ENRICHMENT INVOLVING HUMAN INTERACTION SAVES LIVES
by Regina Willen
As I walked through the intake room of a large county animal shelter in Dayton, Ohio, evaluating dogs to enroll in the Behavior Modification and Enrichment Program (BMP), I stopped in front of a kennel and looked down at a young pit bull–type puppy, with a turned-up pink nose and floppy ears, sitting eagerly in his kennel. My heart dropped as I glanced at his paperwork. His name was Bingo, and the notation on the top of his paperwork said “Confiscate for Cruelty.” His appearance, strong and stocky, was remarkably similar to another dog that recently celebrated his first birthday just a few days before his last breath. With the memory still too fresh in my mind, I vowed that this young pup’s fate would not be that of the dog before him.
Animal shelters are truly a safe haven for millions of dogs that are lost, abandoned, mistreated, or neglected every year. However, even in those state-of-the-art shelters, the environment is very stressful. Shelters inadvertently expose animals to numerous stressors including the novelty of the shelter itself, a disruption from normal events such as feeding or walks for elimination, and a general loss of control over their environment. This is of concern not only in terms of the immediate welfare of the animal but also the long-term impact that this environment has on the behavior and health of the dog.
Read full article by clicking the link, published in The IAABC Journal, Spring 2017.