It’s a sad scene familiar to many dog adopters: you enter an animal shelter and are greeted by pacing, barking, jumping, whining dogs.
Madeline Bernstein, president of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Los Angeles, hopes to change that. Her organization will use a $25,000 grant from the Pedigree Foundation to benefit the shelter’s animal training and enrichment program, Helping Enhance Animal Lives.
“The sad fact is that dogs who bark, jump and pace in their dens are less desirable candidates for adoption,” Bernstein says. “These displays are often results of stress, boredom and lack of positive human interaction.” The HEAL program’s staff and volunteers socialize, play and train shelter animals to reduce the animals’ stress and boredom and build the human-animal bond.
“Dogs who would normally bark and jump at the sight of prospective family often sit politely, as they have been trained to do,” Bernstein says. “Formerly ‘shy’ dogs — possibly the victims of abuse or neglect — greet new people at the front of their dens, because they now see humans as a source of fun and affection.”
Nine other recipients received $10,000 to $25,000 in grant money from the Pedigree Foundation. Awardees include the Dubuque Regional Humane Society of Dubuque, Iowa, awarded $25,000 for its “Corporate for Canines” program, which partners with corporations to bring adoptable pets to the public, and Muttville Senior Dog Rescue of San Francisco, awarded $12,000 for its “Seniors for Seniors” program, which helps place older rescues in the homes of senior citizens.
For more information and a complete list of Innovation Grant winners, visit www.pedigreefoundation.org