Skip to content

Heartland Humane Society: Dogs Playing for Life Mentorship Grant Report

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

Money provided was used to send staff member Janette Kaddatz to Colorado for Dogs Playing for Life training.

The DPFL format and training expanded enrichment for the animals in our care at Heartland Humane Society. The staff would have never dreamed of putting multiple dogs together in the play yard before this. We have now incorporated DPFL play hours twice a week and sneak in more if traffic is low and time allows. We have also sent a part-time employee to a DPFL training so we now have two trained team members.

How many pets did this grant help?

Approximately 350 dogs stay at HHS in any year.

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

Bruno was a dog in our care whom most volunteers and staff had written off as dog-reactive. Weighing in at over 100 lbs., Bruno was a big dude. He was strong and lacked a lot of basic training, making engaging with him very hard.

Week one of Dogs Playing for Life playgroups, Bruno lasted about 45 seconds in the yard before he was overstimulated and reacting negatively with other dogs.

But week two, the shelter brought in another male dog about the same size and age. Our trained staff was able to introduce the two with confidence and they immediately became best buds.

Bruno now was paired to play, which helped with enrichment and his energy levels. He was much happier and easier to care for, and he was adopted more quickly (first photo) than he would have been without playgroup.

Further Reading