Animal Compassion Team: Play Yard Renovation Grant
What was the money or product used for?

The grant funds were used to cross-fence our large play yards, add gates, and install paving stones in the entries and along the fence line. A shade canopy was also added.

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

As we are a no-kill rescue, dogs in our care sometimes stay for prolonged periods of time. Our staff and volunteers make their quality of life a priority. Two years ago, we implemented the Dogs Playing for Life program at our little shelter and we love it! Prior to the renovation, we were limited to two very large play yards to run groups; it was difficult to supervise groups of dogs in such a large area, and only two groups of dogs could be out at a time. As part of the renovation made possible by the Petfinder Foundation grant, we created multiple smaller yards (connected by gates) and reinforced their boundaries. Now, with a team of trained volunteers, we can get out almost all of our 50 large-breed dogs at one time! That means more dogs get play time, and their sessions last longer. We've got happier, healthier dogs (which translates into more adoptable dogs), and it's also given our volunteer program a boost!

How many pets did this grant help?

ACT houses at least 50 large-breed dogs at any given time. All of them use the various yards created with the renovation grant each day. Of course, as dogs are adopted, new dogs take their places in the kennels. Since the renovation, several hundred dogs have enjoyed our Petfinder Foundation-sponsored play yards, and we look forward to many years of play in the future!

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

Play groups (and the Dogs Playing for Life program) help our rescue's inhabitants in many ways. For some dogs who come in scared, shy and lacking socialization, regular dog-to-dog interactions are a lifesaver. Charlie, a petite young pit bull, came to us terrified and virtually hairless due to a bad case of demodectic mange. Addressing his medical needs was the easy part. At first, the little guy only wanted to hide and had to be carried out of his kennel, frozen in fear. After several days of play group with friendly, easygoing dogs, Charlie started to loosen up and gain confidence. By the end of two weeks, he would dash out of his kennel, eager to play with his buddies, and he would greet new people at the fence with a grin and tail wag. Charlie's new family fell in love watching him frolic in our yard, and now he's got a home!

For other dogs who come to us already friendly, play group is the only way to keep them physically and emotionally healthy. Mel, an Australian shepherd-pit bull mix (pictured), is an outgoing, bouncy, rough-and-tumble kind of guy. Without regular sessions in the yards with his friends, Mel would, without a doubt, suffer from severe kennel stress. But because he gets out into the yards every morning and afternoon, Mel stays calm and approachable in his kennel. Because our volunteers spend time with him in play group, we've also been able to get to know Mel well, and can advocate for him with confidence. We have faith that his forever family will find him very soon! (Meet Mel at www.petfinder.com/petdetail/38338737.)