Our Accomplishments Over the Years!
The Backyard Project
In 2012, Saving Paws took on the mission to rebuild the backyard at the pound with a cemented play-space. Due to settling, the yard had become susceptible to standing water and deep mud much of the time. If there was an outbreak of illness, the fastest way for it to spread was through excrement, which becomes mixed into the mud and is easily transmitted from dog to dog. This can, and did, lead to deaths from parvo and long kennel quarantine periods for the dogs. A grass backyard area cannot be cleaned and sanitized; it was a life-threatening situation for the dogs. Having outdoor open space for play is the difference between a dog staying adoptable and a dog breaking down in its kennel from stress, illness, depression, and/or anxiety.
The total value of the backyard renewal project was $25,000. In 2012-13, Saving Paws fundraised and received amazing support from the local community and past adopters, raising over $10,000. Saving Paws completed this project for $13,000 after successfully brokering with partners for the balance to be donated in labor and materials. Shoreline Paving of CT donated labor and supplies, and our local city government drew-up blueprints and helped with some initial land preparation.
Our amazing corporate sponsor Southington Dentistry made the beautiful pavilion possible and the backyard was completed in spring of 2013. The difference this area makes to the dogs is massive. Since the backyard was completed there has not been another parvo outbreak. This amazing space has made for many happy day in the sunshine for the dogs, waiting for new families.
The Lobby and Kennel Makeover!
One of the first initiatives at the pound was to create a welcoming environment for both the dogs and potential adopters. Many people have outdated ideas and misconceptions about what a “pound” is like. It’s understandable, but we wanted people to be able to see and feel how much the MAC staff and Saving Paws volunteers care about the animals and value people who want to adopt. We needed an environment that would bring people in and set them at ease. This was pretty easy to do considering we are crazy about our animals!
Saving Paws painted all three public areas at the pound to brighten the place up and help people notice us! We made an area to post our available dogs and created a resource section where the public can find information regarding low-cost vetting and spay/neuter facilities that are available in Connecticut. With the help of our amazing volunteer photographer, Jennifer Sperzel of Jennifer’s Impressions we decorated the main office with our gorgeous dogs’ pictures-all who were adopted!
Lastly, we cleaned out and reorganized the supplies area so we could have easy access to all our donated treats and toys. All of these changes really brought a clean, fresh and open feeling to the pound. It made everyone feel more relaxed, which always helps the animals, especially those who may be surrendered or abandoned.
In the kennels we made sure there was a stereo and bought musical CD’s especially for the dogs. It is a proven fact that classical music can calm dogs and help them sleep. With all the donations we receive we are always able to give the dogs treats and toys to play with outside and occasionally in the kennel too. Little dogs are given beds (it’s the scariest for them, they are SO small in such a BIG space) If we can be sure the dog will not ingest bedding, we will give big dogs a blanket as well. Anything that can make a tough situation more bearable Saving Paws has done.
The MAC staff always keeps the kennels neat and tidy, we are VERY proud to have such clean facilities and the impact that a clean, structured, low stress environment has on the dogs is profound. On occasion, we have dogs stay with us for over six months and they stay emotionally and physically intact and are able to cope. This is very impressive and it’s due to all hard work of the MAC staff on a daily basis and the new environment and little TLC details from Saving Paws.
Saving Paws is still working on making the pound environment more bearable for the animals and we are continuing our efforts to make improvements all the time. We are in the process of expanding the behavior enrichment program and implementing more stress-reducing methods as well. Currently, we are working on reducing the sound levels in the kennel and making the dogs have to “work” for their food by using PVC piping as feeding tools. Be sure to check back for more environment improvement updates!