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Neenah Animal Shelter: KONG Toys Grant Report

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

We use KONGs to provide mental stimulation and reduce boredom while the dogs are in their kennels. Dogs require not only physical exercise, but mental exercise too.

The KONGs have been especially helpful to our dogs this winter. With endless days of snow, rain, frigid temperatures, and ice, it hasn't been easy or safe for the dogs to spend much time outside. We therefore provide a variety of indoor activities to stimulate the dogs and to reduce the stress of being inside. The KONGs were perfect!

How many pets did this grant help?

NAS has capacity for 12 dogs. Every dog receives a KONG toy for enrichment purposes. They especially enjoy their KONGs stuffed with frozen peanut butter. They keep very busy working at getting the frozen treat. And since they are so durable, many more dogs who come through our doors will benefit!

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

At right are photos of Dusty, who is waiting to be adopted, enjoying a peanut butter-filled Kong! From her Petfinder profile: “I’m Dusty. I was found as a stray and was taken in by a family for a short while. Unfortunately, they could not keep me, so I found myself in an overcrowded southern shelter. Luckily, I was able to hitch a ride north and hope to find my forever home soon! There were children and other dogs in the home and we got along fine. I enjoy being around my people and getting pet; however, I can be shy when meeting new people. I know sit and my ‘shake’ is more like a high-five. I love to bounce around and play with toys.” Meet Dusty here.

Whether a person is looking to adopt, dropping off donations, or bringing in a stray animal, our goal at the Neenah Animal Shelter is to provide a positive experience to all our guests. One way we set ourselves apart from other shelters is that we have adoptable dogs in the lobby to greet visitors. Although staff welcome everyone with a “How can I help you” smile, there is something about being greeted by a four-legged friend with fur that improves the interaction.

The Petfinder Foundation grant supplied NAS with numerous Kongs, which create a fun activity for dogs. NAS gives the greeter a Kong while he or she is in the office for a few reasons. The main reason is to occupy the dog as staff, volunteers, and visitors pass through doorways. Since the dog has a Kong stuffed with treats to focus on,he/she is not barking or trying to follow people out the door. This simulates new people entering a home and helps reinforce calm behavior.

Kongs also help lessen guarding behavior. During a shift in the office, a dog may interact with 1-10 people of all ages. This gives the dog the opportunity to learn correct behavior by either leaving the Kong to interact with the people, bringing the Kong to the person to play, or continuing to use the Kong with no negative reaction towards people. If a negative reaction occurs, the Kong is quietly taken away and the dog is returned to his or her kennel.

NAS also sends a Kong with dogs who enter foster care. Foster parents are instructed to use the Kong as a tool for crate-training and to reinforce calm behavior. Kongs are used daily at the Neenah Animal Shelter and we are grateful to receive these grant opportunities.

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