Play Yard Renovation Grant

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

Volunteers of Muskegon County Animal Control (dba Pound Buddies): Play Yard Renovation Grant Report

What was the money or product used for?

Play yard renovation for additional room for our furry friends to play safely.

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

The playgroup program is the MOST beneficial and important enrichment and stress-reduction program we offer. Rather than one animal, this helps (literally) EVERY, SINGLE DOG that is housed at the shelter. The fencing provides more opportunity for us to get dogs out to be social and to reduce stress. The additional fencing also allows us more meet-and-greet areas for potential adopters to interact with the dogs.

How many pets did this grant help?

We take in an average of 1,500 dogs annually.

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

Belle came into our shelter as a stray after good Samaritans found her at their glass patio door trying to get into the house in the middle of a harsh Michigan blizzard. During Belle’s first time out in playgroup, she was highly reactive and displayed dog-aggressive behaviors. Our staff members worked with her for a couple of weeks but were still unable to get the muzzle off her in playgroup. Eventually, Belle started to make slow improvements, which quickly turned into steady daily progress.

Incredibly, we now use Belle often as a greeter dog and she has certainly earned the title of Playgroup Rockstar! She has become very well-socialized and encounters a wide range of dogs and varying play styles at our open-intake, high-volume shelter. Belle is currently still up for adoption and she continues to be a helpful assistant in our playgroup program. Not only has she won over the hearts of our entire staff with her silly and social personality, but with every new playgroup day, she gains more four-legged friends too. Meet Belle here.

UPDATE Dec. 28, 2018: Belle is in a foster home where she will be staying. The foster is going to adopt her.

From our Executive Director, Lana Carson: “To limit this response to one dog I feel would be a gross understatement of what this fencing provides for the animals! Again, literally every single dog will benefit from this grant! We do have dogs who are timid and some are a little more rambunctious than others, but once they are introduced properly, they soon learn to play, play, play.”

Humane Society of Parkersburg: Play Yard Renovation Grant Report

What was the money or product used for?

The grant was used to build three large fenced-in play yards for our shelter dogs.

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

This grant has allowed more of our shelter dogs to get outside, play and exercise out in the sunshine! This helps make them happier, healthier and more adoptable. Thanks to this grant, we were able to double our play yards, therefore doubling the number of the dogs we are able to get outside every single day.

How many pets did this grant help?

The hundreds who have already come through our doors this year and all who have yet to come to us.

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

This story is about Rascal. He came to us incredibly scared and fearful of people and other dogs. He was, by all measures, unadoptable. Eventually Rascal made his way out to the play yards and the volunteers attempted to walk him side-by-side each night with another dog. When progress was made, he was cautiously introduced to another shelter dog in the play yards and, before we knew it, he was off-leash and having the time of his life with other dogs! Every single night, Rascal was in the play yards with his first doggie buddy, Bronx. Eventually, he became friends with Norman and then he was making friends with all the dogs. Rascal was finally adopted a few weeks ago and we all know it wouldn’t have been possible without our play yards! His adoption photo with his new mom says it all! Thank you, Petfinder Foundation!

Spartanburg Humane Society: Play Yard Renovation Grant Report

What was the money or product used for?

Fencing for play yard

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

This money has allowed us to do playgroups twice daily for all our dogs. We have learned so much more about the dogs in our care than the owner-surrender form alone can supply. Mentally and physically, our dogs are healthier. Many have learned how to play with others. We are able to make better adoptions with the additional information and have more successful meet-and-greets.

How many pets did this grant help?

It has helped hundreds of dogs and continues to daily.

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

Skip came to us as a quarantine from the displaced dogs from Hurricane Irma. He was labeled as very dog-aggressive. Playgroups allowed him to show he actually was a rock star and got along with all the dogs; we even used him as a meet-and-greeter dog. Stone had been with us for many months. In his kennel, he lunged at all the dogs that went by. We also had him labelled as dog-aggressive. In playgroups he also was a rock star and was used as a meet-and-greeter when new dogs were introduced. Both dogs were previously very hard to handle in our care because of their size and energy. Playgroups allowed them to exert that pent-up energy, and they both quickly became staff and volunteer favorites. Soon after we started including them in playgroups, both of these dogs got adopted and went to loving homes.

Placer County Animal Services: Play Yard Renovation Grant Report

What was the money or product used for?

Money was used to install two catch pens and a pass-through to connect two of our dog-exercise yards and provide safe entering/exiting for dog playgroups.

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

Provides a much safer way for us to manage playgroups and allows multiple playgroups for different play styles to happen at one time. Playgroups have been an amazing physical and mental release for our shelter dogs, and our staff has learned so much more about the dogs, which greatly helps them when getting adopted.

How many pets did this grant help?

More than 100

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

Ruby (first and second photos) has been at our shelter since April 2017 and has had a tough time finding the right adopter. She originally displayed some unpredictable behavior around dogs, so our staff decided to see how she would do in a playgroup to get a better feel for behaviors. Staff was incredibly surprised to see that she was friendly, playful, soft and engaging in playgroups and was generally the one dog that got along with everyone. She ended up being one of the best greeter dogs here. We used this information to help potential adopters and to ultimately place her in a foster home for additional socialization and training. During her time here, though, Ruby helped to introduce multiple dogs to the fun of playgroups and assisted many dogs in coming out of their shells at our shelter. Her Petfinder page is http://www.petfinder.com/petdetail/38311625

UPDATE: Ruby has been adopted!

Santa Fe Animal Shelter: Play Yard Renovation Grant Report

What was the money or product used for?

This grant was used for fencing improvements to our Admissions play yard, and for the construction of a reinforced shade structure to protect dogs in the play yard from overexposure to the elements.

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

Both aspects of this grant were helpful, both to us as an organization and to tho dogs in our care who use the play yard. The Admissions play yard is one of the several outdoor areas on campus intended to provide dogs with exercise and play, both of which are indispensable to their mental and physical health. Having a more secure fence line allows for safer play among the dogs and reduces their chances of escaping into the surrounding desert. The shade structure provides protection to the dogs in the event of extreme weather such as dust storms, hail storms, and thunderstorms, which we experience regularly in the high desert. In the summer, it provides them with shade and lowers their risk of sunstroke or heat fatigue.

How many pets did this grant help?

942

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

A total of 942 dogs have been helped by the Admissions play yard renovations so far, but these improvements are particularly beneficial to our more behaviorally sensitive residents. One such dog is Cassini (first photo), who was picked up as a stray by Animal Control and admitted to the shelter in September. Initially, Cassini was shy and fearful of both people and other dogs. Over the course of her time here, she has grown to be more social, friendly, and active. This growth is due in large part to her positive experiences in the Admissions play yard, where she felt safe enough in her environment to engage with other dogs and people in a playful and healthy way. We are so proud of Cassini and can’t wait for her to find her forever home. Her Petfinder profile can be found here: http://www.petfinder.com/petdetail/39685607