Skip to content

Pearl River County SPCA: Dogs Playing for Life Mentorship Grant Report

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

This grant allowed our kennel attendant, Lauren Dwyer, to attend the Dogs Playing for Life Mentorship. While there, Lauren gained invaluable understanding for how to better facilitate playgroups with a large variety of dogs. Her attendance gave her the confidence to run playgroups daily and to allow for dogs with a larger variety of play styles to attend playgroups. This has given the dogs better social-interaction skills and gives them to freedom to enjoy more time outside of their kennels and the confidence to engage in intraspecies play.

How many pets did this grant help?

Approximately 850 adult dogs

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

Dodger is a 1.5-year-old Lab-Australian cattle dog mix who was brought to our facility in late March of this year as a stray. He is a beautiful, friendly, playful dog, but he did test positive for heartworms.

Unfortunately, even though he received treatment for the diagnosis, he continued to be overlooked for adoption. As the months passed, his behavior began to deteriorate and he became frustrated by the amount of time he spent in the kennel during the day.

Although his kennelmate was energetic and loved to play, he would often become frustrated with her and they would have to be separated for everyone’s safety. Because of his kennel behavior, Dodger was not allowed into playgroups for a period of time.

After Lauren attended the DPFL mentorship, she returned with improved insights into dog behavior and new ideas for facilitating safe playgroups for dogs with rowdy playstyles. Dodger was allowed to rejoin playgroups and began to flourish.

With the additional time outside of his kennel and more interactions with dogs of a similar playstyle, his kennel frustration and reactivity were dramatically reduced. Once Dodger’s kennel frustration was reduced, staff were able to begin to work on modifying some of his inappropriate behaviors, such as jumping, mouthing, and leash-pulling.

After five long months of being in the shelter, Dodger was finally adopted! A local scout troop had reached out offering volunteer hours. The plan was to visit with our longtime residents and write biographies for their online adoption profiles in an effort to help them get adopted. One young lady spent much of the day with Dodger and, when her mother came to pick her up, her mother fell in love too (second photo).

Here is a short video of Dodger in a rowdy playgroup.

Further Reading