implementing street dog welfare programs around the world.