Here are some examples of how your donations are helping shelters and rescue groups, in the organizations’ own words.
Front Street Animal Shelter - City of Sacramento: Dogs Playing for Life Mentorship Grant (Invitation Only)
Dogs Playing for Life mentorship
We sent two employees to Longmont, Colorado, to spend four days actively learning about and practicing dog playgroups. As a result, we have been doing dog playgroups in our shelter since their return. We have established protocols and procedures which both staff and volunteers adhere to.
From Oct. 18-Nov. 29, 101 dogs were helped by playgroups. Most of these dogs are single-kenneled in our back kennels, primarily due to our being able to pair them up successfully in our multi-dog kennels. We have experienced a quantifiable increase in dog save rates in a very short period of time. In October and November 2016, our dog save rate was 83 and 82% respectively. In October and November 2017, the save rate for dogs was 87% and 86% respectively.
We recently partnered with a local pet-friendly technology company (RedTail) that allows its employees to foster shelter dogs and bring them to work. Jack had recently been introduced to playgroups. He had been kenneled in the back of our shelter and would most certainly not have been identified as the first dog to go to RedTail had we not been doing playgroups. Jack is a typical black-and-white pit-type dog, of which we have many. Playgroups allowed us to see his true personality. As it turns out, Jack was completely trained, and social with people and other dogs (of all sizes). Jack was our first RedTail success and really a light-bulb moment for our staff. He has been adopted by an employee of RedTail, goes to work every day and is a shining example of what can happen when dogs participate in playgroups!
After Hurricane Harvey we worked with other shelters in Brazoria County, TX. They were hit twice -- once by the initial storm and a second time by the rain north of them. That rain drained into the Brazos River, which brought a second round of flooding. We set up the Brazoria SPCA as a hub for distribution of medication and supplies for trauma, vaccinations and waterborne disease. A vet supply house sold us over $200,000 of medication for $70,000. We furnished crates for three shelters. We also furnished crates for a shelter in Klein and the larger effort of Austin Pets Alive!
Harvey was a massive disaster. The response was also massive. When people heard that the Petfinder Foundation was part of our funding, they were more apt to work with us. Your name helped to open the door to a vet supply house for medication and also opened doors with other rescues. "Petinder" was like a secret password conveying trust.
It is difficult to say. Our people worked alongside dozens of other rescue groups. But our team actually touched more than 400 pets. Our medical supplies helped more than a thousand pets.
As our team was leaving the high-water area, a small puppy ran across the road. We found him and he was in terrible shape, both physically and mentally. We named him Harvey. After weeks of medication, emotional therapy, great food and lots of attention, he held his head high, walked with pride and interacted with people and other pets. Harvey went from terrible to terrific. Today he is with his family preparing to celebrate the holidays.
Appalachian Great Pyrenees Association: Petfinder Adoption Options in Action Grant (Invitation Only)
Funding was requested to start a new program to help adopters of our Pyrs with behavioral issues in an effort to ensure successful transitions (and no returns).
Four so far (Luna and the three who benefited from her not being returned to our kennels -- two of whom were adopted within a week of being here and the one currently still with us)
We are currently working with our first test case for our program. Luna is an adult female Pyr who was rescued from a cruelty-case situation and found her way to a shelter. She was adopted out and was not happy with the family's grandchild. Luna was returned to the shelter and her future was not bright. One of our volunteers begged us to save her last Christmas and she pulled Luna from the overcrowded shelter and delivered her to AGPR for Christmas. Luna went to a foster home but wasn't happy with the noise and activity level. She was adopted in July 2017 and was doing fine. Three months ago she started having behavioral issues and the family requested help. We provided some short-term suggestions which improved the situation but did not resolve the issues.
As a result of the grant, we have provided Luna's family with access to our trainer. To date, the trainer and Luna's family have had one consultation and the family is currently working on their "to-do" list of training with Luna. A recent update is showing a positive trend. We check in on progress every few weeks. After the first of the year, we will reassess the situation with Luna's family and the trainer to determine next steps. Without the grant, we would have had to take Luna back to our kennels and thereby not be able to accept additional Pyrs needing assistance.
