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Central’s April Shepard Joins Pet Partners Board of Directors


Press release: Pet Partners

Pet Partners, the nation’s leading organization registering therapy animals for animal-assisted interventions (AAI), is proud to welcome April Shepard, head of talent acquisition for Central Garden & Pet, to its Board of Directors.

As an accomplished leader in talent acquisition and human resources, Shepard has more than 20 years of experience driving HR strategies to identify, recruit, and acquire top talent across the globe. In her current role at Central Garden and Pet as head of talent acquisition, she is responsible for driving the HR strategies and execution processes for leadership positions globally. Prior to joining Central Garden & Pet, Shepard served as senior director, executive recruitment and employment branding, human resources at Dollar General Corporation, encompassing more than 165,000 employees, 18,000 retail stores, and 27 distribution centers. Shepard has a B.S. in Business Administration from Capella University in Minneapolis, Minnesota. She currently serves as loving pet parent to a rescue dog named T.J.

“I’ve spent the last two decades strategically connecting people and businesses and I’m thrilled to now be able to connect myself to an organization like Pet Partners,” said Shepard. “I’m excited to serve alongside the other dedicated board members for the greater success of Pet Partners and therapy animal teams across the globe.”

Pet Partners is the leader in improving human health and well-being through the human-animal bond, registering nine species of animals with their human handlers as therapy animal teams. Pet Partners teams make millions of visits per year in hospitals, nursing homes, schools, libraries, and airports; the organization also deploys teams to provide animal-assisted crisis response after disasters and crisis events, and provides teams for corporate employee wellness events. Pet Partners also advocates for legislation that promotes human health and well-being through its grassroots advocacy program and educates legislators and the public about the positive impact of animal-assisted interventions.

“April’s vast experience in human resources including organizational development, diversity, sourcing, branding, and talent acquisition will be a great addition to the Pet Partners Board,” said C. Annie Peters, president and CEO of Pet Partners.

Pet Partners is the national leader in demonstrating and promoting the health and wellness benefits of animal-assisted therapy, activities, and education. Since the organization’s inception in 1977, the science proving these benefits has become indisputable. With thousands of registered teams making millions of visits annually, Pet Partners serves as the nation’s most diverse and respected nonprofit registering handlers of multiple species as volunteer teams. Pet Partners teams visit with patients in recovery, people with intellectual disabilities, seniors living with Alzheimer’s, students, veterans with PTSD, people who have experienced crisis events, and those approaching end of life, with the goal of improving human health and well-being through the human-animal bond. With the release of its Standards of Practice for Animal-Assisted Interventions and international expansion, Pet Partners is globally recognized as the industry gold standard.

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