Reports From This Organization

Humane Society of Taos, Inc. DBA Stray Hearts Animal Shelter: Play Yard Renovation Grant Report

What was the money or product used for?

Construction of fencing/gates for more play areas in order to expand our Dogs Playing for Life program.

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

The grant helped to better establish and broaden our Dogs Playing for Life program. We now operate the program at least two days a week (Tuesday and Friday) and more dogs are participating. We believe it has directly led to more pet adoptions since the dogs are less stressed and more sociable.

How many pets did this grant help?

At any given time, about 50% of our dogs participate in playgroup. Since our average dog census is about 60 dogs, approximately 30 dogs participate in a given week.

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

Tamira was an older puppy who came to us at about 6 months of age. She had never been socialized and was very shy and fearful of other dogs. She initially was put in a playgroup with only one other dog who was an older, gentle dog. As her confidence in interacting with this dog grew, she was moved to a more active group of older puppies who actively played. She then advanced to a mixed-age dog playgroup. Shortly thereafter, she was adopted into her forever home. We believe the three playgroups that she participated in over a two-month period made a huge difference in helping her to be adopted.

Stray Hearts Animal Shelter: Play Yard Renovation Grant Report

What was the money or product used for?

Fencing, gates

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

This grant helped us to divide a large play yard into smaller play yards for safer integration during playgroups.

How many pets did this grant help?

<1000

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

Willow was a feral Great Pyrenees who had to be trapped and brought to our shelter. He had to be medicated to handle. Eventually, he was able to be leash-walked to the play yard and was integrated through the fencing until he got used to the others. He was taken from the smaller yards to the larger one repeatedly until he became comfortable with the entire playgroup.

When the public came to watch our playgroups, a local rancher witnessed Willow’s ability to interact with the other dogs without incident. Willow was successfully adopted and is now an integral part of the working dogs on a ranch.

This dog had a zero chance at adoption, but with assistance from smaller play yards, his experience being socialized was made so much easier!

Stray Hearts Animal Shelter: Dogs Playing for Life Mentorship Grant (Invitation Only) Grant Report

What was the money or product used for?

Dog Playing For Life training

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

The training I received, I then brought home and trained the rest of the staff here at Stray Hearts. We have been putting on a playgroup every Friday from 9-12. The only animals that do not participate are the small-breed dogs. This is because we have quite a few large dogs who love to rile up the pack and we are nervous that the smaller dogs will be injured if we add them in. There have been quite a few dogs who have been completely shy/feral when they’ve come to us, but once they’re in playgroups, they are approaching people, and even going up to the fence to say hi to the public. We have had many dogs adopted once members of the public come out to watch the playgroups and fall in love with the personality of one of our dogs.

How many pets did this grant help?

Approximately 180 animals from October to present date.

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

We have had a few who came into our shelter very shy, or feral, whom we could hardly interact with for safety reasons. One in particular was a 2-year-old heeler mix named Tamira (first photo). She came in as a puppy, was adopted out, and brought back to us by the adopter. She was very antisocial at the time she was brought back to us, and we put her in with some other nervous dogs. This was a bad idea, as she then progressed toward being feral rather than being more social. We would free-run her out to an outdoor kennel and then back in for potty times. She was VERY resistant to people being in her space, but never made any indication that she would bite other than barking. She simply got up and moved anywhere but where we were.

Eventually she allowed us to start touching her while feeding her treats, and from there we put a collar on her. After about a week and a half, we decided to take her out of her kennel on a double lead (slip lead and a leash attached to her collar). She was very interested in figuring out where she was going, and the following Friday she was brought out to playgroup. She immediately started acting like she was terrified, so we simply introduced her through the fencing, and then took her back to her kennel.

The following Friday we brought her out again; however, this time we hung out with her outside the yard for some time, and then put her in the playgroup with about 20 minutes before it ended and we took everyone back inside. She loved being around the other dogs, but still was very hesitant to come up to the handlers.

After about six playgroups, Tamira was coming up to the handlers and sniffing around their legs, but was still unsure if they reached for the leash. After being at Stray Hearts for over a year, with our staff and volunteers spending many hours working with her to build her confidence, she was adopted two weeks ago (second photo). After seeing her on Facebook, her new family drove out from Virginia to pick her up and give her a new home as a ranch dog. Tamira has settled into her new life quite nicely. She is walking on a leash with no trouble and letting complete strangers come up and pet her. Her adopters send us updated photos every so often.

Stray Hearts Animal Shelter: KONG Toy Grant Report

What was the money or product used for?

This grant allowed us to kick-start our new dog-enrichment program. Thanks to the Petfinder Foundation and the Kong Product Grant, we are now able to provide a healthy, calming environment for the over 70 dogs living at our shelter.

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

Each dog receives, at least once per day, a Kong filled with peanut butter and dry food. The dogs can focus on this delicious treat. As stated by the Fun Times Guide For Dogs:

*Kong toys satisfy a dog’s inborne, natural desire to “work” or hunt for food. Stuffed Kongs can keep them busy and content (and out of trouble!) for long periods of time by encouraging them to get the food reward inside.
*A Kong is a unique dog toy that exercises a dog’s mind at the same time that it gives a dog the satisfaction of a job well done.
*Kongs are quite effective when used as a training device to break “bad behaviors” and teach “good behaviors.”
*For dogs who are living a sedentary life, a Kong toy will entice your dog to play more and be more active. The Kong’s unpredictable bounce lures most dogs into a game of chase, catch and chew — especially when it’s filled with food treats!

Our shelter dogs have realized all of these benefits. Our kennels are quieter, our dogs more socialized and relaxed, and our adoption numbers are up. Our average length of stay for our animal population has decreased from 49 days in August 2016 to 24 days in December 2016. We received the Kongs in September. Coincidence? We think not.

Thank you again so very much!
Diane Padoven
Executive Director
Stray Hearts Animal Shelter

How many pets did this grant help?

We use our Kongs daily for the over 70 dogs living at our shelter

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

Koko (first photo) is a loveable pittie-Lab mix who was brought to the shelter in March of 2016 as a public stray. He was assessed as being very high-energy, dog-aggressive and needing leash work. Despite his very friendly demeanor toward people, his kennel barking and jumping turned people off. We began providing a daily Kong treat to allow him to work off some of his energy. He fell in love with peanut butter and would immediately calm down, sit, and start wagging his tail as soon as he saw the Kong coming. This behavior made potential-adopter walk-throughs notice Koko and exhibit interest. I am so pleased to say that, after being here for eight months, Koko was adopted on Dec. 2, 2016. We believe major credit must go to the work we did with him using the Kongs.