Play Yard Renovation Grant

Texas Humane Heroes: Play Yard Renovation Grant Report

What was the money or product used for?

The generous $4975 grant went towards our new play yard at our Leander Adoption Center. The prior fencing was deteriorating and was deemed unusable for our dogs. It was devastating to have the land and space to have playgroups, but be unable to do so because of the condition of the fencing. This grant allowed us to tear down the old and unusable fencing and to install a brand-new play yard for our dogs to enjoy! The play yard has two double-gate entries, as well as a fence with a gate in the middle to separate into two play yards if desired. Our staff, volunteers, and, most importantly, dogs are already loving the new play yard! We use it every day and we couldn’t be happier with the result!

How did this grant help your organization and the pets in your care?

The most rewarding benefit this grant provided was to improve the lives of the dogs in our care. We are now able to have multiple playgroups daily in a safe and secure environment. The play yards were also built at a far enough distance from the kennels that we can also give dogs a quiet place to play and relax. This grant truly helped us improve the quality of the lives of the Texas Humane Heroes dogs.

How many pets did this grant help?

A limitless number of dogs will benefit from this grant! Texas Humane Heroes pulled over 1,500 dogs into our program in 2018. We are on track to do the same, if not bring in more, in 2019. All the dogs who are currently in our care and all the dogs that come into Texas Humane Heroes moving forward will have the opportunity to enjoy these play yards. Whether in be in playgroups, during quality time with staff and volunteers, or during meet-and-greets with potential adopters, these play yards will be enjoyed by all the dogs who enter Texas Humane Heroes.

Please provide a story of one or more specific pets this grant helped.

Meet Lacey (first photo)! Lacey is a 6-month-old mixed breed with a heart of gold. Her favorite thing to do is to participate in playgroups in our new play yard! Her second favorite thing to do is play in the dog pools and to chase after water from the hose in our new play yard. She LOVES water! We know that Lacey’s fun and loving personality will get her adopted quickly, but as of now she is currently available for adoption. You can see her on Petfinder here.

Humane Society of Taos, Inc. DBA Stray Hearts Animal Shelter: Play Yard Renovation Grant Report

What was the money or product used for?

Construction of fencing/gates for more play areas in order to expand our Dogs Playing for Life program.

How did this grant help your organization and the pets in your care?

The grant helped to better establish and broaden our Dogs Playing for Life program. We now operate the program at least two days a week (Tuesday and Friday) and more dogs are participating. We believe it has directly led to more pet adoptions since the dogs are less stressed and more sociable.

How many pets did this grant help?

At any given time, about 50% of our dogs participate in playgroup. Since our average dog census is about 60 dogs, approximately 30 dogs participate in a given week.

Please provide a story of one or more specific pets this grant helped.

Tamira was an older puppy who came to us at about 6 months of age. She had never been socialized and was very shy and fearful of other dogs. She initially was put in a playgroup with only one other dog who was an older, gentle dog. As her confidence in interacting with this dog grew, she was moved to a more active group of older puppies who actively played. She then advanced to a mixed-age dog playgroup. Shortly thereafter, she was adopted into her forever home. We believe the three playgroups that she participated in over a two-month period made a huge difference in helping her to be adopted.

Cuyahoga County Animal Shelter: Play Yard Renovation Grant Report

What was the money or product used for?

We used the full amount to add double-gate entries to our different play yard entry points, gate openings to blend yards together, and a large fence with a gate to divide a large yard.

How did this grant help your organization and the pets in your care?

With these modifications, we are able to run more dogs at a time, as we have created an additional play yard. We are also able to safely enter dogs into group with the double gates as well as assess the dogs’ response to coming to group.

How many pets did this grant help?

Approximately 2,000+ a year

Please provide a story of one or more specific pets this grant helped.

Erma (first three photos) is a 4-year-old pit mix who came into the Cuyahoga County Animal Shelter (CCAS) back in October 2018. While Erma has always been a playgroup player, we discovered some new challenges with her during the play-yard renovation process. While our yards were being modified, we moved our daily playgroups into our garage. Erma, being the smarty pants that she is, figured out there were treats stored high on shelves in the garage. Even though she couldn’t get to these shelves of treats, she knew they were there and guarded them from other dogs during playgroup. So during the couple weeks the renovation was happening, Erma would come into the garage alone for playtime while we were setting up. Now that the renovation is complete, Erma is back to playing with friends and a much happier pup! Meet Erma here.

Humane Educational Society: Play Yard Renovation Grant Report

What was the money or product used for?

The money was used to update our existing play yards to better meet DPFL recommendations. We extended the smallest yard by 20 feet. We updated an existing fence line with sturdier and safer fencing. We added gates between the three yards and put catch pens at the entrances to each yard. We also got new gates or refenced existing gates.

How did this grant help your organization and the pets in your care?

This grant helped the pets in our organization by making the play yards safer and easier to use. The dogs can now be safely collared and let into the yards. The catch pens are also a benefit for getting the dogs out or even separating dogs that may be having difficulties. The gates between the yards help me manage all three yards more safely and efficiently when I am the only leader. We are now able to bring out more dogs each day we do playgroups. The dogs love coming out to groups. The staff love the better fencing and the catch pens. Several staff and volunteers have asked me, “How did we ever do anything without the catch pens?!”