We are implementing a new training program for all animals that come through our facility. Our goal is to use these behavioral modifications in basic walking and handling for our volunteers that exercise our residents. We have many youth who volunteer with their parents, who are learning these techniques from our employees. We have hired Vernon Taylor, the Indiana Dog Whisperer, and his partner, Marci Burk, to teach a series of seminars training our employees. We have started a new intake protocol regarding temperament testing. All residents are put through testing that was taught in our first seminar in October. Upon completion, an evaluation is made for what the need is for each animal.
The second step is to understand the needs of each dog and start implementing corrective guidance daily. We have scheduled extra hours for our employees to spend quality time with each animal. When we have volunteers, our employees instruct them on the proper way to handle, walk and instruct the dogs with basic commands. We have seen amazing results. The dogs are creatures of habit. We have started using treadmill exercising to help with our high-energy dogs and as a stress release for our fearful animals.
This has helped our organization greatly to be able to afford professional help in training our staff and volunteers. We have seen amazing success with animals that would barely walk on a lead and now are walking well and responding to basic commands. So often the animals that end up in shelters have behavioral issues that we are working to correct. This will make them better pets for their forever homes upon adoption. We have worked with between 40-50 dogs with these new techniques. Our juvenile volunteers are enjoying this as well, as many have come week after week to continue learning. They have advised us that they are working with the own dogs at home and their parents have been excited about the results.
This little white dog, Casper (first photo), would not leave his kennel until they started working with him. He now looks forward to his walks and exercise time. Casper now enjoys the playpen and this would have never happened before our employees and volunteers started working with him with very basic behavioral training. Amazing! From his Petfinder profile: "Casper was picked up as a stray on Dec. 27, 2016. He's about a year-old Lab mix. In need of a bit of reassurance, Casper's a sweet guy who takes a little time to feel comfortable. Unwilling to walk out of the kennels, once we had him in the meet-and-greet room, of the six people in the room, he chose a 9-year-old girl to cozy up to. Literally, he gently put his feet in her chair and carefully got up in the chair to sit next to her. With a little more time, we're hopeful his confidence will grow and he'll open up to more people." Meet him: www.petfinder.com/petdetail/37081441
Educational materials -- students engaged in hands-on activities where they learned about the following:
1. how animals end up in shelters
2. what to do when spotting a stray dog
3. how to properly care for a pet and the responsibilities of caring for a pet throughout the animal’s lifetime.
4. safe toys and foods vs. unsafe toys and foods.
5. the importance of spaying and neutering pets to prevent overpopulation and homelessness
6. creating a no-kill community through activism and education
7. heartworm prevention
8. animal safety
9. why adopting is better than shopping and how puppy mills and exotic pet stores contribute to animal cruelty.
School buses: Brother Wolf Humane Education programming agreed to cover the cost of buses for field trips to provide this opportunity to schools in underserved communities.
Reaching young people at an early age is the only way ensure that the next generation of pet owners will be responsible, compassionate, and kind animal advocates. Based on previous success and interest in youth programming, Brother Wolf Animal Rescue developed a comprehensive, four-week pilot humane-education program in which three local schools participated. By further extending our youth programming to be included during regular school hours and within the classroom (aligning with common core standards), more students were offered the opportunity to learn how to take care of and advocate for pets. The program included:
i. Weekly visits from the humane educator with special guest speakers in animal rescue (including, but not limited to: K9 units, animal control, Brother Wolf staff writers, rapid response, and TNR (trap, neuter, release) staff, Brother Wolf social media and marketing professionals, etc.) to show young people all of the different careers they can be involved in to save animals.
ii. Weekly hands-on activities directly facilitated by the humane educator. Students made treat hiders, snuffle rugs, and chew toys to keep the animals at our shelter mentally stimulated.
iii. Students chose certain animals in our shelter who needed a little extra push for promotion (long-term residents and pit bulls, specifically) for adoption and created profiles and adoption pamphlets for them along with hand-drawn portraits.
iv. Students made thank-you cards to future adoptive parents to put in the profiles of dogs and cats in our care.
v. Students completed the program with a service-learning project of their choice and received customized certificates of achievement as animal upstanders upon completion of the four-week program (curriculum attached).
vi. Each school participated in one trip to the Brother Wolf Animal Rescue Adoption Center and one trip to the Brother Wolf Farm Animal Sanctuary where they volunteered by socializing animals, cleaning living areas, learning about how to interact with the animals, and reading their body language and behavior.
