Humane Society of Valdosta Lowndes County: Dogs Playing for Life Mentorship Grant Report
How did this grant help your organization and the pets in your care?
By attending the second-level mentorship at CCF, we were able to learn about fancy footwork and the significant benefit of kennel routines to our shelter dogs. In addition to our own dogs benefitting from this training opportunity, our local county municipal shelter, which in the past hasn't been as receptive to outside ideas and teachings, allowed us to come and show them the incredible benefit of playgroups and such things as click for quiet. We're able to affect more than just the dogs in our own care and save even more.
How many pets did this grant help?
Please provide a story of one or more specific pets this grant helped.
Almond came to us after giving birth to six puppies in our county municipal shelter, and unfortunately, due to shelter protocols, was kept in her kennel with her puppies for six weeks. She was not let outside to roam around due to fear of diseases and contamination that could be passed on to her puppies, nor was she allowed to be around other dogs.
She was becoming highly reactive to dogs who would pass her kennel and would even repeatedly jump to see and bark at the dogs in the kennel next to her. The staff were at their wits’ end and asked us to pull her from the shelter. Since her puppies no longer needed her and because, due to her frustration, she was becoming a danger to her puppies, we went ahead and pulled her into our care.
The best word to describe Almond at that time was “neurotic.” She truly could not contain herself when she was in her kennel. She spent the first several hours running back and forth, jumping up and barking at the dogs who were several kennels down from her.
When we brought her into our recently donated play yard for the first time by herself, she didn’t seem to know what to do. We decided not to put off introducing her to one of our helper dogs to avoid building even more barrier frustration for her. As soon as she saw Brad, she was nipping through the fence, jumping up, barking, etc.
When she didn’t show any signs of aggression towards Brad, and Brad did not seem overly concerned about her, we let Almond into the play yard to greet Brad. And man, was that a whirlwind of crazy! All of Almond’s frustration and anxiety was released onto Brad.
Thankfully, Brad is not only an exceptional helper dog, he is also a bit of a wuss if he gets yelled at by another dog. Brad did everything he could to show Almond he was not a threat and laid down in the dirt so she would calm down.
We utilized our the skills we’d learned with our playgroup tools to help steer and slow down Almond. The frenzy quickly resolved, but Almond still wasn’t so sure about Brad.
However, the next time Almond came into the play yard to play with Brad, she was only 10% crazy, instead of 100%. The time after that, she wasn’t crazy at all. She was excited to be out and was comfortable and confident around Brad.
Over the next few weeks, Almond progressively got more and more comfortable and not only started to choose to play with Brad, but also got to meet a few other dogs and she did amazingly well.
Almond was then chosen to go on a transport to Humane Society of Broward County and is currently still available for adoption. She is sweet and just wants to be loved on by people as much as she can to make up for lost time. You can meet Almond here.