Here are some examples of how your donations are helping shelters and rescue groups, in the organizations’ own words.
The Kong toys got some heavy usage by the dogs in our shelter. Some dogs waiting for adoption played with/chewed on the toys and others who needed behavior modification played with the toys during behavior sessions — the behaviorists used the toys as rewards for the dogs when they behaved as expected.
The Kong toys helped tremendously. We rely heavily on donations so we can provide veterinary care, shelter, and food, and meet other needs the pets in our care have. Toys are a huge need and the Kong toys filled that need. They are so durable that we were able to clean and reuse them for many dogs.
Dakota was a rescue. When he came to us, he was emaciated and had numerous health issues. Our veterinarians and veterinary technicians worked for weeks to restore Dakota back to health, and when he was medically ready, the behaviorists took over. He had major trust issues and was afraid of people. The behaviorists worked with Dakota using Kong toys and other items to get Dakota to trust humans. With the help of the staff and the Kong toys, Dakota became a happy, healthy dog and has found his forever home.
The Haven caregivers utilize the Kongs daily to help reduce stress in our canine residents who are visiting The Haven until they are ready for a new loving home. Each Kong is stuffed with layers of goodies before being frozen for 24 hours. Each morning at 11 a.m., volunteers and our small staff distribute these frozen treats to our canine residents, who are happily awaiting this special tidbit. Additionally, by decreasing stress and improving the quality of life for a Haven adoptable dog, the animal’s length of stay will decrease.
These Kongs have helped reduce the stress of our canine residents who visit the shelter until they are healthy and ready for adoption. Our adoptable canines are showing behaviors that indicate calmness, trust, and happiness. This resonates with potential adopters and helps reduce their length of stay by getting them responsible, caring homes for the rest of their lives.
From June 1, 2019, until Sept. 30, 2019, these Kongs have changed the lives of 40 canines.
Annamae is a beautiful, 5-year-old, free-spirit hound mix who was found wandering the streets in search of her next meal. Thankfully, an animal control officer picked her up and brought her to the animal control shelter. While there, she hopefully waited for months for her owner to reclaim her. Annamae’s life was changed when we met her and transferred her to The Haven.
When she arrived at The Haven, our caregivers quickly got to work providing Annamae with medical care, nutritious food, and lots of love. However, we noticed that Annamae was also suffering from extreme stress, and that being confined in a small area for too long caused her to spin in circles.
Our caregivers gathered and discussed Annamae’s behavior-modification plans with the team. The plan included daily walks, playgroups, enrichment toys, and a frozen Kong layered with treats. When Annamae received her first stuffed, frozen Kong, she was curious about this sizable red object. She sniffed and sniffed before making short, quick licks. Suddenly she was all over it! The caregivers noticed a calmness in her behavior, and she stopped spinning in circles. Her enrichment plan was revised to include two Kongs a day.
Annamae soon began to get some interest from potential adopters. It was clear that these Kongs helped reduce her stress and provide hours of positive mental stimulation. The visitors no longer looked the other way like they did when they would see her spinning in circles.
The Kongs changed her behavior so much that we are excited to share that Annamae was recently adopted. Her adopter visited the shelter and met Annamae relaxing on her bed, enjoying her Kong. After a meet-and-greet and information about the Kong, the adopter took her home to foster her and to see how she would acclimate to his house. Just three days after taking Annamae into his life and home, the adopter returned to finalize the adoption. He said, “Annamae is doing well, and I could not imagine my life without her.” It was a great day for our sweet Annamae, whose life with us went from hopeless, to hopeful, to infinite happiness.
To keep the dogs and puppies occupied to prevent boredom in the shelter and during events.
The Kong toys helped many of our dogs and puppies by providing them with a distraction from where they were and what was going on around them. Several dogs spent hours playing with the Kongs after managing to work the treats out. A lot of dogs that we impound have never had toys, so they have no idea what to do with them, are scared of the ones that squeak or just aren’t interested. The Kongs with treats inside gave them something to work for while realizing this was something they could chew on, throw around and have fun with. Unfortunately, there have been no local events that we were able to attend since we received the grant, but we have one coming in October and will definitely have the Kongs with us for the dogs. We do not have any pet stores or local retailers that hold events in our county.
We have three dogs whom the Kongs are helping greatly with adjusting to shelter life: Bella, Sheila, and Sammi. Bella (first photo) was surrendered when her owner became too sick to care for her. Her owner stated that Bella needs a home where she can be the only pet, since she becomes very jealous of her human and doesn’t like to share food or treats. Since she has specific needs, it makes it more difficult for us to find her a home. She has been with us for almost a month now. Bella loves to play and chew. Her Kong toys have provided her with a durable toy that can stand up to her chewing, along with something to keep her mind occupied while she tries to work the treats out. As we wait for Bella’s new owner to come take her home, we know we can keep her busy and content by giving her a treat-filled Kong. Meet Bella here.
