IF you are shooting in raw setting a cwb is not necessary. In jpg it is.
A) what are you shooting with camera wise?
B) you can't shoot like anyone else. No matter how hard you try, you will only shoot like you.
C) I don't use a tripod either. I found it to hinder my shooting and I do not see camera shake with strobes.
If you are shooting with a point and shoot 400 ISO may be too noisy.
You really need to understand WHY you are doing something before adding in more elements to confuse you. Buying tons of equipment trying to emulate others, or do as others do will not get you closer to your goal. You obviously have a natural talent for this and just slowing down a little to UNDERSTAND exposure, the relationship between shutter speed, motion blur, apertures, depth of field and shutter speed plus what ISO does to affect all those are BASICS you must have.
Those are way more important than an expodisc,or a strobe. I am sorry about the melodrama bluntness but, many of us here work with rescues and many of us understand what helps adoption photo wise. That last set are ideal for adoption photos. The backlight will not save more lives than what those photos posted will.
Its almost like saying "I have to learn heart surgery NOW! Which scalpel do I buy? What sort of machines do I need! I don't have time to learn to basics of the surgery itself, lives depend on me fixing these hearts!"
Yes, that is way over the top, but, no matter what you do in life if you want to become proficient at a skill, you must know the basics. Exposure is the most important part of photography