Yorktown Heights location only
Kennel enrichment is the practice of providing animals under managed care with environmental stimuli. This practice ensures a positive, enjoyable kennel experience for the dogs. Any novel stimulus which evokes an animal’s interest can be considered enriching:
- Scents, visual movement, natural and artificial objects
- Novel food and different methods of preparing food (such as puzzles and food toys)
- Different textures and surfaces
Guiding Eyes has an extensive Kennel Enrichment Program. Our nurturing staff and volunteers provide a healthy combination of exercise and rest to stimulate our dogs’ minds. Our program is designed to provide an inviting kennel environment – enhancing the dogs’ lives and preventing stress during this important training period.
Kennel volunteers will spend the majority of their time cleaning the kennels and equipment and assisting the staff in other duties. Volunteers are offered the opportunity to specialize in one particular enrichment area and will receive additional training to perform the required tasks for that area.
Staff or volunteers spend quality alone time with a dog in his or her run. Sitting in a low beach chair, they can groom, use toys or simply cuddle with the dog. This creates a more relaxing atmosphere where the dog is not being asked to do anything except be a dog. This exercise also helps the dog view his/her run as a positive environment.
We use massage therapy to enhance the health and well-being of our very special dogs. Staff and volunteers spend 15 minutes massaging a dog in our specially designed massage room equipped with ambient lighting, aroma therapy, soothing music and plush dog beds. Massage helps the dogs relax and become more comfortable being touched.
Staff or volunteers take retired or released dogs on leisurely walks along the campus nature path. These walks provide the dogs with time away from the kennel to relax and unwind outdoors. Dog walking volunteers must have experience handling and walking large dogs.
Staff or volunteers brush, bathe and dry select dogs in our washing facility. Dog bathers must be able to sit, stand and bend for at least 30 minutes at a time.
Volunteers can participate in playtime once they have volunteered at our campus in an alternate position and have been approved by the staff. Playtime volunteers take individual dogs into one of our outdoor community runs. Here the dogs have various toys to play with, including pools and ice toys in the summer months. Volunteers also have the option to use our turf Planet Dog run where the dogs can stretch their legs, play a game of fetch or enjoy one on one interaction in an outdoor environment.
All potential volunteers must complete a volunteer application and undergo a screening, training and evaluation process prior to placement. Additionally, volunteers are required to adhere to a code of conduct indicating that they will uphold the highest standard of professional conduct while volunteering with Guiding Eyes for the Blind.