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Miami-Dade County Animal Services Department: Dogs Playing for Life Mentorship Grant Report

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

The grant monies awarded were utilized exclusively to cover the costs of tuition for ASD’s Canine Enrichment Coordinator, Savannah Cavanaugh, at the Longmont Dogs Playing for Life Mentorship Program on Aug. 14, 2017.

Your enrichment training helped in offering key strategies to our first-ever full-time Canine Enrichment Coordinator, allowing her to roll out a program incorporating best practices from the onset. Her first day on the job was Aug. 14 at your training. The training helped her identify key programs for implementation at the shelter. This has exponentially increased the number of pets engaging in enrichment opportunities at ASD.

How many pets did this grant help?

700+. The Enrichment Program has reached an average of 70 pets on a weekly basis in the 10 weeks since implementation began.

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

Rocxie (A1901834) is a 60-lb. tricolored terrier mix who came to ASD via local law enforcement. In her previous life, Rocxie witnessed much trauma to herself and her owner. Extremely fearful, she would hide at the back of her kennel, not coming forward at all. Ms. Cavanaugh immediately began working with her, and within one month could handle her fully, despite Rocxie being fearful around other people. Still making improvements, Rocxie perseveres. She has started seeking the attention of kennel staff and volunteers during playgroups, demonstrating a playful side that is finally, gently, stepping forward. Rocxie is sweet and highly adoptable, and ASD has every confidence that she will find a happy forever home soon.

Ebony is a medium-sized black German shepherd who was quickly identified by veterinary staff as needing enrichment. She entered the shelter with what presented as a neurological deficit, as she tends to walk in circles. She was introduced to daily playgroups so she could play and socialize with other dogs. Given her unknown neurological disorder, participating in the enrichment program gave Ebony a chance for life outside the shelter, and improvements were noted immediately after inclusion in playgroups. She was recently rescued by a Canadian rescue group with a sanctuary and the ability to provide her with greater medical attention.

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