There’s no doubt that animal shelters are getting transformed in most parts of the country. Gone are the days when abandoned animals were just kept and fed in a room somewhere to keep them from harming people. Now the focus is more on the animals’ well being.
Below are some of the notable trends in animal shelters:
One way through which shelters are achieving this is by creating or building facilities that are comfortable and meet the needs of different animals.
According to animal shelter operators, the new trend is to move away from the previous think that only focused on building basic structures for animals.
They say that the new trend aims at building structures that allow natural light to enter the kennels as well as reduce anything that can cause stress to the animals. The facilities are also built in such a way that they can easily be accessed by those attending to the animals.
Modern shelters are becoming more animal-centric than at any other time. Some of them have developed into community centers devoted to animal welfare. In most of these centers, you will find a lot of animal research happening, training, community interaction, behavioral modification among other activities.
There is also piped-in music, manners training, rotating sensory stimulation, comfortable beddings, playgroups, specialized veterinary medication, enrichment, and several other activities. The shelters are doing everything possible to make the life of the animals comfortable. There are also people given the responsibility to ensure every animal is comfortable at all times.
Use of experts
In the past few years, more emphasis has been put on animal behavior. People without knowledge or training are no longer allowed to evaluate animal behavior or handle them in shelters. This is different from the past when anyone could just handle animals and evaluate their behavior.
Today every animal shelter must have an expert who works round the clock to ensure that they are well mannered. These experts are also responsible for maintaining the safety standards as well as the adoption procedures.
There are a lot of animals being taken to shelters because of behavioral challenges. As such, regulations have been put in place to ensure that each shelter has an expert who can handle and train animals.
Increased community engagement
Another emerging trend in animal shelters is increased community interaction. According to research conducted at Arizona State University, there has been an increased number of people visiting animal shelters. These are people who don’t own dogs or don’t prefer to keep them at home. But they love visiting shelters and having fun with dogs once in a while.
The interaction with dogs gives them an opportunity to learn new skills and be part of the surrounding community. Besides, the volunteer engagements in the animal shelters give residents a chance to offer services that would ordinarily cost the animal shelters a lot of money.
Running buddy programs sponsored by animal shelters have also become more popular across the country. Volunteer runners are allowed to take out a dog for about 20 to 30 minutes.
Although sleepover programs were very popular and excited many people, there were concerns about its side effects on the animals. The main concern was that the initiative would be stressful for the animals because of changing the environment.
To find out the truth about those concerns, a study was done by Erica Feurbacher and Gunter to test the effects of sleepovers.
The two researchers used cortisol levels to determine the levels of stress on dogs. Their study found out the dogs were less stressed during sleepovers compared to when they slept at the shelters.
Specialization in shelter medicine
Although it took the American Veterinary Medical Association a long time to recognize shelter medicine, the field has been growing rapidly. Shelter medicine is not just about practicing small-animal medicine but also being able to recognize the risks faced by animals in shelters.