Enrichment Through Socialization
The Second Chance Pet Column has recently been sharing different aspects of its Enrichment Program because it is a unique and progressive program within the animal welfare industry and because it has applicable components for those dealing with their own pet’s behavioral challenges. Read on to learn more about this transformative program and its broad applications for both dogs and cats.
My name is Swartz and I’m a one year old Heeler mix participating in the Second Chance Enrichment Program while I wait for my new family to find me. Being a young Heeler mix I have plenty of energy and love to play. Having observed how outgoing I was the staff matched me with some like-minded and equally playful dogs, Hercules and Milo.
The three of us met initially on walks and were gradually introduced one by one in a play yard. Now I couldn’t be happier and I get play yard time daily with my new friends as well as time to interact with staff playing and working on basic obedience.
These play yard sessions are also a good chance for the staff to learn our various play styles and behaviors and ensure all of our needs are being addressed. We have many different types of play yards at Second Chance, but my favorite is the enrichment yard, which is a little bigger and has plenty of toys and agility equipment to keep us occupied. The staff ensures we have a variety of activities and supervise us to keep the play time positive and productive for all member s of the group.
My feline friend Rock Hudson also recently got a new playgroup he’s particularly happy with. Rock was co-housed with his litter mate Audrey Hepburn but when space opened up in one of the communal cat rooms they were perfect choices to be assimilated in with the group.
Rock and Audrey are both under a year old and thus were matched in the same way I was with the more active of the communal rooms to help ease their transition and facilitate compatible lifestyles with the other cats. Now Rock and Audrey can play to their hearts content with three other cats. They have a whole room outfitted with shelves, scratching posts, and bedding as well as access to an outdoor porch for down-time napping in the sun.
As you can gather, the enrichment program isn’t all training and games but also addresses the social and emotional needs of the animals at Second Chance (as should your personal pet enrichment program at home), something that is every bit as important as training and exercise. Most importantly this Program helps all the animals at Second Chance live more satisfying and healthy lives, making us more adoptable and decreasing our length of stay until we find our forever homes.
Second Chance Humane Society Animal Resource Center and Thrift Shops service San Miguel, Ouray & Montrose Counties. Call the SCHS Helpline at 626-2273 to report a lost pet, learn about adopting a homeless pet, or about the SCHS Spay/Neuter, Volunteer, Feral Cat, or other Programs. View our shelter pets and services online: www.adoptmountainpets.org.