How many pets did this grant help?

Approximately 150 as of now.

Please provide a story of one or more specific pets this grant helped.

Two dogs who came to the shelter very fearful are George McFly (first photo) and Marty McFly (second photo), a bonded pair. We have had them in playgroups since before we did the play yard renovations. When we first tried them, we quickly learned they are gate-darters. Almost every time we opened the gates to let other dogs in or out, these two would try their hardest to run through the open gate. It was frustrating to the volunteers and made doing playgroups very difficult. We had to chase the McFlys around many, many times. Now that we have the catch pens, though, we haven’t had to chase them at all. If they do try to get out, they go right into the catch pen. It sounds like a small thing to be thankful for, but it has saved us from chasing them around many times. It has saved the dogs from getting hurt running around or even escaping the shelter. Since they are fearful of new people most of the time, having them get out of the facility would have made it impossible for us to catch them again. The volunteers and staff are all thankful for the new fencing, gates, and catch pens! I have included photos of the McFlys hanging out in the yards with a whole bunch of their doggy pals. Meet George McFly here. Meet Marty McFly here.

Stray Hearts Animal Shelter: Play Yard Renovation Grant Report

What was the money or product used for?

Fencing, gates

How did this grant help your organization and the pets in your care?

This grant helped us to divide a large play yard into smaller play yards for safer integration during playgroups.

How many pets did this grant help?

<1000

Please provide a story of one or more specific pets this grant helped.

Willow was a feral Great Pyrenees who had to be trapped and brought to our shelter. He had to be medicated to handle. Eventually, he was able to be leash-walked to the play yard and was integrated through the fencing until he got used to the others. He was taken from the smaller yards to the larger one repeatedly until he became comfortable with the entire playgroup.

When the public came to watch our playgroups, a local rancher witnessed Willow’s ability to interact with the other dogs without incident. Willow was successfully adopted and is now an integral part of the working dogs on a ranch.

This dog had a zero chance at adoption, but with assistance from smaller play yards, his experience being socialized was made so much easier!

Longview PAWS: Play Yard Renovation Grant Report

What was the money or product used for?

Our grant money was used for an additional fencing section so that we could properly introduce the dogs when they enter our play yard. The additional fencing has allowed for a much smoother transition for our staff and volunteers and the dogs when entering the play yard for playgroup. It allows for a secure barrier for dogs to meet through the fence. Playgroup leads can easily assess body language and look for any signs of agitation or aggression safely.

How did this grant help your organization and the pets in your care?

We run playgroups one to two times a day while we’re open to the public for adoptions. It gives potential adopters the ability to see dogs be dogs. It showcases personalities and play styles that can’t be seen within a kennel. We adopt at least one to two dogs out of our Saturday playgroups each weekend.

How many pets did this grant help?

50+

Please provide a story of one or more specific pets this grant helped.

Meet Canada. Canada came into our shelter on Jan. 2, 2019, as an owner surrender due to her “not liking children.” Her previous owners had a baby, “didn’t feel comfortable” with Canada’s size and brought her to us. She was a 10-month-old, 48-lb. Catahoula mix whose world was shattered. She didn’t understand what she did or why she was here and just completely shut down. She was quiet, reserved, and closed off — never aggressive, just sad (first photo). She didn’t want to come out of her kennel. After a couple of days, she began to understand that our staff and volunteers wanted to help her. Her head lifted a bit. She’d walk with a little more confidence during her leash time, but would look for her people any time she was outside.

After she’d been in the shelter four days (during which we had some extreme weather), we brought her out for playgroup. Her demeanor changed and her spirit lifted. She was curious. She was interested in the smells, fresh air and the sun on her face. She didn’t play a lot at first. She cautiously walked the yard and said hello if approached. The other dogs respected her boundaries and let her slowly put her guard down. She just laid down and watched. That was okay by everyone. It was cold, so Play Yard Day 1 (second and third photos) was short but satisfying.

Play Yard Day 2 was so much better (fourth, fifth and sixth photos). She remembered what she had done the day before and actually looked forward to entering the yard. She immediately interacted with the other dogs. She had a trot in her step and held her head high. She began to play. She’d even gotten over her biggest hurdle: She didn’t look for her people this time. She just enjoyed her surroundings and her new friends. Her daily playgroup time was the highlight of her day. She continued to improve each and every day.

One of our daily Facebook videos of playgroups featured Canada, and caught the attention of one of our local rescues. On Jan. 11, 2019, Canada was pulled into Big Dog Rescue Project out of Little Rock, AR. She has since been adopted through the rescue. The final two photos show Canada in her new home. Without her playgroup exposure, this sweet, deserving young lady would not have had the opportunity to trust, relax and just be a dog.

Wimberley Adoption Group & Rescue Corporation: Play Yard Renovation Grant Report

What was the money or product used for?

To remove old, dilapidated fencing from an existing dog play yard and replace it with approximately 355 linear feet of new 6′-high chain-link fencing with a top bar and a catch pen. All fencing is flush with the ground and the gates swing in both directions.