Sheila and Sammi were brought to the shelter on May 20th of this year. They were being held as evidence after their owner was arrested for failing to provide them with proper care. Both were underweight. They were recently officially surrendered to the shelter and we have been trying to place with a rescue group out of the area. They are not listed on any adoption sites for this reason. They have spent countless hours with their Kong toys, working at getting the treats and peanut butter out of the centers and chewing on them. We believe that having these toys has prevented them from ending up with the behavior issues that can be seen in long-term shelter residents: pacing, circling, cage-aggression and excessive barking or crying. The Kongs have definitely been a lifesaver for Sammi and Sheila.
The KONG toys were used to provide enrichment for high-drive dogs waiting for their forever homes.
This grant helped improve the behavior and mental health, and thus the adoptability, of countless dogs in our care. Usually the late summer months are the most difficult for adoptions, but with the Petfinder Foundation’s help, we actually did better than usual when it came to adopting out adult and senior (7+ years) dogs.
It’s hard to pinpoint but potentially hundreds.
While KONG toys are most popular with high-mouth-drive dogs, Kohda was simply too big and strong for a lot of the toys at our shelter. KONGs filled with peanut butter were a saving grace because he had a habit of busting through almost everything else we gave him. Fortunately, the grant arrived just weeks after he first came to us, so KONG toys became a reliable way to keep him mentally stimulated. Our staff almost immediately noticed a difference in his behavior once he could have a peanut-butter KONG every day. Meet Kohda here.
Funds are being used to market Daphne as a horse available for adoption. Once an adopter is found, the funds will be used to cover Daphne’s adoption fee ($100), transportation, and food for up to one year from her adoption date.
This grant is helping get the word out about senior horses like Daphne who are available for adoption.
Daphne arrived at DEFHR in 2013 from Howard County, MD. She was with us for eight months before being adopted. She would still be with her owner if her owner hadn’t died this year. DEFHR’s policy is to welcome back rescue horses when the adopter can no longer care for them. Daphne is currently over 30 years old and needs two to three feedings a day (Triple Crown Senior) to maintain her health. She also has issues with her feet which will require extra farrier attention, and has no teeth, which means she will need two dental visits each year as opposed to one, and the additional cost of grain in the winter.
From her Petfinder profile: “Daphne is one sweet, older mare (15.2 HH) looking for her new forever home. Daphne is being offered as a companion only through the Guardian Program at Days End. ‘I am an older, sweet mare looking for a new home since my previous adopter passed away. It is a sad time for me, but I love all my new friends at Days End Farm. I am looking for a new family to love me, groom me and laugh and my really droopy bottom lip! No ladies, I haven’t have any work done — this is all-natural. I have great ground manners and love people.” Meet Daphne here.
Once an adopter is found, Daphne will be moved to her forever home thanks to this grant, thus freeing up a spot for another rescue horse in need.
The grant was a gift of 20 P.L.A.Y beds. These beds were put to great use providing cool, comfortable sleep spots for dogs in our care. The majority of beds went to dogs in our long-term care and sanctuary program, Save Our Seniors.
The grant was very beneficial to our older residents, providing comfortable and cool beds. Summers in South Carolina are hot, even with A/C, and a soft, cool surface during the summer is greatly appreciated by our dogs.
These beds primarily went to our long-term Save Our Seniors (SOS) residents. The majority of our SOS dogs will live out their lives at Carolina Poodle Rescue. However, there are a couple of cuties who are up for adoption:
Gizmo (first photo) came to Carolina Poodle Rescue in March of 2018 through no fault of his own. His owner was ill and could no longer care for this sweet boy. Gizmo was heartworm-positive when he came into our care and had to be treated before becoming available for adoption. Gizmo has a cataract in his left eye and a pronounced underbite, but this just adds to his charm when paired with his amazing personality. Gizmo is a snugglebug, and an adopter who is willing to rub his belly and let him cuddle is at the top of his list. Gizmo is a young-at-heart senior dog with a lot of love and life left to enjoy. He is in our foster facility in Rocky Mount, N.C., while we work to find his forever home. Meet Gizmo here.
