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Alpine Humane Society: Play Group Training Grant Report

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

Dogs Playing for Life mentorship training program in Longmont, CO.

Carrie Branum, our enrichment specialist, joined our organization after our onsite DPFL training. At the very least, we shared our experience with her. When she attended the training, she found out we had done a pretty good job, but there was so much more! Carrie says, "My days included getting a behind-the-scenes. The set-up at Longmont Humane Society presented a very different environment and I learned so much about meet/greet rituals, humping issues, and special pressure, and that the dogs actually switch play styles! Most importantly, I learned to utilize all the tools and techniques to support healthy and appropriate behavior for the pets AND the volunteers. The "balance training approach" uses the tools of reward and correction, which can save pets from the merry-go-round of failed adoptions or needless euthanasia. With this in-depth training, I have begun to work with our volunteer dog walkers differently and have more confidence in the playgroups than I ever thought possible. The stress of kennel life for the dogs is simply lessened and frankly, without this environment, I am not sure how the dogs could be adopted in our small community or be eligible for transport to our rescue partners. The experience has made me more eager to share this program with any and all of our dog residents, soon to be in their homes with skills to make sure they live happily ever after!"

How many pets did this grant help?

Since the inception of the DPFL program at our shelter in November 2016, 180 dogs have been adopted or transferred from our shelter. Without DPFL, this could not have happened.

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

Boss was surrendered to the shelter in Alpine for being “too rough” with his dog siblings. For this reason, he was initially kept separate from other dogs, though through the first DPFL training that we had had on-site, we observed him at gates with other dogs and eventually brought him into small playgroups. Boss clearly shed some of his shelter stress once he participated in playgroups, and he was a better-than-most playmate with other dogs, eventually becoming a rock star. He also showed a particularly tender heart for puppies — something the volunteers would not have tried without seeing him interact with other dogs his size first.

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