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Sanilac County Humane Society: Orvis Dog Enrichment Grant Report

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

The money was used to purchase items to provide enrichment activities for the dogs at our shelter. The items included: Two large horse balls; two medium dog balls; two small horse balls; three treat balls; two small Buster Cubes; two large Buster Cubes; two Ethical Pet Seeking-a-Treat Bone Puzzle; two medium Kong toys; two Milk-Bone active dispensing balls; Kong football; Kong frisbee; XL chew bones; agility kit; and interactive tether tug toy.

This grant allowed us to purchase many toys used to provide our dogs with enrichment activities to help reduce their barking and anxiety. Calmer, friendlier dogs are more adoptable. Some of the dogs toys, such as Kongs, chew bones, Buster Cubes, chew bones, and treat balls, were used in their kennels to stimulate mental and physical activity. This helps reduce barking and the dogs' anxiety. The volunteers who walk and play with the dogs used the Kong football, frisbee, horse balls, and agility kit to give the dogs physical activity and positive interactions. The dogs played with other toys in the shelter yard to provide physical and mental stimulation, such as the larger horse balls and an interactive tether tug toy. All of these enrichment activities provide physical and mental stimulation that have helped to reduce the dogs' barking, tormenting of dogs in adjacent kennels, and their anxiety. These positive changes are making the dogs more adoptable.

How many pets did this grant help?

Currently 20 dogs have been able to use the toys. The toys will be used with dogs who enter the shelter in the future.

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

Duke (first photo) was a 2-year-old boxer mix who was a stray roaming the streets in Detroit. He was captured by Detroit Animal Control but had not been adopted from their facility. He was at risk for being euthanized until our shelter contacted Detroit Animal Control looking to pull dogs. In mid-August, Duke came to Sanilac County Humane Society looking for his forever home. At our shelter, Duke barked consistently and tormented the neighboring dogs. When people came to see him, he appeared anxious and overactive, so he wasn’t adopted. Then we got the toys thanks to this grant. Then we were able to provide enrichment activities for Duke. He loved pushing the horse balls around the yard for hours to decrease his energy. In his kennel, he loved to chew on the chew bones and Kongs. These activities helped reduce his barking, he stopped tormenting the dogs next to him and he appeared less anxious. As a result, Duke was adopted by a forever family who have reported that he has become a loved and important member of their family.

Vulcan (second photo) was a large 2-year-old dog who was picked up by Sanilac Animal Control. He came to our shelter just before he was to be euthanized. He was energetic and loved to play in the yard. When he saw birds in the yard, he would become overly excited. Introducing the enrichment activities, such as the interactive tug toy and agility tube, to Vulcan helped him focus his physical energy. In the kennel, he became very nervous, which caused him to sit in the corner and shake. When people came to see him, he didn’t appear interested in seeing them. When he was given a food-dispensing toy for an extra snack and a small horse ball to play with in his kennel, he became more relaxed and interactive when people came to see him. Vulcan was adopted by a family with a large yard and a kennel for him to stay in when they go out. Vulcan and his family spend time playing ball and going for walks.

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