The Petfinder Foundation Dogs Playing for Life Mentorship Program Grant was used to cover tuition cost for Tim Yeaglin, our director of operations, to attend a Dogs Playing for Life mentorship session in Florida. With the tools he has learned, he is enhancing our shelter dogs’ quality of life by allowing them to engage in natural social behaviors.
The training Tim received allows us to provide true freedom to our shelter dogs. By letting dogs interact with one another, their overall experience at a shelter can be changed from detrimental to positive. We estimate we can bring at least 800 dogs throughout this year physical and mental stimulation and at least that many each year after. The dogs burn off energy, learn social skills and are more relaxed when meeting potential adopters. As an extra bonus, the groups bring joy to the volunteers and staff members who are helping Tim run the playgroups. It’s a great way to fight off compassion fatigue. Joy is infectious. The advanced obedience training that Tim was taught has helped grow our volunteer programming by training the volunteers in more dog obedience training. The training allows the dogs with more advanced behavior issues to be addressed and be safely placed in loving homes.
Just recently we posted a short video of Paul (pictured) and Iron Man having a great time in playgroup. His adopter saw the video and came to visit Paul. This resulted in Paul getting adopted after seven months of awaiting his heroes. The video can be seen here (he’s the one with the stubby tail).
We originally adopted out Paul as puppy and, to our dismay, upon his return we discovered he was never properly socialized with humans or other dogs. Because we had few resources to concentrate primarily on him, the doggy playgroups he was a part of on a regular basis helped him learned how to be social appropriately to not only other dogs but to humans as well. Most importantly, Tim learned at his mentorship how to properly introduce Paul to strangers and to use the command “park it,” which allowed Paul to go out in public and be social. His story can be seen here (Tim Yeaglin, who was awarded the mentorship, is the human in the video).