Thinking of adopting? While you’re on the Ontario SPCA and Humane Society’s Animal Adoption page, you’ll notice that some of the animals are marked with a “VIP” status. This stands for Very Important Paws, and these are animals in our care who may need a little extra help. These furry friends are often located at the Ontario SPCA’s new Provincial Dog Rehabilitation Centre in Peterborough, which is now operational.
Who are the VIPs?
Animals with a VIP designation could include a puppy who needs help learning new behaviours and getting acquainted with the world around them, an adolescent dog going through the terrible teens, or an adult buddy who may be unsure of new and difficult changes in their lives.
Feline friends are also a part of the program, as animal centre settings can be a difficult adjustment for cats.
Once they are ready to find a home, they are matched with families who will continue their training and can give them the extra love that they need to thrive in their new home.
Why do some dogs need extra training?
There are as many reasons as there are dogs. Here are a few:
- Trust issues or lack socialization
- Fear based reactivity and aggression
- Trauma that results in high fear, anxiety and stress responses
- Frustration based behaviours
- Puppies who need basic training and socialization.
Our animal behaviour team creates an individualized plan for each dog, depending on their needs. The plans are created to build trust, overcome challenges and implement appropriate enrichment and socialization.
At the newly opened Provincial Dog Rehabilitation Centre in Peterborough, there are also resources such as an underwater treadmill for enrichment and low impact exercise and the Arlo Gattuso-Slaight Dog Living Room to help dogs practice living in a home environment. The centre also has additional rooms for training and enrichment and dedicated animal behaviour experts who use evidence-based techniques to help dogs develop appropriate behaviours.
Could you be the VIP (very important person) in an animal’s life?
A VIP might be the perfect companion for you if you have the time, patience and heart to show these animals that life can be happier than they’ve ever imagined. When you adopt one of these very special animals, we’ll make sure you have everything you need, including one-on-one support from an animal behaviour coordinator.
The most important thing you’ll receive, of course, is the love and devotion of a dog or cat who is eager to embrace his/her best life. Our goal is to empower new adopters to set their buddies up for a long, happy life.
Interested in adopting?
Meet our VIPs available for adoption. There may be one there who’s been waiting just for you.
To learn more about the Ontario SPCA Provincial Dog Rehabilitation Centre, visit ontariospca.ca/dogrehab