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New Exercise Yard Builds Confidence

Humane Society of Independence County decided to use their Shelter Challenge grants to improve their exercise yard. The Arkansas organization had won $2,000 in the last two Challenges.

Lumber and other materials were purchased with the grant money but all the labor was provided by volunteers, reported Sue Augustus.

“The equipment not only provided a shady area for the dogs to relax in, but also a means for confidence buildng and training,” she said. “The dogs and volunteers use the ramp, platform, and steps to get the dogs used to different challenges. This teaches them simple things like going up and down, and ultimately makes them much more adoptable.  The dogs using the exercise yard with the first piece of equipment have enjoyed it so much, and learned so much, that we are excited to have the second one completed and installed within the next couple of weeks.”

Among the dogs helped were born-in-the-wilds Harlem and Harlequin (shown here with a friend).

“We had to trap them just to get them off the streets,” said Augustus. "They had never been in contact with humans and were the most withdrawn and unsocial teenage pups we had ever seen."

As part of the daily socializing provided by volunteers and staff, the agility equipment intrigued the young dogs, so they allowed people to work with them using collar and leash. “Within days they were walking up the ramp and down the stairs,” said Augustus. Harlequin was adopted and she added that “Harlem is doing great and we know it is just a matter of time before he finds his home as well!”

Since 2008, more than 370 shelters and animal rescue organizations in the United States, Canada, and elsewhere have received more than $1.3 million in Shelter Challenge grants. Funding for Shelter Challenge grants comes from The Animal Rescue Site. The distribution of grants and the collection of reports about how grants are utilized is done by the Petfinder Foundation under the oversight of

Read more stories from winners at Shelter Challenge News

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