Another sweet boy who will be up for adoption as soon as we can resolve his allergies is Lucas. Lucas is an owner-surrender who came to CPR Sept. 15, 2019. Lucas was surrendered to a shelter in North Carolina by his owners. Heartworm-positive and covered in scabs from an allergy, Lucas was a “hot mess” when we picked him up to get him to CPR. The second and third photos are before-and-after pictures of Lucas to show how far he has come in just a couple of weeks. Lucas got his bed in our medical facility, as it is gentle on his tender skin and he is showing no adverse reactions to the material. Lucas is having his heartworm treated while we figure out his allergy issues. He is also getting lots of cuddles and rubs, as he is a very sweet and shy young man. Lucas gives the best hugs, climbing up to your shoulder to snuggle against your neck. As soon as he is medically cleared, Lucas will be up for adoption.
These are just two of the amazing dogs who benefited from this very generous grant. Carolina Poodle Rescue was honored to be selected and we look forward to participating again.
The grant was used to cover the costs of a four-day mentorship with Dogs Playing for Life (DPFL) in Longmont, Colorado.
The four days that our Playgroup Coordinator, Suzanne Petroni, spent in Longmont with DPFL gave her the skills and confidence to be able to lead our team of volunteers and staff in getting EVERY DOG in our Animal Care Center out to play, EVERY DAY.
After returning from her mentorship program, Suzanne set up a series of trainings where she has introduced the DPFL playgroup-management style to a dozen new volunteers and our kennel staff. She has also provided updated/refresher training for seven additional volunteers who had previously been supporting playgroups on an ad-hoc basis.
With this training and under Suzanne’s leadership, we have introduced to our playgroups numerous dogs who had previously been deemed “dog-aggressive,” or whose on-leash reactivity was so severe that we did not want them around other dogs. The results have been astounding. Several of these dogs have been with us for more than a year, and had not been allowed to be close to another dog — on leash or off — during their entire stay. Nona, Titan, Gray and Parker are among those long-stay pups who now bounce out of their kennels and into the yard for a romp and wrestle with their new buddies. New dogs who were surrendered to us due to “dog-aggressive behaviors” are also in the mix, being given a new opportunity to play, likely with better supervision and support than ever before.
Instead of immediately bringing dogs back to their kennels if they instigate altercations, we are practicing Continued Play Recovery (CPR), allowing dogs involved in such altercations to “shake it off” and complete their playgroup experience positively.
We have established a daily playgroup schedule, with our kennel staff bringing small groups out during the day and our trained volunteers leading larger and longer playgroups every evening. Our dogs are now more physically and mentally exercised than ever before, and their on-leash behavior, as well as their ability to engage with people, has improved significantly. We are also now able to provide more complete assessments about their behavior to potential adopters.
In short, this grant has tremendously improved the quality of life and adoptability for the dogs in our care. We are so grateful for the opportunity to have participated in the DPFL Mentorship program.
More than 100 so far
There are so many great stories, but this is perhaps one of our favorites: You’ve just arrived at the big school dance. You’re alone and feeling awkward while you look for your friends. You scan the crowd, and that’s when you see her. In that instant, she spots you too, and both of your faces widen into smiles. You throw your arms into the air and run toward one another, united again!
This is what happens pretty much every day in playgroup when Sharon (first photo) enters the play yard and sees her BFF, Memphis (second photo). They are the most adorable thing! He immediately gallops over to her and they reunite with wide smiles and “I only have eyes for you” play. (We posted this video on our Facebook page.)
This pairing was completely unexpected. Both dogs came to us with the awkwardness of young teenagers. Neither had any idea how to play with other dogs. Sharon was the wallflower, literally leaning against the wall of the play yard, waiting for someone to ask her to dance.
Memphis came to us nearly a year before Sharon. He was a loner for a long time, with so many people assuming (wrongly) that he wouldn’t get along with other dogs.
As soon as we got Memphis into playgroup, he made progress in leaps and bounds. Over the course of several months, he went from being socially awkward to becoming our playgroup’s biggest rock star. He helps new dogs get comfortable, diffuses tense situations between his friends and always brings the fun. Having Memphis in the play yard was the key to helping Sharon get comfortable there, as it has been for many of our dogs. Nowadays, the two are good friends who enjoy the company of one another and of multiple other dogs in the play yard.
The power of play has done wonders for the dogs in our care, including Memphis and Sharon.
We received a selection of Kong toys for the dogs at our facility. Over the past months, we have filled the Kongs with peanut butter and placed them in the freezer and given them to each of the dogs each day. The dogs were able to eat the peanut butter and play with the Kongs in their kennels to help keep them occupied. Kongs were also available for play in the yards, and some dogs would play fetch with volunteers while others enjoyed playing keep-away from their playmates or even tossed the Kongs around on their own.
