Austin Pets Alive! and Dogs Playing for Life™ Collaborate to Mentor Shelter Staff From Across the Country
February 24, 2016 (Austin, TX)- Austin Pets Alive! is hosting its first Dogs Playing for Life™ play groups mentorship for ten dedicated animal shelter staffers from across the country striving to enhance the quality of life for their dogs and maximize life-saving at their shelters.
“Although Austin has been a No Kill City for five years, we were still struggling to save dogs that needed behavior intervention,” said Mike Kaviani, APA!’s Dog Behavior Program Manager. “These aren’t bad dogs, but they need training and socialization to be more adoptable. Many times they were never taught their manners and they just needed someone to show them how to be successful.”
APA! has adopted the enrichment programming model pioneered by Dogs Playing For Life™, a Colorado non-profit that helps shelters implement dog play groups to make shelters a happier place for dogs and people. “Shelter life is unnatural for a dog,” said Aimee Sadler, founder and CEO of DPFL. “Play groups let them be active and practice normal dog behaviors, while allowing the staff to learn about the dogs’ personalities. It also allows the dogs to burn off some shelter stress and be better prepared for training.”
“APA! is proud to be one of the largest shelters incorporating DPFL programming in the country,” said Kaviani. “More than 100 dogs participate in play groups each day, and it is an important tool for helping our behavior team make these dogs into successful and happy pets. By inviting these trainees to work here with us for a week, we are able to help other shelters duplicate our success.”
Play groups are just one component of APA!’s comprehensive dog behavior and adoption follow-up programs. Thanks to a dedicated volunteer team and staff, APA!’s shelter dogs receive twice daily walks, runs on the trail, hours of one-on-one training, and sleepovers in the community. Some dogs also have the opportunity to be trained as Canine Good Citizens, an American Kennel Club program that certifies dogs as well-mannered members of our city. APA!’s adoption follow-up program is designed to ensure that APA!’s adopters experience a lifetime of happiness with their dogs. “APA! is one of only two shelters nationwide selected to host DPFL mentorships due to APA!’s extraordinary performance as a lifesaving shelter and community resource center.” said Sadler.
Austin Pets Alive! is a 501(C)3 nonprofit organization. Austin Pets Alive! is focused on saving the pets at risk of euthanasia at city shelters. Our mission is to promote and provide the resources, education and programs needed to eliminate the killing of companion animals.
Dogs Playing for Life™ is also a 501(C)3 non-profit organization. DPFL has visited nearly 150 shelters to increase lifesaving and quality of life of shelter dogs by providing educational services and hands-on training to shelter staff and volunteers around the country and Canada.