October 13, 2020 – With five frightened shepherd mixes newly arrived, and based on the success of its recent ‘Feral to Friendly’ initiative for unsocialized cats and kittens, the Susquehanna Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SQSPCA) has announced a special volunteer opportunity.
The shelter’s new “Fearful to Fearless” program depends on assistance from the community to help turn extremely shy dogs into confident, loving pets through positive association and experiences.
“These dogs are terrified,” SQSPCA Executive Director Stacie Haynes explained. “Our Fearful to Fearless program will enable volunteers to come spend quality time with the dogs – sit outside their kennels, talk to them, maybe even read a book out loud – to help them overcome their fear of people.”
As the dogs become more accepting of the presence of humans, there are further strategies that can then be used by volunteers and staff to reduce their fear of handling, Haynes said.
The five dogs kicking off the SQSPCA Fearful to Fearless program are originally from Clayton County, Georgia. A rescue network that saves dogs from high-intake shelters and high-risk situations in both Georgia and Texas has paid for their transport as well as their shelter stay.
“We recognize that, unlike us, high-intake shelters – many of which are located in the south – are forced to euthanize animals due to space constraints,” explained Haynes. “When we have the opportunity to help, we will, because we are saving lives.”
According to Haynes, Bacon, Benedict, Omelette, Waffles and Nici arrived at the SQSPCA on October 2. All were strays and all are estimated to be around 2 years old. A sixth dog – Danish – was pregnant and went directly to a foster home upon her arrival several weeks earlier. She has since given birth to three puppies.
“Dog lovers interested in volunteering for the Fearful to Fearless program can call to sign up,” Haynes said. “In keeping with COVID-19 social distancing recommendations, some restrictions as to number of participants per time slot may apply.”
Those interested in learning more about the SQSPCA’s Fearful to Fearless program can call 607-547-8111, extension 111 to learn more and schedule a time to help out.