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The Haley Graves Foundation: Dogs Playing for Life Mentorship Grant Report

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

This money was used to send our training coordinator, James, to attend the DPFL Mentorship at Austin Pets Alive! He went to learn how to properly implement playgroups for our foster dogs, and how we can improve the socialization and quality of life of the dogs in our program.

James learned how to properly conduct playgroups in a safe and controlled manner. James has conducted regular playgroups with fosters to get them out and around other dogs on a regular basis. This has helped the dogs receive physical exercise, mental stimulation, and social enrichment. Since we are a foster-based rescue, we are currently looking for a suitable location to be able to run larger, more frequent playgroups, and possibly invite other rescue organizations to participate.

How many pets did this grant help?


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

Tank is a male German shepherd, approximately 2 years old. He was brought to us due to being reactive toward other dogs. He had previously bitten one dog. Tank was introduced to playgroups with the help of helper dogs Oliver, a cocker spaniel, and Cane, a shepherd. Tank was initially very uneasy. He had a very stiff body posture and would snap whenever another dog invited him to play. He stayed off by himself for the first three playgroups that he participated in.

During his fourth playgroup, Tank was observed initiating contact with Oliver. Tank would give small sniffs and slight play bows. About midway through the playgroup, Tank was much more loose and playful. In subsequent playgroups, Tank and Oliver would play well together. Tank and Oliver both have a “rough and rowdy” play style. They became a great fit once Tank had warmed up a bit.

Tank has found a forever home. His family bring Tank to playgroup pretty regularly to continue Tank’s progress.

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