Here are some examples of how your donations are helping shelters and rescue groups, in the organizations’ own words.
The Kong products were used both to fundraise for our dogs and rehabilitate.
This grant helped our dogs by giving them a sophistication of toy that otherwise would have been hard to come by. It helps keep the active minds occupied, and helps with crate-training or separation anxiety to make a crate environment more enticing for longer periods of time for dogs who are unused to that environment.
In different ways, this grant helped many of our dogs.
Ashley is a sweet little Chihuahua girl who was found wandering the streets and remained unclaimed despite advertising. Beautiful and loving, Ashley is also very high-energy for a small dog and prone to destruction if left on her own to be bored. Ashley is usually content to play with a foster brother and explore/destroy only when her friends are tired of playing, but the grant of Kong treats offered a new outlet for her active doggie mind. Ashley is happily motivated by treats and content to work on the puzzle of a Kong rather than shred trashbags.
Last year, you made an incredibly generous grant of Cat Castles to our shelter. We are so happy to say that your generous gift is STILL making a difference in the lives of our homeless cats like Toph and Azula. Their story, as well as a photo of them in their new home hanging out next to their familiar Cat Castle, are below.
It saved us thousands of dollars on cardboard cat carriers, which we otherwise would have had to buy. That meant we had more money for medical care for injured and sick pets like Toph.
We estimate this donation helped us save over 3,000 cats.
During the middle of summer, we often take in more than a dozen mewling, orphaned kittens every single day. It was during this time that a Good Samaritan brought Toph to our back door. He was just a palm-sized, weeks-old stray, and his eyes were completely crusted shut from a painful herpes virus. Two years ago, we would never have had the staff or supplies during the height of kitten season to save an extremely sick baby animal like Toph. But because of the support we’re getting from friends like the Petfinder Foundation, in 2015 our medical team can and did.
Our doctors immediately started treating Toph with donated eye drops, and they gave him antibiotics to cure his upper-respiratory infection (it’s like a kitty cold). After six weeks of steady care, Toph’s cold was gone, but his eyes had still not improved. The medical neglect he’d suffered in his infancy meant there was no other option for us except to remove his eyes.
And because we have such a caring community that supports our work, we were able to do just that – as well as neuter him, of course, so he does not contribute to our community’s profound pet-overpopulation problem.
After Toph recovered from his surgery, our volunteers paired him with Azula, another young kitten who’d also had a rough start to her life. One of our Animal Care Officers had saved her from an apartment where she’d lived with a dozen other cats. Like many of the hundreds of pets we save each year from hoarding situations, Azula was fearful, under-socialized and going to be hard to adopt out. But it turns out she was just what Toph needed: A seeing-eye guide. And Toph was just what Azula needed: A friend – and, since they were marketed as bonded pair who must leave the shelter together – he was also her ticket to a forever home.
Roselia Sosa fell them both. Azula, she says, is slowly coming out of her shell. She really loves spending time with Sosa’s children, who are small like she is, and therefore less scary than their household’s adults. She continues to enjoy the Cat Castle that came home with her from our shelter. And as for blind Toph, he’s not only figured out how to get around Sosa’s house and onto her furniture, but he’s wiggled his way firmly into the family’s hearts.
“The kids just love him,” she tells us. “He’s so cuddly.”
Some might argue we went “too far” by saving Toph. But not Roselia Sosa.
“He is just as worthy of our help as any animal – or any person, really,” she says. “If something or someone needs help, you give it to them.”
“He is just such a sweetheart,” she adds. “I can’t imagine my life without him.”
We got the Kong grant. Entertainment for the dogs in rescue
Kong toys help keep our dogs from becoming kennel crazy. The toys give them something to focus on when we we’re not playing with them.
All the dogs in our rescue have used the Kong toys daily. So an estimated 30 dogs per month.
We had a dog named Kate who had been in rescue for 11 months when the toys came in. They gave her a new sense of purpose. She wasn’t good with other dogs so her play was very limited. The Kong toys filled with peanut butter made her smile and wag her tail.
