The Cayman Islands Humane Society has more well-trained pets up for adoption than ever.
In recent months, volunteers with the Good Dog Program have trained 18 canines to prepare them for their forever homes. Learning obedience skills, with the assistance of Love Your Dog, is helping dogs get adopted that might otherwise be overlooked.
“We wanted to give them some further training so that people could realise that these are good dogs,” said Claire Leadbeater, one of the directors of the Humane Society.
Every six weeks, the programme brings on a new cohort of dogs and volunteers. All volunteers are regular dog walkers with the Humane Society. The skills training that the volunteers learn from the programme will help them guide other dogs at the shelter.
“What we’re doing here is we’re training the volunteers to help the dogs. As the volunteers get more skills, they can use those with other dogs who have not been a part of this programme,” Leadbeater said.
Programme partner Love Your Dog has worked with the Humane Society for nine years. In recent years, Love Your Dog owner Julie Leslie began working with Leadbeater to offer behavioural assessments for dogs being transferred to shelters in the US or Canada. From there, Leslie and Leadbeater developed the Good Dog Program.
The programme is now on its third round and preparing for the next.
“To date, this initiative has trained 18 dogs and 18 volunteers, and a number of the dogs have now been accepted to overseas shelters and are now adopted, or have been a adopted here on island,” Leslie said.
Many of these dogs would otherwise risk becoming long-term residents of the shelter, causing stress and poor health.
One of the lucky dogs trained through the programme is Byron. At one year old, he was difficult to walk and clearly lacked support as a puppy.
“He came through the programme and he learned to sit, to stay, to walk properly on a leash, and he is now adopted. It works. We get there,” Leadbeater said.
“These dogs have clearly benefited under Julie’s guidance. The adoptions speak for themselves. It’s working.”
The Good Dog Program is currently looking for new sponsors. For more information, contact the Humane Society at 949‑1461.