As a six-year veteran of shelter volunteering, this rings so true! When I first started volunteering, I thought I could exercise the energy out dogs. That proved impossible for most of them. Taking them for an hour of quiet time at my home or sitting silently with the pups in a park worked wonders in calming their behavior.
Okay, not actual story time – just simple quiet time is what I’ll be talking about today, but it’s the same idea. Quiet time with people can be just as important for shelter dogs as getting out of their runs and exercising.
Stress in animals can be gauged by measuring levels of the glucocorticoid cortisol. Cortisol is released by animals in times of stress, meant to be used as a body’s way to combat sudden environmental changes and other stress-inducing situations. Prolonged exposure to stress, however, causes elevated levels of cortisol over long periods of time, which begins to have a negative impact on the body. Prolonged elevated cortisol levels in animals can lead to illness, behavior changes, depression and more.
It’s no secret that the shelter environment is stressful for dogs. That is why progressive shelters these days are doing so much to try to combat the…
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