July 10 is Dr. Lila Miller Shelter Medicine Day. Dr. Miller is known for her trailblazing leadership and purposeful dedication to the field of veterinary shelter medicine.
If you are one of the millions of people that have adopted a dog or cat over the last three decades, you have Dr. Miller to thank. Dr. Miller transformed the lives of countless pets, developing the first veterinarian-written guidelines for shelter animal care, which are now used in shelters across the country to ensure the humane treatment of shelter pets. She created and taught the first shelter medicine class in the U.S. at Cornell University in 1999, co-founded the Association of Shelter Veterinarians (ASV) and co-edited several shelter medicine textbooks.
“Dr. Miller is the mother of shelter medicine,” said Dr. Laurie Peek, Maddie’s Fund® Executive Leadership Team. “She has forged a path to achieve not only her childhood dreams of becoming a veterinarian, but also inspires generations of veterinarians along the way. Shelter medicine changes everything because of her. We owe Dr. Miller our deepest gratitude for her bold ideas and innovative work. We are so very fortunate to have a living legacy in the field of animal welfare and our world.”
Dr. Miller has educated a generation of students about issues shelters face and has paved the way for women of color in veterinary medicine. In 1977, Dr. Miller was one of the first two African American women to ever graduate from Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine.
She spent her entire groundbreaking, 42-year veterinary career with the ASPCA as the Director of the ASPCA’s Brooklyn Clinic, Veterinary Advisor, Vice President of Veterinary Outreach, and Vice President of Shelter Medicine, retiring in 2019. She is currently a member of the American Association of Veterinary State Boards advocating for animal shelters.
In 2021 Dr. Miller received the Avanzino Leadership Award for her trailblazing leadership and purposeful dedication to the field of veterinary shelter medicine. Please join us in celebrating Dr. Miller by sharing a photo of your shelter pet or foster pet on social media using #ThanksToDrMiller. You can also hear Dr. Miller speak about her inspirational journey at the Humane Society of the United States Animal Care Expo earlier this year.