Do you have a dog in your shelter who could use some time away from the noise and activity levels of the adoption floor? How about a dog who just needs a staycation? With some creativity and a little bit of extra space, you can create your own “relaxation station” for a stressed-out dog!
The Humane Society of Manatee County (HSMC) in Florida, which received a Maddie’s Fund® Innovation Grant in 2016, wanted to create a space in their shelter that reduced the noise and provided a calmer environment for some of their anxious or fearful dogs. They constructed private, quiet kennel areas that provide a break from the over-stimulation of the regular shelter environment.
Each relaxation station is approximately 3’x6’ and houses one medium/large dog or two small dogs at a time. “Finding a space with existing walls helps lower costs,” said Valerie Bliss, Director of Development at HSMC.
“Products that anchor well into the ground to keep the kennel in place are a must, and flooring that’s easy to clean is also very important. You also need ventilation and other options to create moving air, like a fan. And it should, of course, be placed in a quiet area of the shelter. A drain in the floor for cleaning purposes is also nice to have.”
If they have the space to create one, Bliss says she absolutely recommends a relaxation station for all shelters.
“The station has been an asset for the dogs housed here,” she said. “Seeing our over-the-top dogs settle down while they are in the relaxation station has been awesome. It’s helped some of them settle down enough to find their homes, when they had been doing backflips in the main adoption kennel.”