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Central Missouri Humane Society: Grant Report

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

The grant funding we received from the Petfinder Foundation went towards the purchase of supplies and equipment for use in our Behavior Modification and Training Program. This grant allowed us to purchase treat pouches, Mendota British slip leads, leather long lines and calming collars for animals coming into our shelter.

The Mendota slip leads are perfect for daily staff use. The short length keeps the dog close and has thicker roping than our usual slip leads for handler and dog comfort. The treat pouches are excellent for both basic clicker-training and advanced training.

The Adaptil calming collars we purchased are such an amazing resource to have for the dogs in our shelter. These collars allow our dogs to cope with the stress and fear of the shelter and help set them up for success during evaluation.

A really neat enrichment product we purchased was a Leerburg Nosework scent kit. We have been using oil samples for environmental enrichment and scent therapy. Different daily essential oils are mixed with water and applied with a spray bottle to beds, toys or other objects in the environment to provide mental stimulation. Mental stimulation is so important in a shelter environment and helps boost a dog’s mood and keep his mind sharp — and it can be particularly useful for those canines who are bored, frustrated or don’t enjoy being around other dogs.

We also purchased Omega Paw Tricky Treat Balls to help combat boredom and keep dogs mentally stimulated. Another really neat thing we purchased was a speaker system for use in our kennel area. It has been proven that psychoacoustic music lowers blood pressure, calms the nervous system and reduces anxiety, and the periodic rhythms slow down brain processes, circulation and respiration. This ultimately means less barking, fewer fearful behaviors and happier dogs!

We are so grateful to have received this grant from the Petfinder Foundation. We understand how stressful the shelter can be for our animals and we try to enrich our dogs as much as possible and surround them with a sense of safety and love. We try to listen to our dogs and read their body language to best meet not only their physical but emotional needs. However, our resources are limited. This grant allowed us to purchase additional supplies and equipment so that we could create a low-stress, stable environment where dogs are encouraged to succeed.

Most behavior issues, even those that seem severe, can be corrected with proper training and positive reinforcement. By empowering dogs and boosting their confidence through enrichment, behavior and training, we have decreased length of stay and increased potential for adoption.

It is our duty, not only as shelter workers but as human beings, to give every animal who comes through our door the best chance possible at finding a family and continuing his or her journey out in the world. Thanks to the Petfinder Foundation, many of our animals are on their way to finding happy endings.

How many pets did this grant help?

350

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

Brutus is an American bulldog who was relinquished to our shelter in the spring. His family was moving and was unable to take him with them. Under a year old and over 100 lbs., he was full of puppy energy and thought he would make a great lap dog. Because of his size and energy, we knew he would need an experienced and active owner who was willing to work with him. His first adopter fell in love with him and thought he was a perfect match, but soon found that he was simply too big and played too rough with their older dog. They had started training Brutus and teaching him basic manners and said that he was very smart and was catching on quickly.

We continued his training when he was returned to the shelter and made sure to provide him with extra enrichment throughout the day. His size was a bit intimidating for some potential adopters and we wanted to give him the skills to succeed at the shelter and show off his amazing personality. Brutus excelled at clicker-training and we saw an immediate change in his behavior in the kennel. He gained the ability to focus during training and wait patiently in his kennel for staff and adopters to take him outside. He especially enjoyed scent therapy sessions and playing with puzzle balls during the day. As he gained skills, we saw a decrease in his anxiety level and he began to relax in his kennel. After five long months in and out of the shelter, Brutus finally found a home that was perfect for him!

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