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Houston Humane Society: Play Group Training Grant Report

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

The completion of the DPFL Level 1 mentorship has positively impacted the quality of life for dogs housed at Houston Humane Society (HHS). HHS Shelter Director Aaron Grady attended the Level 1 mentorship training and brought back a wealth of knowledge to share with our staff and dedicated volunteers.

Our larger, long-stay dogs and those with behavioral challenges have in particular benefited from the mental and physical outlet that playgroups have provided for them, making them more comfortable in the shelter environment, building their social skills, improving their mental health and adoptability, and allowing us to better understand their individual personalities, thereby facilitating better adoption and foster-home matches.

Not only have playgroups prevented behavior deterioration in the kennel and created a calmer atmosphere for the dogs housed here, but the improved morale and confidence have also extended to our team of staff and volunteers who work directly with these animals to provide daily care and enrichment.

How many pets did this grant help?

Approximately 2,300 dogs

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

When Allie (first photo) first came to us, she was understandably very frightened and uncomfortable at the shelter (second photo). At her first assessment, she showed signs of blatant dog aggression, snapping and displaying threatening behaviors towards other dogs as she passed them in the hall or walked past their kennel doors.

She was already a long-stay dog working alongside our behavioral team when we first introduced playgroups at our shelter and, to our surprise, Allie was an immediate playgroup rockstar (third photo).

Not only was Allie social in playgroups and enjoying her time outside, but she was so dog-friendly that she became a helper who aided other nervous dogs in acclimating to the playgroup environment.

After each play session, we noticed Allie’s daily behavior was improving overall and she could now walk calmly down the halls without reacting to other dogs as she once had.

With her new skills, infectious smile, and playful personality, Allie was adopted on Aug. 26 after a seven-month stay. Without playgroups, Allie would never have had the chance to shine and show off her true, sweet-natured personality.

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