We don’t have any pictures because she was very camera-fearful, but she loved her yummy toys!
It was Kongs and we use them for the animals we have in kennels. They can take them with them when they go home.
Kongs are a lot harder to chew through. We fill them with peanut butter or unsweetened apple sauce and the dogs have a grand old time sucking it out of the Kong. It gives our fur friends something to do when we leave them and it gives the volunteers peace of mind that when we get back they won’t be chewed to pieces, so the volunteers don’t have to worry about whether the animal has swallowed anything.
Probably eight medium-size guys and nine smaller guys.
Miss Wiggles was found as a stray. When her local shelter was going to put her down because Wiggles didn’t like the small cages, we took her. Our kennels are a little larger, but still Wiggles had anxiety. The Kong helps to keep her anxiety at bay. It allows her to focus on fun and food at one time. And Miss Wiggles loves both. Meet Miss Wiggles: https://www.petfinder.com/petdetail/33583089
All of our happy dogs would like to say thank you for this little bit of happiness.
HSHV’s Humane Education Department has been fortunate to see continued growth and success through the last half of 2015. From Jan. 1–Nov. 30, 2015, we have provided education to more than 3,812 adults and youth in our community. We have provided 38 offsite presentations to local schools, groups and organizations. Onsite we have had 223 new Junior Volunteers join our team, hosted 29 birthday parties and have had 44 community groups in for tours and/or field trips. We are also fortunate that volunteers, both adult and youth, have dedicated 7,618 service hours to the humane education department this year. The community has been very supportive of our programs and 2015 is a wonderful year for humane education.
HSHV offers a six-session Junior Volunteers program to help youth engage in and learn about volunteer opportunities at our shelter. Working alongside our Humane Educator, Volunteer Coordinator and a mentor volunteer, youth in the J.V. program attended six training sessions in which they learned about animal-welfare issues, building empathy for animals and humans and different procedures and safety precautions for working with and caring for animals. Each session consisted of a 45-minute educational session and 75 minutes of onsite volunteer time. During the educational portion, Junior Volunteers focused on animal-welfare issues in our community and will learned about ways in which they can help animals. Upon completion of all six sessions, certified Junior Volunteers had various opportunities to volunteer at HSHV in positions such as puppy socialization, cat comforting, animal enrichment, dog training, humane education and customer care.
Currently, we have 325 active Junior Volunteers and we evaluate monthly to determine our retention rate and assess whether changes need to be made to the program. The mentors and staff who assist with the Junior Volunteers program are also a part of our evaluation process through weekly meetings and discussions in which they offer feedback on the success of our Junior Volunteers.
With the help of the Petfinder Foundation grant, we have been fortunate to provide 19 youth with scholarships to participate in this program. We are so grateful to be able to provide this opportunity to families in financial need and have several
youth from our at-risk programming join our Junior Volunteer team after being awarded a scholarship. We were very happy to welcome two of the youth we work with at the Washtenaw Juvenile Detention Center to our JV team after they applied for a scholarship.
Camp PAWS is an educational and fun program that is offered at HSHV throughout the summer as well as during holiday and seasonal breaks from school. This program provides various weeks of camps that are geared towards different age groups, ranging from ages 4-11. The curriculum is tied in with educational standards and explores animal welfare and environmental ethics from a fun and hands-on approach. Through animal interactions, educational lessons, crafts, games, field trips and visits from local rescue groups, children learn how to care for and respect animals and our environment
Through past evaluations, Camp PAWS has shown to be an effective humane education program and we are fortunate that so many youth are able to attend. We do recognize that some families many not have the financial means to register their children for camp and we are happy to have had the resources to provide scholarships for many families in need. We have currently awarded 11 families a full scholarship for Camp PAWS this year. It has been a great experience to support youth who want to learn more about animals, but just do not have the financial means to do so.
