Reports From This Organization

Independence Animal Services: Orvis Animal Care Grant Report

What was the money or product used for?

The money was used for many items to help enrich the lives of our dogs as they wait to be adopted. We purchased several dog puzzle-treat toys, dental chew toys, bones for aggressive chewers, Hyper Pet IQ Treat Mats, interactive KONG toys, snuffle mats, agility tunnels, mega play balls, flirt poles, and several muffin pans for a treat-seeking game that we love to play.

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

One of the most important things that we had to keep alive during this pandemic was the dogs’ mental and emotional well-being. We have been closed to the public since March 2020, and we have not been able to allow volunteers in since then. The volunteers were so important for keeping our dogs active; they would come to walk the dogs and provide them with exciting enrichment. Without the volunteers, it has been difficult to make sure that every dog had enrichment and daily stimuli.

This grant has provided amazing opportunities to enhance the daily lives of the dogs. The agility tunnels, mega play balls, and flirt poles make for incredible exercise and training opportunities. The snuffle mat, puzzle treat toys, and lick mats force the dogs to use their brains. The muffin pans are filled with treats and then covered with tennis balls, so that the dogs must search for a tasty surprise. The chew toys keep the dogs focused on one activity and prevent them from getting restless in their kennels.

These activities are so critical for the dogs to prevent the onset of depression that can so easily arise from sitting in a shelter day after day. This has been such a wonderful opportunity.

How many pets did this grant help?

At least 15 dogs so far, but many more will be helped in the future!

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

Zircon was a dog who was surrendered to us by his owner. Due to job changes, the owner had to leave Zircon in the care of someone else, and this person did not properly care for him. Zircon is an Anatolian shepherd. Though he should weigh well over 100 lbs., he was only about 75 lbs. when he arrived.

He was very shy and nervous when he arrived, and it took him quite a while to warm up to anyone. It was difficult to imagine making him available for adoption in that state. However, we dedicated a lot of time to providing exciting enrichment for Zircon on a daily basis. Puzzle feeders and toys were used to make him excited about eating.

It took a bit of work, but Zircon began to come out of his shell! He would “talk” to people by making “boof” sounds and wooing sounds. He seemed excited to be alive!

As of last week, Zircon is in a really promising foster-to-adopt situation with a loving family. I do not believe this would have been possible without daily enrichment activities that improved Zircon’s well-being tremendously.

Independence Animal Services: Cat Enrichment Grant Report

What was the money or product used for?

The grant money was used to buy several items that will enhance the lives of our cats as they wait to be adopted. We purchased two exercise wheels, several boxes of Feliway calming spray, several interactive cat toys, several scratching pads, catnip, puzzle feeders, and an incredible cat house which includes three stories with cubbies and hideaways.

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

These items are incredibly helpful for our cats, especially during the pandemic. We have been closed to the public since March 2020, and we have not been able to allow volunteers inside the building since then. The majority of cat enrichment and socialization was done by our devoted volunteers, so our cats have been needing extra help to get energized and enthusiastic.

The exercise wheels provide the cats with an exciting stimulus to break their day-to-day drawl of just hanging out in their rooms. The exercise is particularly helpful for some of our overweight cats! The Feliway calming spray is helpful for new cats who are unsure of the shelter environment, or for cats who have experienced tragic lives.

The toys, scratching pads, catnip, and puzzle feeders give the cats several opportunities to utilize their brains, which can be so important for older cats. The cat house is set up in front of a window that overlooks natural scenery, giving the cats a pleasant view that differs from their typical kennel walls.

This was an amazing opportunity to make sure our cats are exercising, using their brains, and not succumbing to depression.

How many pets did this grant help?

At least 50 cats so far, but many more in the future will be helped!

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

Kathy is a 9-year-old cat who has been at our shelter since mid-June. It took her quite some time to open up, and we were concerned about her mental well-being. However, enrichment toys and changing her scenery have definitely brought her out of her shell! She is now an incredibly loving cat who loves to talk to you. Our goal is to get her to use the exercise wheel, as she’s a little overweight. She is not yet adopted, but we know that she is close to finding her forever home! Meet Kathy here.