In mid-June, Aimee Sadler, founder and CEO of Dogs Playing For Life™, brought her training program to Rochester to provide a 5-day refresher on the core principles, basic guidelines, handling techniques, use of communication tools, safety, and other components of dog playgroups for animal shelters. The training sessions were attended by Animal Services staff and volunteers and intended as remedial training for individuals already involved with playgroups, fundamental training for others who have been involved but without such formal instruction, and as an introduction for those who have not been involved directly. We are working on a comprehensive summary of what we learned and what recommendations we intend to incorporate.
That summary should be out in the next few weeks as we review the follow-up report from Aimee Sadler herself and discuss our plan for implementing recommendations. In the meantime, I wanted to let our supporters know that Ms. Sadler’s visit was a productive one and that our organization will be improved because of it.
Dog playgroups are an integral part of our Enrichment Program. The plan has always been to run playgroups on a daily basis and we are actively working on making the adjustments necessary to make that a reality. Volunteers will continue to lead playgroups as frequently as schedules allow. Employees will continue their training on DPFL™ and be included in playgroup sessions with volunteers whenever possible. We hope to commence daily playgroups during July.
Thank you to everyone who helped with and/or attended the workshop. I learned a lot myself and recognize that observing Ms. Sadler in action and obtaining her direct instruction and feedback was critical to understanding the complexities of playgroups and our role in allowing dogs to benefit from such enrichment.
Christopher S. Fitzgerald
Director of Animal Services
184 Verona Street
Rochester, New York 14608