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Homeward Animal Shelter: Orvis Dog Enrichment Grant Report

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

The Orvis grant allowed our shelter to purchase enrichment toys and supplies for use with our adoptable dogs. The enrichment toys break up the monotony of shelter life for the dogs and the other supplies were items such as harness, which make it easier when volunteers are taking them for walks as part of our enrichment program.

Our dogs have always had plenty of volunteers to walk them; however, that was the bulk of their enrichment time. Without more mental stimulation, some of the dogs were a bit unruly. We've found that with more mental stimulation, the dogs have calmed slightly, making them more adoptable. People also enjoy seeing the dogs playing with the toys, especially our kiddie pool for the dogs during the summer. We feel that every bit of enrichment we can provide our dogs make their stay at the shelter shorter, because they are calmer when people come to visit.

How many pets did this grant help?

100+ (toys will be reused until they are damaged beyond repair, so could be several years)

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

Petey is a pit bull terrier who has been in our shelter’s care since January 2017. Petey loves people, but he is the type of dog that requires quite a bit of mental stimulation. Although Petey wants to be with people, he previously found it acceptable to grab onto people’s arms as a means of getting what he wanted. This rough play would often result in bruised arms, and discouraged adopters who saw this behavior.

Through the grant, we have been able to provide Petey with suitable toys to curb this behavior. We’ve found that he really enjoys Kongs and Kong Wobblers and will do nearly anything for these toys — and, in addition, they keep him entertained for several minutes. Afterwards, he’s much calmer and easier to work with. A dog trainer has also been working with him and Petey no longer mouths on people when he’s bored. The enrichment we’ve provided has helped Petey become more adoptable and we hope he will soon find his adoptive home! Petey’s profile:

Further Reading