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Grand Prairie Animal Services: Dogs Playing for Life Mentorship Grant Report

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

Our organization sent one of our Senior Animal Care Technicians for this grant-funded mentorship and have already seen extraordinary results. Taking a step back, when COVID operations allowed us to institute an intake waitlist for the first time ever, we finally had the capacity to work with special “behavior” cases who would previously have been euthanized due to the overwhelming numbers of animals coming through our doors.

We learned that many dogs who had been perceived as behavior cases were victims of the stressful environment, and they in fact transitioned quickly to being their best selves in a home. Some outliers needed extra support. This is where this mentorship has been a lifesaver -- literally.

With the skills taken from DPFL’s training, our staffer has been able to share critical knowledge and institute effective tactics and behavior modification to make a tremendous difference in our operations.

How many pets did this grant help?

Our annual number of adult dogs is almost 2,400 per year.

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

From Senior Animal Care Technician Gillian Flebbe: After my mentorship at DPFL, I returned to work with more confidence in my ability to modify behaviors in dogs to help them find their forever homes.

When I returned to work, a dog who popped up on my radar was Gucci, a dog with an extensive history of being mouthy and unruly in the home, often resorting to aggression to get his way. I took Gucci in as a foster and within a matter of two months effected a major change in his behaviors by using tools such as loose leash walking, a training collar to help solidify commands by adding leash pressure, enrichment to wear him out not just physically but mentally, and a strict and constant schedule.

I noticed that, with the addition of handler direction and an outlet for his energy, Gucci was easier to handle and did not feel he needed to use his mouth to communicate what he wanted.

The photos show Gucci once he began to pick up on his training, and some of the things he found joy in that helped ease his frustration. The final photo shows him with his new mom.

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