With so many new programs developing and the high demand for humane education programming, our staff are almost fully consumed with running revenue generating programming here at the shelter. With the support of the Petfinder Foundation grant, we were able to increase staffing in order to continue to develop some of our most impactful programming.
One program we were able to resume due to the grant funding was our work with the Washtenaw County Juvenile Detention Center youth. We now have staff who visit the facility twice a month to provide humane education lessons and a shelter dog visit to youth ages 14-17.
We were also able to develop onsite programming for our youngest learners through our program called Little Paws Story Time. Although we previously held this program at an offsite location, with the support of the grant we were able to dedicate staff to designing and developing the program further to expand our humane education reach. After just four sessions of this program we have a consistent audience of 10-12 children, with many families returning week after week.
With the support of our staffing, we have also been able to provide additional sessions of popular programming as well as allow for more children to attend each program. We added one day sessions of Camp PAWS for the school break days and also have family evening events every other month.
We used the money to purchase enrichment items for our dogs such as Kongs, puzzle toys, and other tough and sturdy toys. Additionally, the money went towards Natural Balance-type treats we use to stuff these toys and puzzles as well as for training dogs. We only use positive-reinforcement training methods and these treats have shown to work well with getting our dogs to respond.
Provided the dogs with something to do while they were in their digs waiting to meet adopters. These dogs have, with daily enrichment, shown to be less likely to be reactive to visitors, as they are occupied with their stuffed Kongs instead of jumping at the glass when people walk the adoption floor.
More than 80. We have approximately 80 dogs in our care, with some being adopted and others coming in. These items can continue to be used, so the numbers are hard to determine and will continue to grow.
Adonis (first photo) was a very high-energy dog who was often bored and never showed well with adopters. With the purchase of the sturdy toys, he was able to work out some of his energy and not be so over-the-top with energy when meeting adopters. He has now been adopted.
Rucca (second photo) was a tough dog, as she was fearful and hard to get to come out of her shell. With daily time to work on puzzle toys she started to build bonds with the staff working with her and became less destructive. Very happy to report she was recently adopted and her new family has also decided to purchase puzzle toys and Kongs to continue her enrichment at home.
Paige (third photo) always looked so sad and bored in her dig. Daily enrichment of stuffed Kongs helps keep her busy and she has seemed less stressed. She looks forward to the distribution of enrichment items, which is now a daily event!
Dog play yard
Our shelter dogs now have a big space to exercise and to socialize with other dogs. They can play together in small or large groups. Getting out of kennels is vital for the physical and mental well-being of shelter dogs and greatly reduces stress. When potential adopters see the dogs at play, they learn more about them and their play skills. The play yard also allows adopters to bring in their resident dog to meet shelter dogs where they have stress-free space to meet and interact. It is of a wonderful size for dogs to truly run full-bore and get out pent-up energy or chase a ball. It is joyful to see dogs run and romp together and develop better play skills. We have seen a reduction in stress behaviors such as barking in kennels. Dogs sleep much more soundly at night after daytime opportunities for play-yard activities.
Approximately 65 dogs since being built, but it will provide help for hundreds of dogs to follow.
One shelter dog, Austin (first photo), has displayed barrier aggression in his kennel when visitors walk by his kennel. Now that he can go out to the large play yard regularly, his barrier aggression has greatly subsided. He runs full speed when in the play yard and can play chase and tug with other dogs. This high level of activity gives him a release from his pent-up energy and stress, and when he meets potential adopters, he is more at ease. Meet Austin and see a video of him in the play yard: https://www.petfinder.com/petdetail/32261089
Also, when visitors bring their dogs to meet our dogs, they are very stressed in the shelter environment. Having the play yard away from the general vicinity, dogs relax and they interact far better with the dogs they are there to meet. This increases our adoptions.
