HHDR Newsletter - June 2016
What Makes HHDR Special?
Helping Hounds is well known for our adoption program, but there is a lot more to HHDR! One of the best programs we have is within our Volunteer Program and is called our BAT Team.
BAT stands for Behavior Assessment and Training, and that is exactly what this dedicated group of volunteers does.
Have you ever wondered what happens when we have a dog that has a challenging behavior? How does HHDR help animals that are struggling with the stress of a shelter, or with a dog that is reactive to certain situations? This is one instance when our BAT Team comes to the rescue (pun intended). This group of volunteers, along with staff, take time to observe our dogs to determine what their triggers might be and how best to work them through any issue that might arise. But it doesn’t stop there, the BAT Team is small and can only be at the rescue when their work and home lives allow, so how can they make a difference? Their answer was to train other volunteers within our ranks on how to work with the dogs, what techniques to use and which training tools are best. This is how we get results.
Our BAT Team members attend advanced training sessions with professional trainers and animal behaviorists in the area. They are given the opportunity to attend workshops to increase their knowledge and do a great deal of research online. We have BAT Team meeting where they can share what they learn with each other and discuss the new techniques and training tips. They work well together in a collaborative environment. Each member of the team has an area of expertise, a topic that is important to them and provides much needed support to our dogs.
The team members take their knowledge and design classes for our general volunteer base. The topics of these trainings vary greatly. We have classes to help with the arrival of new transports, to assist with events and to teach volunteers how to work with the public to help them find a dog that will be the best match for their family. Another class we have teaches volunteers how to keep a dogs mind active through creative play and designing enrichment tools. This is such a valuable class for the dogs that stay at the rescue. It ensures that not only are the dogs getting physical exercise, but they are also getting mental stimulation as well. We offer a three-week course to volunteers who want to work closely with our dogs that have some of the challenging behaviors. At the end of these 3 weeks the volunteers will have the knowledge they need to work with many behaviors from fearful dogs to those that think they are in charge!
I asked some of our BAT Team to share their favorite memories or success stories.
"My favorite story was the first time we had a professional trainer from Certified K9 come to teach us at Pawpals daycare. I had been doing meet and greets with dogs and their owners for awhile, but was never formally trained on it. Neil showed us and explained his theory on the entire reasoning and relationships of the dogs and it was like a light went on going forward. It was a little thing, but taught me a lot."
"I think the most important thing that I have learned is that love cannot save a dog. You need to take love out of the equation to find out what makes a balanced dog."
"Being able to figure out what a dog needs, and as a group do whatever it takes, is so rewarding! I love the look on the volunteers’ faces after the three week training, its like an Ah-hah moment when they understand why we do things a certain way."
The BAT Team proves, over and over the quote: “Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much!”
In our December Newsletter we mentioned our partnership with Safe Kids and Golisano Children's Hospital. This partnership has allowed us to present the I Speak Doggie program to area children in some elementary schools and daycares to teach basic dog bite prevention. We were honored this month by being named Safe Kids' Partner of the Year at their annual breakfast. We are grateful for this partnership and look forward to seeing the program grow!
HHDR Celebrated at our 7th Annual Bark
In May we had our 7th Annual Bark event at the Dinosaur BBQ. A HUGE thank you to everyone that attended this year's event! Through your generous support we raised over $20,000 and enjoyed great entertainment, terrific company and delicious food! A Special Thanks to our sponsors: John Arquette Properties, Home Depot, Geico - Local Agent, Romano Subaru, Marathon Financial Advisors, Critter Sitters, Mother Nature Pet Supply, Aaron's, Community Cardiology, Shop City Animal Hospital, Liverpool Village Animal Hospital, and Veterinary Medical Center.
Lately, our supply is having a hard time keeping pace with our demand. Seems our dogs are quite popular. Our friends in Texas grew tired of hearing we need more dogs and have responded to the challenge.
Currently, all the dogs are coming in from the Love On Wheels program, which is a combined effort of Humane Tomorrow and a group out of Wichita Falls. The Wichita Falls group is going to create their own program. This will allow them to seek grant funding and each group will continue to grow their respective programs. These two groups will continue to transport at the same time.
In addition, we have added Mutt Nation to the mix. This is the foundation started and funded by Miranda Lambert and operates the Redemption Ranch in OK. We received the first of their dogs on the May 28th transport and anticipate they will eventually have the numbers to form a separate transport of their own coming in between Love On Wheels/TX and Alabama.
Average Length of Stay - 9 days Number of Adoptions this year to date - 690
Number of Active Volunteers - 334 Volunteer Hours to date - 12,875
Next opportunity to apply to volunteer starts July 1. Go to the Volunteer page on our website to complete the application!