Motley Zoo Animal Rescue: All-Star Dog Rescue Celebration Grant

What was the money or product used for?

We are using the funds to produce training videos. We were delayed for a bit because our selected videographers were away (fishing in Alaska), but we’ve started scripting and storyboarding as well as doing some preliminary filming. We’re in production, though it will still take some time, as the project is very intense. We are literally filming everything from the minute you think about fostering, to getting your animal, to what you do when you get him or her home, as well as training techniques and processes, as well as common issues such as resource-guarding and barking, nipping and such. This is a long-term project, but one we know will be shared with other rescue organizations. It really is a monumental undertaking, one we don’t want to do anything but a stellar job on.

The videographer has a deep investment and commitment in the organization as well, which means we’re supporting a business that also supports us, which is pretty important to us as well. We will be thrilled to announce the completion of the videos, we hope within the next three months. We are so grateful for this opportunity and we are honored that we were chosen. We will not let the foundation down with this effort.

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

This grant will help hundreds of animals, and more over time. That is a very general statement, we know, but being able to have videos that specifically outline every little detail of how we want fosters to manager their animals, work with training issues, and more, will help add some consistency to our foster program. We hope that these videos, when shared, will also help other organizations — perhaps especially those just starting out, seeking some kind of easy way to show fosters how to work with their animals. These videos could literally be the difference between a dog staying in a foster home — or even an adoptive one — and one who comes back to the shelter or gets deemed to have “issues.”

Many of the situations fosters deal with are simple enough that, with proper instruction and guidance, they can be solved within the home through these videos, but we believe that no matter the problem, with this kind of empowerment, foster families will be able to graduate to taking on more difficult situations in time. We believe too that, with this kind of consistency and support, fosters will trust us and communicate with us better, which will ensure deeper, longer-lasting relationships — which means more animals can be saved in time.

How many pets did this grant help?

350 per year

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

One of the videos we have is about how to load an animal in the car. It is not enough to tell someone to hold onto the leash; this simply doesn’t register enough because they don’t understand the consequences of a dog getting loose, especially a really fearful one. Two dogs that we have had like this are sisters, Phoebe (first photo) and Paige (second photo) — cattle dog mixes who lived outside for the first year of their lives. They both have a vestibular condition in which their heads are cocked, and both are exceptionally skittish — screaming, pooping and peeing when you reach for them, at least at first. At one point, each has gotten away from their fosters — even very skilled ones — and we are using them as the prime example of how difficult it can be to load an animal into a car.

This video shows specifically how the animals can freak out and flail, or try and back out of the car. While a bit sad to see something simple be so hard for them, it really drives home to fosters how each animal can act — some you can expect this of them and others will surprise you. By not only keeping the leash on, attaching it to something solid in the car and making sure you have a good hold before the door opens, the video shows different ways to keep dogs from getting away when you’re just trying to get them home.

Phoebe has since been adopted and is doing great. Paige is still struggling a bit, getting better and then worse with her behavior. She will be featured in other videos too, for this very reason! We are dedicated to her indefinitely and we offer her every training option possible, as well as dog daycare, and her foster is really skilled. Paige is just a tough one, but her example — and hopefully her improvement in other videos — can help others as well with dogs that can be very trying and longer-term.

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