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Santa Ynez Valley Humane Society Improves Enrichment for Shelter Dogs Through Training in Austin

Shayna Bartlett (right) learns about play groups at a Dogs Playing for Life and Austin Pets Alive! training session. (Santa Ynez Valley Humane Society photo)

Two staff members from the Santa Ynez Valley Humane Society returned Saturday from Austin, Texas, where they attended an intensive training on canine enrichment and behavior training.

The training, hosted by Dogs Playing for Life and Austin Pets Alive!, emphasized dog play groups, basic training and enrichment in order to better fulfill and improve the lives of shelter dogs.

Shayna Bartlett, a Santa Ynez Valley local and Dog Care staff member at the Santa Ynez Valley Humane Society was fortunate to attend the mentorship in Austin last week.

She refined her skills and confidence with play groups and dog handling while developing relationships with shelter representatives from Chicago, Philadelphia, Austin and Beverly Hills.

“This training reminded us of the importance of treating each of our animals in entirety-both medically and emotionally,” said Emily Grossheider, Santa Ynez Valley Humane Society executive director, “with this new motivation and education we know we will save more and enrich more lives!”

The four-day intensive training was taught by behavior staff members from both Austin Pets Alive!, one of the leading organizations to make Austin a no-kill city five years ago, and Dogs Playing for Life, an international enrichment program that has been visiting 150 shelters nationwide to improve the quality of life and live outcomes for shelter dogs.

Dogs Playing for Life will stop at seven Santa Barbara County shelters this March to teach shelter personnel about play groups.

“In my opinion, this is the most important and impactful thing to happen in our community,” explained Jill Anderson-Rackley, co-founder and director of Shadow’s Fund, one of the participating shelters, “Getting all of our shelters, Humane Societies and rescues trained and on board with DPFL will be a monumental step forward for our community.”

The seven shelters are still working to raise funds for the two week training in March. Donations can be sent to the Santa Ynez Valley Humane Society at P.O. Box 335, Buellton, CA 93427 or made online at www.syvhumane.org/donate. Please designate “Dogs Playing for Life.”

The Santa Ynez Valley Humane Society has worked with the community to improve the lives of dogs and cats in the Santa Ynez Valley for many decades. In 2015, the shelter found homes for a record high 400 dogs and cats. To learn more, please visit www.syvhumane.org.

Emily Grossheider represents the Santa Ynez Valley Humane Society.

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