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Rivers and Bluffs Animal Shelter: Dogs Playing for Life Mentorship Grant Report

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

Rivers and Bluffs Animal Shelter was awarded $1,000 to cover the tuition costs of a Dogs Playing for Life mentorship session in Austin, Texas. Our staff member Breanne Bolt attended from Sept. 27-30, 2021.

This grant helped our organization by sending a staff member to learn more about dog behavior, some basic dog handling, and managing a playgroup program. They were able to bring back this information, and have started guiding our volunteers on how to also help with playgroups and work with dogs in the kennels. This will also help the dogs in our care relieve stress by playing, and hopefully have a more relaxed personality in the kennels, which will help when they are viewed by adopters.

How many pets did this grant help?

15 dogs

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

June (first photo) is a black and tan coonhound who really dislikes the large vehicles that drive by our shelter multiple times a day. Thanks to playgroup, she now focuses more on playing with other dogs than obsessing over large vehicles such as garbage trucks, UPS and FedEx trucks, and construction vehicles. Her anxiety in her kennel has also lessened due to being tired after playing during most of the morning cleaning shift. You can meet June here.

Buddy (second photo) is an older Lab who was recently diagnosed with heartworm. During his treatment, he isn’t allowed to have a lot of exercise. This was causing him to be really bored throughout his stay until he can get into a foster-to-adopt home. We introduced him to a calm group of dogs that wouldn’t get him too worked up, and his mood immediately brightened. He will be going to this foster-to-adopt home soon to finish up his heartworm treatment.

Boo-Boo (third photo) was a senior Rottweiler mix who was surrendered to the shelter. He was showing what a lot of our volunteers were calling dog aggression, but it was actually just barrier aggression. Sine our staff member learned the proper use of muzzles during playgroup, we were able to put a muzzle on him and introduce him to other dogs. He wasn’t overly excited to be around the other dogs, but once the barrier was removed, he was no longer showing “aggressive” behavior. This helped us consider the idea that he could live in a home with another dog. He was recently adopted after a meet-and-greet with a family with a small beagle mix. Their first meet was instant love at first sight.

Barney (fourth photo) was transferred to our shelter with his brother Andy from a shelter in Texas. Due to playgroup, we were able to take in these two extra dogs and save them from being euthanized. After Andy was adopted, Barney was quite lonely and a bit depressed. We introduced him to a couple other dogs and he became much happier. Since he was only around 6 months old, he was also able to learn how to play properly with other dogs.

The last four photos show how well they play together.

Further Reading