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LifeLine Animal Project: Dogs Playing for Life Mentorship Grant Report

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

The $1,000 grant was used to cover the tuition cost for Jabari Gadsden, a LifeLine Animal Project team member at the DeKalb County shelter, to attend the Dogs Playing for Life Mentorship Program in late May.

This grant has greatly affected our organization in terms of opening the eyes of many to the benefits of playgroup, both for the dogs and ourselves. It has built a lot of confidence and skill when it comes to handling dogs for both staff and volunteers learning from and using the techniques shown during DPFL. The pets in our care have been more manageable, more presentable to adopters both in the kennel and play yards, and their overall quality of life seems to have improved.

How many pets did this grant help?

250 to date. Jabari participates in weekly puppy-room playgroups, which have approximately 20 dogs in them, and there have been roughly 12 weeks since his mentorship.

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

Playgroups change lives. Two of our dogs, Billy and Cho, have been specifically impacted by the Dogs Playing for Life program. Billy (pictured lying down) is an easygoing, lovely dog who enjoys the company of other dogs. His favorite thing is going into a playgroup and rolling around on his back, inviting other dogs to come over and say hello. When a dog will roll on its back next to him, he is in heaven. Because of his continual attendance at playgroups, he stayed very social even though he was at the shelter for an extended period of time. He was so social that he could be used to help dogs like Cho (second photo), who had a harder time being incorporated into groups.

Cho has barrier reactivity, not because she wants other dogs to move away, but because she wants them to play. Cho wants to play with other dogs so badly and has no impulse control, so playgroups are teaching her better manners! Cho goes into playgroups so that other dogs can teach her what is appropriate and what is not, and through this play therapy, she is becoming more adoptable with every session. Billy has found his forever home, and Cho is on her way to being highly adoptable due to the power of DPFL!

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