With funds available from the Friends of Mesquite Animal Shelter’s (FOMAS) successful rummage sale last fall, the volunteers went looking for ways to enrich the lives of the shelter animals. Training/obstacle course items were mentioned for the exercise yard for the dogs. We researched A-frame ramps and found they were priced way over our budget, costing over $2000.
Although dogs can’t say when they’re bored, they can express their boredom, stress level and anxiety in any number of ways. Common behavioral responses to the tedium and stress of kennel life include: barking, jumping, spinning, chewing, and withdrawing.
A shelter’s enrichment program can make a major difference in the daily life of these dogs: a variety of in-kennel and out-of-kennel experiences engage dogs and make their days more interesting. When engaged in enrichment activities, dogs are less likely to develop the inappropriate behaviors that are their own efforts at relieving boredom and stress. By creating positive living situations, these animals will be happy and healthy during their time at the shelter, encouraging successful adoptions and a smooth transition to their forever home.
We showed a picture of the ramp to one of the local men who loves to build things and asked if it could be built and for how much. Mesquite resident, Nick Murray, built the dogs a sturdy, functional ramp for a fraction of the cost of the commercial one. The dogs run up and down it; carry their toys and generally have a good time. A big thank you to Nick for his time and generosity for making a difference in the lives of shelter animals! The carpet used on the ramp was also donated by a shelter volunteer.
The group also purchased a jump hoop for use in the dog exercise yard.