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Abandoned Animal Rescue: Dogs Playing for Life Mentorship Grant Report

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

Because pets in AAR's adoption program stay with us until they are adopted, managing shelter stress is crucial for those dogs who are at the shelter for an extended time due to medical issues being treated or other issues impacting adoption.

All dogs receive exercise twice a day, but having more dog handlers able to conduct playgroups means more dogs not only get exercise, but interactive play. The dog handlers have created kennel tags to ID dogs for playgroups and boxes in the play yards with safety equipment.

Kim, the mentorship attendee, reported, "I believe that what we learned at DPFL has had, and will continue to have, a big impact on the dogs in our care. We're confident in putting together playgroups and also more confident in overall handling. We've been able to pass along the skills we learned to our handler group and increase their skills, knowledge, and confidence as well."

How many pets did this grant help?

Approximately 200 adult dogs

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

Luna (first photo) has been at the shelter for many months. She entered the shelter anxious and frightened and wouldn’t allow volunteers to touch her around her head and throat. 

We learned skills and gained confidence in DPFL training to add her to playgroups. She is truly a testimonial on how a dog has benefited from playgroups (second photo). She is now more relaxed and responsive to contact with us.

From Kim: “I couldn’t agree more about Luna. The change in her was miraculous. She’s gone from afraid to assertive in the most positive way. She manages the other dogs in playgroup with ease and confidence without over-correcting. It’s affected how she interacts with people one-on-one, also. It’s much easier to leash her up and to walk her. She’s even being affectionate with our play yard friends and handlers. She’s a different dog.”

You can meet Luna here.

Bruno (third photo) was at the shelter only a few weeks. He was very large — 90 lbs. — and sweet, and craved dog interaction. He would watch playgroups and escape other play yards to join the playgroup party. He actively participated in a playgroup and was a very happy boy. Because he was so large, DPFL gave us the skills to handle a large dog in a group with smaller dogs. He has been adopted.

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