Just through social-media exposure of dogs, rabbits, and cats within the community schools and interacting with students, each dog (three in total: Shiloh, Bobo, and Sundance) and one rabbit were adopted after adoptive parents saw these posts on our Brother Wolf Education Outreach Facebook page. More than 80 animals in our care received enrichment toys made by the students.
Sundance (first and second photos) came to us from McDowell County, NC, in January of 2017 and was heartworm-positive. A brown boxer mix with an adorable underbite, he had been with us for almost nine months – way too long for this sweet 3-year-old to be living at our shelter. Great with kids, Sundance was the perfect candidate to bring out into the community to interact with students at the schools participating in our humane-education program. Sundance visited two elementary schools over the course of four weeks and interacted with more than 100 students. He was the perfect humane-education ambassador. He shined. He was happy to be out of the shelter on the days he was out in the community, he loved car rides, and he especially enjoyed gently taking treats from kids learning how to properly interact with pets. After multiple social-media posts of Sundance playing with students, he started to get more attention from possible adoptive parents. Then, three days before Halloween, he went to his forever home with his new dad, Daniel, who was over the moon in love with Sundance. Sundance has star quality! He just needed a chance to show it.
Dogs Playing for Life mentorship at Austin Pets Alive! in Austin, TX.
As the kennel manager, I socialize our adoptable dogs. I lacked the skills and confidence to do this properly. I'm now able to successfully conduct playgroups on a daily basis. This reduces the anxiety and stress of our dogs. They are able to play and socialize while I learn more about their personalities. This gives me the knowledge to properly place them in forever homes and save more dogs from our city shelters.
Dozens, and counting
LuLu is a black, adult pit bull who had a slim chance of making it out of the shelter. We rescued her and brought her to our kennel. I had a hard time reading her body language and was nervous about placing her in playgroups. Once I was able to learn from Dogs Playing for Life, I had the confidence and skills to get her socializing. LuLu is a wonderful dog and is now playing with dogs and less stressed in her kennel. I'm able to observe her interacting with different dogs, so I'll be able to successfully adopt her out to the right home. She is still up for adoption; here is her link: www.petfinder.com/petdetail/40034936
The money was used to send me, Jessica Walker, to the Dog's Playing for Life mentorship program at the Longmont Humane Society in Colorado.
Through this grant I was able to attend the Dogs Playing for Life program, which we would not have been able to go to without it. What I learned I was able to share with our volunteers and employees, which has helped the dogs in our care. We have been able to put many more dogs in playgroups and more accurately understand dogs, which also helps us in finding them the perfect forever homes. The dogs have loved the implementation of the playgroups and we've seen many of our dogs blossom and shy dogs gain confidence. It's wonderful to see how big a difference it has made for our dogs.
20+ dogs and counting
Calypso is one of our dogs who greatly benefited from implementing the skills and methods I learned from the Dogs Playing for Life program. She first came to us with a litter of puppies and was placed into a foster home. Her puppies all soon found forever homes. Calypso, however, was extremely shy and distrusting. She didn't like to be touched or handled and was shut down, not even wanting to take a tasty treat from anyone. She would flee to a corner or somewhere far away from people. We worked with her for over a month and eventually she would timidly take a treat, but we didn't make a lot of progress. She still ran away from us out in our play yards, so we had to keep a long leash on her just to catch her.
After the Dogs Playing for Life mentorship, we started implementing playgroups, something we hadn't done much of before. As we started bringing dogs out to play, we decided to see how Calypso would do with other dogs. Much to our surprise and delight, Calypso blossomed! She adored the other dogs and loved to play! She went from shy and timid to happy and playful almost instantly. It only took a couple of playgroup sessions before we started to notice a huge change in her. She quickly grew a lot more confident around people she was familiar with. She started letting us handle her and pet her without fleeing to a corner, and happily taking treats or food from us. While she is still a bit timid at times, she has come a very long way in a short time. When we are getting ready to let dogs out for a playgroup session, she excitedly waits her turn, and she has a sweet doggy smile as she bounds after the other dogs. The other dogs were able to help her relax and gain some confidence. She's a very sweet dog and we hope she will find her forever home soon!
