The Haven No-Kill Animal Shelter: KONG Toy Grant

What was the money or product used for?

The Haven caregivers utilize the Kongs daily to help reduce stress in our canine residents who are visiting The Haven until they are ready for a new loving home. Each Kong is stuffed with layers of goodies before being frozen for 24 hours. Each morning at 11 a.m., volunteers and our small staff distribute these frozen treats to our canine residents, who are happily awaiting this special tidbit. Additionally, by decreasing stress and improving the quality of life for a Haven adoptable dog, the animal’s length of stay will decrease.

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

These Kongs have helped reduce the stress of our canine residents who visit the shelter until they are healthy and ready for adoption. Our adoptable canines are showing behaviors that indicate calmness, trust, and happiness. This resonates with potential adopters and helps reduce their length of stay by getting them responsible, caring homes for the rest of their lives.

How many pets did this grant help?

From June 1, 2019, until Sept. 30, 2019, these Kongs have changed the lives of 40 canines.

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

Annamae is a beautiful, 5-year-old, free-spirit hound mix who was found wandering the streets in search of her next meal. Thankfully, an animal control officer picked her up and brought her to the animal control shelter. While there, she hopefully waited for months for her owner to reclaim her. Annamae’s life was changed when we met her and transferred her to The Haven.

When she arrived at The Haven, our caregivers quickly got to work providing Annamae with medical care, nutritious food, and lots of love. However, we noticed that Annamae was also suffering from extreme stress, and that being confined in a small area for too long caused her to spin in circles.

Our caregivers gathered and discussed Annamae’s behavior-modification plans with the team. The plan included daily walks, playgroups, enrichment toys, and a frozen Kong layered with treats. When Annamae received her first stuffed, frozen Kong, she was curious about this sizable red object. She sniffed and sniffed before making short, quick licks. Suddenly she was all over it! The caregivers noticed a calmness in her behavior, and she stopped spinning in circles. Her enrichment plan was revised to include two Kongs a day.

Annamae soon began to get some interest from potential adopters. It was clear that these Kongs helped reduce her stress and provide hours of positive mental stimulation. The visitors no longer looked the other way like they did when they would see her spinning in circles.

The Kongs changed her behavior so much that we are excited to share that Annamae was recently adopted. Her adopter visited the shelter and met Annamae relaxing on her bed, enjoying her Kong. After a meet-and-greet and information about the Kong, the adopter took her home to foster her and to see how she would acclimate to his house. Just three days after taking Annamae into his life and home, the adopter returned to finalize the adoption. He said, “Annamae is doing well, and I could not imagine my life without her.” It was a great day for our sweet Annamae, whose life with us went from hopeless, to hopeful, to infinite happiness.

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