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A.D.O.P.T. Pet Shelter: Orvis Dog Enrichment Grant Report

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

The grant funds we received are utilized to help aid our enrichment program here at the shelter. With the funds, we were able to purchase items that we use daily that can be expensive. Items included Kong spray cheese, chew items (rawhides, yak cheese bones, and other various types of chew items), licky-mats, flirt poles, and Toppls.

By being able to purchase all these items with the grant funds received, we were able to provide items that we have always wanted for the shelter, but never were able to purchase due to needing them in bulk or they're being too expensive.

Enrichment items are a huge asset to the shelter, as the dogs are here every day in the kennels alone. Being in a kennel environment creates so much stress for them, and if 30 minutes of chewing a bone, working on a puzzle toy, or playing chase can help them feel better, then the enrichment has created a healthier environment for them.

Many dogs can start to get bored and worn down from being in the kennel, even if they are here for a short time. The "kennel crazies" are a real thing and we try to eliminate them from happening as much as possible. Mental health for the dogs is just as important as, if not more important than, physical health. If their mental health deteriorates, that can create so many actual health problems as a result.

These items will be essential to their overall health while at the shelter, no matter how long or short of a time they are with us. The Kong spray cheese is used with the Licky-mats and the Toppls or Kongs. These puzzle toys are great to keep a dog busy by working to get the cheese out of the item. Sometimes it can last for up to 30 minutes or more, which is a great pastime for them while they are in their kennel.

The rawhides and other chews are great for individual, supervised chew time. This gives the dog time out of their kennel and chewing on something to keep them busy quietly. Not only does this help them decompress from the kennel, but it helps them learn to calm down and have quiet time, which will help them in their new home.

The flirt pole is like a giant cat wand toy for a dog. We help a lot of pit bull-type dogs and they love to chase things! These poles have a small chew/rope toy at the end that they can chase while the human is waving it around and it exerts a lot of their energy, which helps tire them out and decrease boredom and reactivity in the kennel. These poles are great for any kind of dog, but when we have dogs with high energy in the kennel, it is a great way to release a lot of that energy and keep them tired since we cannot get them running all day long.

How many pets did this grant help?

We received the grant funds close to the very end of 2021, so we started using the funds very late in December into January of 2022. We expect to help around 300+ dogs in the next year with the items we have received from the grant funds.

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

Currently, we have a dog named Ice (first photo) who has been with us since August of 2021. He is a handsome, white pit bull-type mix dog who is only about 2 years old. He has been with us for so long because he has unknown neurological problems. He gets “wobbly” when he walks and leans to the right, which causes him to fall a lot when over-excited.

He is just the sweetest and most joyous dog, but he has recently started to lick his paws excessively due to the stress of being here long-term. We have started using the licky-mats (second photo) and Toppl toys as part of his routine with the Kong cheese. He absolutely LOVES this and we have seen a reduction in the licking of his paws.

Unfortunately, he has not been adopted yet, but we are looking forward to his future of being able to find a family that is drawn to how adorable and sweet he is regardless of his medical issues.

The new enrichment has already created a better outlet for him, which in turn can help us showcase him better and help him relax more for when potential families come to meet with him. It also has reduced the redness and sores he got from licking his paws. You can meet Ice here.

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