Calypso has not yet found her forever home and is still available for adoption: www.petfinder.com/petdetail/40084375
The P.L.A.Y. Chill Pads were used across our rescue to help with the huge number of animals we have taken in since Harvey. 325 animals have come into our rescue since Oct 1, 2017. We were able to expand the capabilities of our fosters to take more animals with additional crates and these wonderful Chill Pads.
Since we took in so many animals (about twice our usual number for this time period), our resources were stretched thin. These Chill Pads are so easy to wash and dry that fosters were happy to get them to help with the day-to-day of caring for these additional animals. Our dogs have loved the pads and some of our cats have also used them to comfy up their enclosures. We have also had some of our fosters use them on adoption days, as these pads are neat and fit the crate very well. They make a nice presentation when a dog or cat is in a crate at an adoption event.
We received about 45 beds and many were used by several pets, so about 120 animals
Ellen came into our rescue hurt and abandoned. Her main bed was a P.L.A.Y. Chill Pad, as it gave her plenty of cushion for her injuries, but was easy to wash and keep clean. Ellen had damage to her front paws and some bruising on her rear quarters from unknown sources. She came to us just a few weeks after the storm. After a few weeks of TLC and several vet visits, Ellen was continuing to make progress. She has since recovered and was adopted to the mom of one of our volunteers. She now resides in Hot Springs, Ark.
The funds from this grant were used for general operating costs for our Humane Education program.
This grant supports our therapeutic humane-education program, which teaches empathy and caring to children at risk of animal abuse. The number of animals in our care is about 45, but the education to the children allows a much broader outreach.
In addition to the residents in our program, we helped 23 farm animals who were displaced or burned out during the recent Wine Country wildfires.
On Oct. 8, 2017, our community was ravaged by wildfires. Although the fire did not burn our facility, it certainly impacted it. Our regular humane-education classes were stopped for about two weeks as many of the child participants were evacuated because of fire or bad air quality. During that time, we were able to open our doors to rescue farm animals that were in danger from the fires. We rescued 23 farm/barnyard animals and transported them to our farm site.
Once there, we opened our doors for volunteers to come and help and also for respite for fire victims and first responders. More than 25 firefighters from the state of Washington came for respite and to help care for the animals. Some children who had lost their homes and their pets also came for the therapeutic setting and interaction with our resident animals. Moving new animals into a small setting with existing animals was very educational for all involved, as it showed what can be done with limited resources. When our children returned to the program, they were involved in the care and feeding of the visiting animals.
To date, all have been reunited with their guardians, with one exception: a badly burned chicken named Autumn. Autumn has been housed with staff and comes to the shelter every day for care from our veterinary hospital and from the children in the program. Her recovery is slow and it will be a while before she can walk again. She is a great example of how every animal deserves to be cared for. The children are learning a lot from her, but their most important lesson is that every living being deserves a chance. Autumn still has a long way to go before she can be integrated into our existing chicken flock.
Dogs Playing for Life mentorship training at Austin Pets Alive! Our executive director, Trevor Denham, was able to attend with the grant issued.
This grant gave our executive director better insight into playgroups and how to help increase the enrichment and socialization activities for our dogs at the shelter. The goal is to help increase their adoptability, and we feel the training he received was exceptional and will do just that.
All of our dogs at the shelter will reap the benefits, so I'd say countless. We now have a set of skills that we can use as more dogs come in. It really is invaluable.
We have a dog, Will, who was very anxious being in the shelter. He had lived outside all his life and wasn't accustomed to being there. Because he was so rambunctious, we were reluctant to group him with other dogs. Our executive director took the skills he learned and was able to successfully let Will socialize with other dogs. As a result, Will now has a roommate at ARF and they get to play together during our shifts. It has helped Will tremendously.