Here are some examples of how your donations are helping shelters and rescue groups, in the organizations’ own words.
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”!
The grant funds were used to allow our Foster & Outreach Coordinator to attend the DPFL mentorship at Longmont Humane Society in Colorado in July 2019.
The grant allowed us to send our Foster & Outreach Coordinator, Sarah, to the DPFL mentorship in July 2019. This mentorship, in turn, allowed us to learn how to implement safe and fun playgroups for our canine population. Overall, this grant allowed us to learn and begin the steps towards implementing playgroup sessions at our facility.
Once the DPFL program is implemented at our facility, this will allow us to support our general canine population. In particular, it will give one of our long-term residents, Taffy (first photo), some much-needed time to play and relax. Taffy is a very sweet dog, but she can be a little aggressive at the kennel gates. Because she can be intimidating to guests, people overlook her frequently. We took her out for our Mutts on the Move program and we learned that she is the sweetest dog we have ever encountered. We hope that, once we implement our playgroups, Taffy’s stress will gradually decrease and will increase her adoptability. Meet Taffy here.
The Kongs were given to our foster homes that currently have foster dogs.
The foster dogs in our care were helped by this grant by having additional enrichment toys in their foster homes. Kongs provide an enriching way to eat meals. Kongs are used for crate training as well. Our dogs are benefiting mentally and physically from enrichment.
Eight dogs so far, but we will be able to provide more Kongs this year!
Marlo is a dog in our rescue who struggles with anxiety. Now that his foster mom has multiple Kongs, she is able to prepare them ahead of time and freeze them. Marlo is then able to have Kongs throughout the day. This activity helps decrease his anxiety. He loves getting stuffed Kongs! Marlo has not been adopted yet. His Petfinder page is here.
These funds were used to discount the adoption fees of cats available for adoption.
Because of this grant, we reached our goal of facilitating 150 cat adoptions.
150, as well as countless others whom we were able to accept into our shelter to take the vacated spaces.
Mr. Good Cat (first photo) lives up to his name! An affectionate lap cat, he was devastated when his owner died. He came to our shelter frightened and depressed to leave the only home he had ever known. We are so proud to report that he has been adopted. Now happy in his new home, Mr. Good Cat spends his days surrounded by love once again.
The product was used for our rescued puppies and dogs.
The product helped keep our rescues entertained.
One of the dogs whom this grant helped was a German shepherd named Esme. Esme has gone from home to home and foster to foster, but what always made her happy were her toys. When Kong’s package arrived, she was one of the adults who received one. She carried her Kong around everywhere she went! It was like a pacifier to her. She would retrieve it when thrown and would just sit with it. Today, she is finally in a good home and was able to go home with her Kong. 🙂
The money was used to do corrective surgery on a dog with entropion. This dog had both eyes affected. The surgery was a success and the dog was able to have no long-lasting side effects. She has been adopted.
It afforded us the opportunity to correct this dog’s medical needs.
Truvy is a sweet, loving girl who was rescued from the shelter with a painful eye disorder called entropion. She has Shar Pei in her so her eyelids were rolling in on themselves, causing irritation and swelling (first and second photos). She has had corrective surgery and can now see perfectly! She weighs 45 lbs. and is 12 months old and sweet as pie. She loves every person and dog she has met. She is housebroken and crate-trained and never barks. She craves contact of any kind and will even rub on you like a cat!
Truvy was rescued from our local animal control after her owner surrendered her there. Our local animal control is pretty much a death sentence for owner-surrenders. As for her eyes, the irritation and swelling is especially bad when she first wakes up. Most of the time she will not even open her eyes, so she bumps into things around the house. Her peripheral vision is terrible, so sometimes she jumps if you pet her unexpectedly. She is constantly pawing at her eyes and they are constantly watering.
We got three vets’ opinions, and all three said she needed surgery and most likely would need more than one surgery. Both eyes, and both top and bottom lids, needed to be fixed. Her eyes had sunken in because the top and bottom lids had rolled in so far. She has really blossomed since her surgery; before, her eyesight was extremely limited. She has been adopted.
To provide our dogs with enrichment while kenneled.
Kongs help keep our dogs occupied while kenneled.
Mirielle was dumped in an overnight drop box at a high[-intake] shelter while she was in labor. We brought her into our program and she soon need an emergency C-section. She gave birth to seven puppies; six survived. Mirielle loved chew toys and having something to play with. We always made sure she had a couple of Kongs in her kennel. She has since been adopted.