What was the money or product used for?
The grant money was used to buy materials to build play yards for the dogs at the Cinderella Pet Rescue no-kill shelter. The actual cost for the play yards exceeded $5,000 in materials. Without the grant money it would have been impossible for us to build the play yards. Without the play yards, we would not have been able to have the training by Aimee Sadler and Ali Waszmer from the Dogs Playing for Life program. The grant money made it possible for us to buy the posts, fencing, cement and gates used to construct the yards.
How did this grant help your organization and the pets in your care?
The design of the play yards enables us to effectively coordinate large play groups for the dogs at our no-kill shelter. This offers improved socialization for the dogs and helps them expend some of their energy in positive ways. It also helps us evaluate the dogs’ personalities more effectively and determine their interaction styles, which improves their proper placement into adoptive homes. Because dogs learn better from each other, the play groups offer them opportunities to find out how to interact appropriately with others. This transfers to new dogs in new environments.
How many pets did this grant help?
There were 59 dogs who were able to participate in the play groups during the training by the Dogs Playing for Life training. However, all dogs admitted to our shelter will benefit from the ongoing play groups now being conducted on a regular basis.
Please provide a story of one or more specific pets this grant helped.
Phoenix is a dog who came to us emaciated, with severe demodectic mange and infected skin (first photo). He also had ehrlichiosis, one of the tick-borne diseases common in our area. After months of treatment, he was healthy enough to interact with other dogs. However, he was reactive when dogs were brought close to his kennel or if he was on a leash. For fear that his apparent aggression would be dangerous to the other dogs, Phoenix was maintained in a separate pen and was not allowed to have direct interaction with other dogs. However, during the training it was decided to give Phoenix the opportunity to participate in a small play group with specific dogs. What was discovered was that the seemingly aggressive behavior Phoenix had been exhibiting was actually a frustration with not being able to play. Once in the play groups, he blossomed, and ran and played with numerous dogs. Although he can be reactive with certain play styles, he is a star playing with most of the dogs at our shelter. We discovered that Phoenix wasn’t just a terrific pal to people but was also a great playmate for many of his canine companions. It was wonderful to see him so happy as he played with the other dogs. The Dogs Playing for Life training conducted in the play yards built with the grant money gave Phoenix the opportunity to rise from the ashes once again and become the awesome dog we have all grown to love. We hope that someday Phoenix will have a forever home where he can continue to develop and grow (Phoenix today: second and third photos). Meet Phoenix: https://www.petfinder.com/petdetail/29409788
Chardonnay (fourth photo) came to us as a puppy along with her four male siblings. All had been tortured and were terrified of people. However, only Chardonnay had been burned with cigarettes. She grew up at the shelter but remained shy and withdrawn. Although she learned to trust a few people, she never seemed to interact much with other dogs. However, by the third day in the play groups, she started to play. Soon she was running and jumping and having fun! The difference in her demeanor was amazing. Even after leaving the play yard, her confidence and enthusiasm for life was evident. She started welcoming attention from people, something she had never done before. The play yard experiences have cracked her protective shell and allowed her to hatch into a happy, loving dog who may now have a chance to be adopted. Meet Chardonnay: https://www.petfinder.com/petdetail/17355814
There are so many dogs who have blossomed during the play groups. And it has made them more contented. They bark less, sleep more (being tired from all the play time) and are much easier to handle. It is clear they are less stressed and frustrated because they have the chance to do what dogs do best: play! Having the play yards and implementing the play groups has changed the lives of so many dogs at our shelter and made them happier, healthier and more adoptable.