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Friends of the Northumberland County Animal Shelter: KONG Toys Grant Report

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

Volunteers from the Friends of the Northumberland County Animal Shelter (FNCAS) helped shelter staff develop a daily routine of preparing and distributing Kong toys received from your grant. Most days, each dog at the county shelter now receives a Kong toy stuffed with a tasty treat at the end of the day.

All our canine residents enjoyed the Kongs. They became part of a calming routine at the end of the day. The Kong toys provide comfort and stimulation to our dogs when staff and volunteers go home and lights go out. We noticed that two groups of dogs in particular were greatly helped by the Kongs: the timid dogs and the high-energy-with-anxiety group. It is fun to see how excited the dogs get when it is time to hand out Kongs! They know the room the Kongs are in and the sound of that peanut butter jar. Many of our dogs have had rough lives before arriving at our shelter. Some have never had a toy before they come through our doors. The ones who had homes previously feel uncertain about the future. To have such a fun treat at the end of the day eases the transition.

How many pets did this grant help?

Since April 1, 2019, 90 dogs have benefited from the Kong toys provided by the Petfinder Foundation grant! During that same time period, live outcomes included 43% adopted, 22% to rescue groups, 10% owner reclaimed and 22% awaiting adoption. Of note: Several of the adoptions were the result of posting on Petfinder.

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

Three dogs in particular come to mind. Chuck arrived to our shelter after being left tied up outside his whole life. He was skinny and very wary of people. Understandably, Chuck has much anxiety when he is in his kennel. The Kong has become his security blanket. He has it with him every minute of the day and makes sure to carry it with him when he goes outside to the play yard. We saw a big increase in his anxiety when the Kong was inadvertently not put in with him one day. We are so very pleased that the Kong brings Chuck comfort. Chuck is awaiting some medical treatment and then will be available for adoption.

The second dog we want to mention is Brook. Brook, a small beagle, was terrified when she arrived. It was initially not possible to touch her without a negative reaction. She showed no interest or pleasure in anything. Well! Enter the Kong into her life. Brook is, to put it mildly, passionate about her Kong and its hidden treats. She becomes very vocal at the first sign she is going to get her Kong. She goes scurrying to her bed to curl up and enjoy her treasure. After the introduction of a Kong, and receiving one regularly from staff or volunteers, Brook’s personality has begun to emerge. She actually waits at the door of her kennel now for a walk! Brook is getting one-on-one attention from volunteers and will soon be available for adoption.

The third dog is Jupiter. Jupiter arrived very timid. Her enthusiasm shows, though, when she sees her Kong. We purchased a Kong to send home with her when she was adopted to ease her transition.

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