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Denver Animal Shelter: Grant Report

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

Denver Animal Shelter (DAS) used the generous grant, Petfinder Foundation Adoption Options in Action, in two main ways: adoption counseling training and behavior/enrichment.

Half of the grant went towards behavior and enrichment to purchase catnip and cat grass, camping stools for reading to shy cats and dogs, wall pockets to encourage communication between staff and volunteers about behavior observations, and funding to bring dog behavior expert Sue Sternberg to the shelter to review shelter processes and evaluations. Sue also spent time educating senior staff members on how certain dog behaviors correlate to risk in our community.

The other half of the grant was used for conference attendance for a staff member to receive training in adoption counseling and a better understanding of animal welfare. This staff member will continue to share her knowledge and enhance the adoption counseling process at Denver Animal Shelter.

This grant offered a team member the ability to enhance the customer experience through adoption-counseling techniques. This will be immensely helpful in placing shelter animals in appropriate homes as well as assuring consistent customer service to our adopters. In addition, this grant made it possible to bring Sue Sternberg to the shelter to participate in behavior evaluations. She helped our staff understand the language used across the nation to explain behavior we are seeing. Sue also helped our staff explain the behaviors as they were happening and put them into the context of the animal-sheltering movement and other municipal animal shelters. The grant also made cat enrichment a priority, which is key for our felines.

How many pets did this grant help?

The training and enrichment this grant made possible will impact hundreds of animals in the coming months.

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

We sometimes see animals who struggle in the shelter environment. This is especially true for our cat population. Cats, like dogs, are very sound- and scent-sensitive. In particular, we have a long-term feline resident, Shadow. He struggles with the adoption center because of the bustle and noise. When we introduced catnip to Shadow, he became more visibly comfortable and continues to be calmer when this resource is available to him. We hope that the catnip will help to ease his transition into a home and provide a sense of familiarity when he meets his new family. Thank you for this grant that made it possible to introduce more cat enrichment to Denver Animal Shelter!