Shelter dogs sometimes get a bad rap, particularly large breed and “bully breed” mixes. The Sacramento County Bradshaw Animal Shelter is on a mission to change that reputation and prove these dogs are wonderful and adoptable family pets.
On August 29, the Shelter unveiled three large outdoor play yards to use for the evaluation and socialization of large breed dogs. Operated by shelter volunteer group Pit Bull Socialization and Obedience Crew
(PB SOC), the play yards provide dedicated areas to bring in new dogs for behavior evaluations and allow evaluated dogs the opportunity to socialize with other shelter dogs.
The behavior evaluations establish a personality profile for the dogs including includes play style, other dog compatibility, any aggression triggers and the dog’s ability to give and take correction. This profile serves as the conversation starter for potential adopters and allows shelter staff to find the right fit for every situation.
The playgroups also provide kennel stressed shelter dogs a chance to run free, exercise and play with other dogs – a much needed reprieve from the small quarters they spend 22-23 hours a day in.
“Many dogs get kennel stressed and feel isolated when they are in a shelter, and they can shut down,” said Shelter Director Dave Dickinson. “The play yards allow the dog the freedom to run around and feel normal again and socialize with other dogs; it is remarkable the difference we see in the animals when they have a chance to relax and play.”
The project was a longtime dream that finally came to fruition when the owner of an adjacent property —Sacramento Area Sewer District (SASD)—agreed to make a portion of their unused property available for the play yard project. Combined with a generous contribution from Supervisor Nottoli and the Department of General Services the play yards were constructed and opened.
The grand opening event featured speeches by District 5 County Supervisor Don Nottoli, Shelter Director Dave Dickinson, SASD District Engineer Prabhakar Somavarapu and PB SOC Coordinator and play group leader Delyse Gannaway. The media was given a demonstration on socialization and correction methods during the event.
Not only do the play yards provide socialization and exercise for the shelter dogs, it is a tool that is now saving their lives.