Municipal Workers Going To The Dogs; City Launches Volunteer Dog Walking Program
The canine residents of Bridgeport’s animal shelter recently got a boost when the city launched a volunteer dog walking program for city employees. The program is designed to help prepare the animals for adoption by getting them comfortable with human interaction.
The voluntary program will encourage the city’s 5,000 employees to visit the animal shelter up to six days a week to walk, play with and interact with the shelter dogs.
“I am so happy we are bringing this program back,” said Mayor Joe Ganim. “It breaks my heart to see these beautiful dogs without a home. Anyone working for the city now has a chance to help them find a home and increase the placement rate for abandoned dogs.”
Helping Socialize Dogs back to top
The dog walking program is one of several initiatives the city has implemented recently to help socialize the dogs prior to adoption including “Treat for Quiet” training, which teaches dogs how to greet the public as they walk by without barking, and using bio-acoustically designed classical music from “Through a Dog’s Ear” and “Through a Cat’s Ear” to provide daily environmental enrichment.
Yes, there is fun for the felines too -- cats get toys and catnip to play with and cat feather wands are left in the rooms to encourage staff and the public to provide visual enrichment and interaction.
“I am dedicated to providing a safe, clean and enriching environment and my main focus is preparing them for their forever home,” said Bridgeport Chief Animal Control Officer Jennifer Wallace.
The Bridgeport Animal Control facility is the largest municipal animal shelter in the state with the capacity to hold 80 dogs and 50 cats. In the last year, BAC impounded a total of 1,248 animals including dogs, cats and wildlife. During the same time period, BCA found new homes for nearly 600 dogs and cats.