The Kongs have been distributed to some of our recent fosters (or recently adopted dogs). Especially for our foster dogs who struggle with separation anxiety, their families report that the Kongs are a great distraction for their beagles. In the warmer weather, these will be an even bigger hit as we freeze them with different concoctions and the dogs can play with them and chew on them outside!
As mentioned above, dogs with separation anxiety benefit as well as dogs with great curiosity and energy. The Kongs keep them entertained and guessing. As the saying goes, a tired beagle is a good beagle!
About 30 to date
Dunkin, one of our recently adopted dogs, happened to be in the room when we opened the box of Kongs. Like the typical beagle, he let his nose lead the way. We let him pick his favorite (which he did, even though there was nothing in the Kong!). Let’s just say, even a few months later, it’s still Dunkin’s favorite toy!
We used the Petfinder Foundation grant that we received last year to provide extraordinary veterinary care for 10 special-needs animals that we were able to rescue specifically because of this grant.
This grant enabled us to stay true to our mission, particularly our goal to rescue special-needs and senior animals. Specifically, it enabled us to save the lives of 10 special-needs dogs and cats.
A pet who is very dear to our hearts whom we were able to save because of this grant is Dolly (first photo), a pit bull mix who is blind and recently recovered from cancer. Dolly is a truly remarkable soul. This girl has a loving, trusting energy that emanates from her and warms everyone she meets. Dolly is 9 years old and about 40 lbs. We rescued her from a family that was about to dump her because she had gone blind. She had one of her eyes removed earlier this year, and while she can’t see, she gets around very well — she just bumps into things once in a while and needs some guidance. Dolly absolutely loves being outside and going for walks. She walks well on a leash and even tries to run around and jog, but needs help taking it slow so she doesn’t run into things. She absolutely lights up when anyone touches her — she flips over on her back and grunts and snorts with glee when you pet her and give her belly rubs. She is extremely gentle and instantly befriends every stranger she meets. She likes to play with tennis balls; she chases them by sound, and she gets a real kick out of playing tug-of-war with pull toys. She comes from a troubled past — she has a scar around her neck from a chain that had become embedded in her skin when she was left outside tied to a tree at some point in her past. She is always smiling though, an outward reflection of her inner happiness and resilience. Shortly after we rescued her, we learned that she had an old leg injury that was causing her a lot of pain, and the vet said that if she was younger and healthier, he would recommend an amputation. Unfortunately, because she is older and blind and has a weakened immune system, he recommends managing her pain until she passes away, which will likely be within the next five months. Dolly’s foster dad has been incredibly supportive through the whole process, and we are very happy to have been able to give Dolly the truly love-filled golden years she deserves.
Another animal we were able to rescue using these grant funds was Aiden (second photo), a 4-year-old semi-feral cat with a historic leg fracture who needed his leg amputated.
Another example is Prometheus (third photo), a 5-year-old American bully with a galloping heartbeat (heart murmur) who needed to be neutered via a private veterinarian. He has been adopted.
Another dog we were able to rescue was Sophie (fourth photo), a senior Pomeranian mix who needed one eye enucleated, a hernia repaired, a full dental (all teeth removed), and spay surgery. She has been adopted.
We are a small, no-kill shelter in the Bootheel of Missouri. All our kennels are indoors, but we have an outdoor play area. While the dogs go outside for a bit two times a day, some high-energy dogs need challenges for the kennels. We have many dogs that are high-energy and we find that the Kong toys help keep them occupied and give them something to do. They are durable and easy to clean between use.
We have really seen a change in the hyperactivity in the kennel room. When you give the Kong toys to an active dog, it helps keep them occupied and gives them stimulation. We have found that they are ideal in our setting and help us to keep the animals busy and using their minds.
Biff (first photo) is a boxer mix who is afraid of his own shadow. He barks aggressively when people come into the kennel and gets passed over for adoption, but he really is a scaredy cat. He loves the Kong toy. He is not one to take a treat from someone, but he will play with the Kong toy for hours and stay involved with the challenge. It helps keep him quieter and socialized in the kennel.