How did this grant help your organization and the pets in your care?

We have begun having organized playgroups for our dogs versus only one or two dogs in the play yard at a time. We have noticed that some of our dogs are interacting much better with other dogs. The dogs are also getting more exercise than was previously available. It is so nice for them to get to run and play freely versus walking on a leash only.

How many pets did this grant help?

So far, about 20 dogs at our refuge

Please provide a story of one or more specific pets this grant helped.

Amy was a found, unclaimed dog, who came to us extremely underweight and somewhat fearful. She was friendly, but she needed time to be around other dogs and interact with humans more positively. After careful evaluation by one of our volunteers who had participated in the Dogs Playing for Life Mentorship Program at Austin Pets Alive!, Amy began getting play yard time. It was amazing how she was transformed from a somewhat shy animal into a confident, playful, affectionate, and well-adjusted dog in a relatively short amount of time. Amy was adopted about two weeks ago by a couple in this area. They are so pleased with her.

Animal Ark Rescue: Play Yard Renovation Grant Report

What was the money or product used for?

We used the grant to rebuild our play yard fences. They were originally 4-ft. chain link; now they are 6-ft. chain link.

How did this grant help your organization and the pets in your care?

Many of the dogs were able to jump or climb over the 4-ft. fences. Now that the fences are taller, we can focus more on letting the dogs play safely instead of chasing them around the shelter or down the busy main road nearby.

How many pets did this grant help?

200

Please provide a story of one or more specific pets this grant helped.

Gibbs is a teenage dog who loves to play! He is very smart and agile and could easily jump the 4-ft. fences. We had to place Gibbs on a playgroup time-out for almost a month until we had the taller fences installed, because he would run away every day! Now Gibbs is happy as can be and loves daily playgroup! He is still looking for a forever home, but he is much happier now that he gets to socialize and exercise daily. Meet him: http://www.petfinder.com/petdetail/41878788

Cache Humane Society: Play Yard Renovation Grant Report

What was the money or product used for?

We have greatly expanded our playgroup program and renovated our play yard to provide better socialization, training, and exercise opportunities for our shelter dogs. We improved a quarter-acre section of our property with taller fencing and landscaping, including several new trees for shade. We also added a double-gate entry for better safety along our busy parking lot. We are in the process of adding a second play area to allow for multiple playgroups. We have purchased Fibar, a wood-fiber and sand-based material that is treated to prevent splinters and reduce decay. We will also be adding sun sails to provide additional shade.

How did this grant help your organization and the pets in your care?

Playgroups have helped us build better adoption profiles, reduce shelter stress, and improve adoption outcomes. Our dogs are happier and healthier, and the temperament profiles we are able to write based on behavior in playgroups seem to be more accurate than our old worksheet-based approach. We have also had significant success working with dogs surrendered for reactivity issues. By incorporating techniques learned at Dogs Playing for Life with newly improved facilities, we are able to help challenging dogs become confident, friendly, and adoptable.

How many pets did this grant help?

800

Please provide a story of one or more specific pets this grant helped.

Pretzel and Colby came in from a challenging, multi-dog situation. They were nervous and very under-socialized with both people and other pets. They blossomed in playgroups and surprised our team with their unexpected love of water! Both dogs found a wonderful home with a family that promises to always keep the kiddie pool full.

Prairie Paws Animal Shelter: Play Yard Renovation Grant Report

What was the money or product used for?

Our Petfinder Foundation grant funds were spent to purchase supplies and labor to build a shelter for shade in our dog run and construct and move catch pens in order to have bigger and better dog playgroups. While we are in a holding pattern because of labor schedules and weather, we did get the catch pens constructed and we do have the supplies and are ready to finish construction on the shade structure.

How did this grant help your organization and the pets in your care?

In November, we began implementing the Dogs Playing for Life program principles at Prairie Paws thanks to the Petfinder Foundation grant to send Tim, our director of operations, to Austin Pets Alive! for a Dogs Playing for Life mentorship. Dogs Playing for Life is a program developed by Aimee Sadler (a nationally recognized dog trainer) to help reduce cage stress for dogs. The program gets the dogs out of their kennels and into playgroups. They get to have fun, work off excess energy and learn social skills under the watchful eye of the facilitators. It helps keep them mentally healthy and it helps us learn how they may behave outside the shelter.

After the initial playgroup implementation, it became clear that, in order to have a great playgroup session in the ever-changing Kansas weather, we needed to construct a shelter in the dog run for shade and construct better catch pens. This grant helped us do that. And it will continue to help hundreds of dogs each year become enriched during their time at Prairie Paws while awaiting their forever homes.

How many pets did this grant help?

200

Please provide a story of one or more specific pets this grant helped.

One of the dogs the playgroups in our dog runs have helped is Waylon. He came to us not a huge fan of other dogs, but after spending time in the dog playgroups, he has realized that socializing isn’t all that bad. Meet him: http://www.petfinder.com/petdetail/41648789
Playgroup video: https://youtu.be/CH5L3J53Re8