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Noah's Ark Animal Shelter SPCA: Dog Field Trip/Short-Term Fostering Grant Report

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

To be considered for this grant we had to take a course educating the staff at our facility about the enrichment benefits of allowing the dogs to go out on "field trips" with volunteers. It really opened our eyes that allowing the dogs to be checked out of the facility had so many positive outcomes.

Some people had concerns that the dogs would be sad to be coming back to the shelter, but we never once had a dog come back without its tail wagging like crazy!

This is such an outstanding course, and with the funding given, we were able to really change the atmosphere at our facility. The field trips allow the dogs to get out of the stressful environment of the loud, barking-filled shelter for the day and to just be dogs!

We send the volunteers off with ideas of pet-friendly places to take the dogs. The grant allowed us to purchase all kinds of goodies that make the trip even more beneficial to the pets and the shelter overall. We suit up the dogs in neon "Adopt Me" gear, alerting the public that the pet is available for adoption.

This way the pets are able to have their real personalities shine through while in non-stressful environments, and potential adopters can see their personalities outside of the shelter. Also, the volunteers are able to photograph precious moments of the pets while out and about and post to our social media, but also their personal pages as well. Therefore, we are reaching out to more people.

We found that a majority of the volunteers participating were finding homes for the pets taken out on the field trips through people they knew personally -- or they would adopt themselves! This also gives potential adopters the chance to take a dog out and about to see if they really fit into their lifestyle.

If not for the Petfinder Foundation recommending the course and offering the funding, we would have probably never have considered a field-trip program. We are very grateful we have put it into action and it will continue to improve many many dogs' stays with us in the future!

How many pets did this grant help?

At least 50

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

We had a long-term resident with us named Duke (first photo). He was a great Dane mix weighing in at more than 70 lbs., and due to his large size, he was always overlooked.

He was so well-mannered and well-behaved, but everyone who came in said he was just too large. He stayed at the shelter for almost six months.

He was the first dog we had in mind for this field trip pilot and the one we thought could benefit from it the most. Through it, people would be able to see his wonderful personality outside of the shelter and see that, although he was large, he was more of a gentle giant than anything.

We had a regular volunteer come and take him out and about for the day. Duke greeted many people on his trip that day and brought many smiles. We streamed his trip live on our social media and he caught quite the crowd and attention.

A family saw it and thought he was so precious, so they met the volunteer out on the trip and got to play with Duke. They fell in love and adopted him. They even stated they had not wanted a large dog, but when they were able to see him for more than just his size, they could not say no. This was all due to this program funded by the Petfinder Foundation. We were so happy to place Duke in such a loving home.

Our orientation slides with quiz can be found here.

Further Reading