I’m sitting in my hotel room in Prescott Arizona reflecting on today’s work. I was invited back to the Yavapai Humane Society for my 3 rd visit. This shelter has moved from a very high kill rate to one of the lowest in the USA. Currently the shelter has a live release rate of 97%. That means that 97% of the animals that come into the shelter are adopted, rescued or returned to their owners. How do they do it? They think outside of the box. And yes, every shelter can do it.
Throughout the day of training shelter staff, management, volunteers, behaviorist ( we also had staff and behaviorists visiting from other shelters) we learned, shared and supported the concept of saving dogs that need saving. These shelters are ones who want to save lives and put their money where their mouths are. At the cost to the shelter of time and travel expenses, these shelters sent their staff to learn life-saving skills including understanding canine behavior, dealing with difficult behaviors, marketing, training and behavior assessments. Giving dogs what dogs need to get out of the shelter alive is the common goal that was shared by everyone who participated today.
The tools to saving shelter pets are out there, I’ve brought these lessons to shelters from LA to shelters, humane societies and rescues across the US and beyond. I’ve shared what I’ve learned and learned more through my sharing. I hear the things that work and those that don’t, and oftentimes just sitting at dinner (as we did tonight) so many great ideas come out. What great conversations we shared with Anthony from Las Cruxes New Mexico, Ed Boks from YHS, Cookie and Misty from Yuma Arizona. Sharing ideas = Saving lives.
The most exciting part of this training is that we plan on making this training available to shelters everywhere through our video training channel. This training includes classroom theory as well as practical, real world application. This training is filmed on location with the dogs that are at the greatest risk in our nations shelters. Providing real world solutions for these dogs and the shelters that house them will help save the dogs at greatest risk of being killed. There is no fancy editing or scripting to our videos, they are raw and real. I don’t pick cute fluffy dogs that are easy to work with or that will appeal to most people. Those who work in the front lines of our nations shelters know that these dogs are not the issue that municipal shelters deal with. It’s the dogs with behavioral problems, the misunderstood and the mislabeled dogs that include, pit bulls, pit mixes, shepherds, and medium and large breed fearful, dominant and aggressive dogs as well as junk yard dogs and dogs with mislabeled behaviors that we address and that we demonstrate our life saving techniques on.