We saw a number of animals who had not shown much of a play drive become excited for the toys each day, and many demonstrated playful behavior. Dogs were given filled Kongs (sometimes frozen) each day after being out in the play area. The dogs had Kong time during the day when it was hot and overnight when they may have been bored. We did see a decrease in the boredom-chewing of the dogs’ beds and houses. The increased activity the dogs would engage in with the Kongs during play-yard time helped them to be more active.
39 dogs have entered our facility since the shipment of Kongs arrived.
One dog, Winky (first photo), came in as an owner-surrender. Her family was upset that they had not brought her toys and said she loved playing with chew toys. We received the shipment of Kongs shortly after she arrived and she was brought into the office to check them out. She was so excited and couldn’t decide which one to play with first. She was adopted shortly after we got her.
Another of our dogs, a brindle Plott hound named Tracie (second photo), has been with us for nine months. She was heartworm-positive upon arrival and was kept quiet during treatment. She is now ready for adoption and loves playing catch, fetch, hide-the-Kong and keep-away with the other dogs in the play yard. Meet Tracie here.
Rebecca (third photo), a brindle pit mix, loves playing with Kongs and tosses them around herself if no one is around to do it for her. Meet Rebecca here.
The Petfinder Foundation funds were used to construct a new catio for our indoor shelter cats.
The catio enables all of our indoor cats to experience a safe outdoor environment at their leisure. The concept of a catio is pretty new in our community, and visitors to our shelter express quite an interest in our new catio. Interest regarding our catio has also been generated by word of mouth at our Resale Shop and at community events.
About 15 at our shelter now, but it will help all our shelter cats in the future as well.
Catio Story: About a New Catio and Two Great Cat Buddies
Our catio is finished and has been in use for a few weeks now. The cats are loving it — especially one cat, Spooky.
A little background on what prompted us to build a catio. Two of our resident cats, Cat Mandu and Spooky (first photo), have been the shelter greeters and office assistants for several years now, working side by side welcoming people to the shelter. Spooky, the black cat, has always had a tendency to want to be outside, but knowing it wasn’t safe, we didn’t let him go out. He and Cat Mandu would spend their time sitting on the windowsill, looking outdoors and waiting for visitors.
Back in the winter, Cat Mandu became ill, and that was when we thought she needed a catio, and that Spooky would enjoy it too. Plans were made and a grant request was written, but sadly, Cat Mandu passed away shortly before we received the funding to build it. After Cat Mandu left us, we noticed that Spooky didn’t greet people or want to hang out in the office any more. He appeared to be depressed and had lost some of his zest for life.
What excitement there was, though, when we heard from the Petfinder Foundation that we were awarded a grant to build a catio. We started immediately on the construction, and in a flash we had a catio off an office window. And guess who was the first cat in it? Yes, it was Spooky. He wasn’t sure about going through the pet window the first time, so we nudged him a little. That was all it took. Now Spooky and his new friends like to hang out in the catio, where they are examples to everyone who visits the shelter of how much cats enjoy and need a catio of their own. Spooky is now greeting people again and likes to show off his catio to anyone wanting a tour.
And it isn’t just a catio. The official name of it is CATIO MANDU, after Spooky’s best friend.
And by the way, Spooky is still looking for his forever home. A photo and more information about this precious cat can be seen here.
HRAAD was able to waive the $250 adoption fees for four long-term, difficult-to-adopt dogs.
Cooper (first photo), a 5-year-old coonhound who had been in our program for four months after being rescued from a difficult living situation
Snickers (second photo), a 2-year-old border collie who’d been surrendered with dog-aggression issues
Athena (third photo), a terrier mix who had been in our program for more than a year and a half, and who’d been adopted and returned three times due to hyperactivity and dog-aggression
Morgan (fourth photo), a 5-year-old Shih Tzu who’d been surrendered with extensive medical issues
Cooper (first photo) was a 5-year-old coonhound who had been in and out of our shelter as a stray a number of times. Each time, his owners would scrap together the funds needed to pay his fines and take him home to a dirty and multi-individual living situation. He would be tied up outside until he would escape again. He was flea-infested, had multiple ear infections, his nails were overgrown, and he was not neutered. Once HRAAD finally got him into our program, we had him neutered and got his ear infections and fleas under control. It took three crew members and multiple attempts to get his nails to a normal length. Due to his size, his coonhound “bark,” and his lack of proper socialization, we found we were having a difficult time finding him a new home. We were starting to discuss a transfer to a more rural partner organization when a young couple with a background in hounds found him on Petfinder. They fell in love Cooper, but were concerned about the cost. Upon approval of their adoption, they were ecstatic to find out that his adoption fee had been waived! They were so excited that they immediately started halter- and behavior-training. Cooper is loving life with his new family and is enjoying being trained to “use his nose”!