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The SPCA of Westchester’s The Way Home Program concentrates on enrichment and training for dogs that may have a harder time finding a forever home, with the ultimate goal of decreasing the average length of stay for long term dogs. Any dog that spends longer than 2 months in shelter care will be served by this program. Dogs labeled as pit bulls will be the bulk of the dogs served
because this breed type makes up about 60-70% of the population sheltered by the SPCA of Westchester. Pit bulls and other bully breed dogs tend to spend more time looking for a home due to the public’s perception of them.
It is their hope to help maintain their mental and physical health while in the shelter by providing more training and enrichment to this underserved population.
This program will help to maintain and increase adoptability to all dogs in the shelter concentrating upon those in with the greatest need. Through the Way Home Program, the SPCA has been able to add a part-time trainer position to its staff. This allows for more individual attention for the targeted dogs and supplements the SPCA’s full-time Behavior & Enrichment Coordinator’s efforts.
The hiring of this part time trainer has afforded the behavior department the ability to implement many additional programs for the dogs. The trainer oversees a kennel enrichment program that includes something for all the senses. Daily music, kong feeding, smells for the kennel and toy rotation are just some of the things that make up this program. Special adoptions for dogs with training needs above and beyond the routine are now completed with the oversight of the Coordinator. With the trainer’s help the Coordinator has been freed up to continue to build the canine companion volunteer program so that we can have more volunteers involved in implementing the extra work the department has received. Leading to each dog receiving an individualized training plan and enrichment schedule to fit the needs for each dog in shelter care for an extended period of time.
In addition, the part-time trainer, working in conjunction with the Behavior & Enrichment Coordinator, oversees play groups, socialization walks and other inter-canine interactions which we are now able to facilitate daily. Other activities include individual training sessions, quiet time with people, nosework, therapy dog training and massage. Although, some of these were in place prior to the hiring of the part time trainer, the frequency with which they are offered has greatly increased.
Future goals of the program involve locating foster homes for dogs who are deteriorating in the shelter environment and providing support to fosters as needed.
The SPCA will meet with potential adopters to review and implement training plans for dogs that have been in shelter care for more than 1 month and arrange for additional “out of the box” adoption options such as working with other rescues, sanctuaries and programs including Pets for Vets. The identification of willing and able foster home participants is critical to the success of transitioning The Way Home dogs out of the shelter and into a home-like environment.
For more information on this program, click here.
Gaia is a young red pitbull/lab mix who is super loving and affectionate. She’s extremely smart and enjoys being active and playing with her toys. She LOVES going out with the shelter’s running team too! She likes most dogs but would prefer a home with no little kids. She is such a loyal companion that will make for a great furry addition to the right family!
*Gaia & all of the SPCA of Westchester’s adoptable animals can be seen at www.spca914.org and the SPCA of Westchester is located in Briarcliff Manor, NY.
Oscar is a 3 year old hound mix who came in as a stray. He is a total love! He is great with everyone he meets, including kids, and is part of the SPCA running team.
He loves his outings and is so well behaved and good on his leash. He is a total wiggle butt and will make a great addition to any family! Would also make a great running partner or companion for someone who likes to go hiking! He’s a super smart boy and will make a terrific friend or addition to a family. Oscar would prefer to be an only pet so he can have all your love and attention for himself!
*Oscar & all of the SPCA of Westchester’s animals can be seen atwww.spca914.org and the SPCA of Westchester is located in Briarcliff Manor, NY.
Lucky is a very special dog. He came to the SPCA of Westchester, NY from the another shelter that had closed down, and prior to that, his family lost their home in a fire.
Since arriving at the SPCA, Lucky (a 4-year-old pit bull mix) has gone from a rather shy, reserved dog to a greet-you-with-a-kiss, armchair stealing pup who is ready for a great new forever home. He is mushy and affectionate and loves going for walks and running around in the play yard, enjoys jogging on local park trails and socialize. Lucky is good with some dogs, but he would prefer a home without cats. Lucky is a staff and volunteer favorite, as he is always happy to hang out and shower them with kisses. Lucky is truly a gem and will make a loyal, loving best friend!
*All of our animals can be seen at www.spca914.org and the SPCA of Westchester is located in Briarcliff Manor, NY.
Ulysses came in as a stray to the SPCA of Westchester and he had scars all over him. One of possibly the worse hack jobs on his poor ears — they were cropped so badly that he hardly had ears anymore, so he was constantly getting ear infections. He was a very calm and cool dog — he just kinda went with the flow and was real mellow. Because of his ears and scars, many people were nervous around him as it gave him a harsh look. The staff at the SPCA, however, thought he was beautiful. Still people worried he had been abused (which he most likely was), so they didn’t want to take a chance on him. Little did they know he was a big mush! It took about a year, but he finally found an awesome home with someone who really wanted to help a pitbull like him that they knew would keep getting passed over in a shelter.
As you can see he enjoys cruising in the car with his shades on now haha!
The Tortorella’s are to receive the John W Beach Memorial Award at the SPCA of Westchester’s Top Hat and Cocktails Gala on Friday, October 17 2014 at the Ritz-Carlton in White Plains, NY.
According to the SPCA website, “John and Christine have funded a special program at the SPCA of Westchester to supply specific training and enrichment to dogs with behavioral issues that may impede their chances for getting adopted. The SPCA is proud to honor the Tortorellas’ generous and heartfelt contribution to our humane mission.”
Click here to learn more, to adopt from or donate to the SPCA or to buy tickets and attend the Gala.