New program helps JaCo shelter boost adoption rate to 94 percent

JACKSON COUNTY, Ore. — Dogs are known to play. But at a local animal shelter, playtime means much more.

When you think of dogs, you think of playtime.

Sometimes that isn’t the case for dogs in shelters.

But thanks to a program at Jackson County Animal Services, dogs are getting to play more all while becoming more adoptable.

It’s called Dogs Playing for Life, a program that started in 2015.

The concept is pretty simple. The more dogs in shelters are able to play, the better their ability to be observed and evaluated. That increases their chance of being adopted.

“There’s a huge success in letting the dogs get their ya-yas out and getting a chance to interact with each other rather than isolating them,” said Emily Grossheider with Dogs Playing for Life.

Jackson County Animal Services adopted the program in 2015. Since then. the percentage of dogs finding homes is up from 85 percent to 94 percent.

Back in 2012, it was about 50 percent.

“It’s a much better way to evaluate what the dog is really like,” said Jackson County Animal Services Manager Barbara Talbert.

“Animal shelters are always under-resourced, under-funded and under-staffed,” Grossheider said, “so it’s been really amazing to get to see how shelters are able to take the program and really run with it.”

“It’s a very satisfying work, it’s very rewarding,” Talbert said. “It feels good when you finally see them settled into a new home and enjoying their life.”



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