Rescue Village implemented its behavioral health program as part of its clinical department in 2022.
Rescue Village strongly believes that improved behavioral health has the potential to advance the quality of life for animals and prevent future instances of animal cruelty and neglect in shelter animals’ lives. Behavioral health is a critical factor in helping rescued animals succeed in their future homes, and Rescue Village is committed to making a difference for its animals in this area.
Medical and behavioral issues in animals are often intertwined, and applying a medical lens to behavior provides structure for appropriate intervention and helps to inform decision-making. when behavioral issues are not directly connected to a medical issue, a clinical approach gives structure to a behavioral health program and helps to inform decision-making around appropriate interventions based on documented patterns of behavior by both medical and animal care staff.
Behavioral Health Program Goals:
- Decrease stress among animals in our care, resulting in improved behavior
- Shorter lengths of stay
- Decrease illness in shelter animals
The behavioral health program at Rescue Village has shown early indicators of success:
- Improved individual and overall behavior (e.g., reduced reactivity, aggression, and/or resourceguarding)
- Improved kennel presence (e.g., ability to sit and remain calm as staff, volunteers, and potential
adopters approach kennels, and reduced jumping/rushing the door)
- Decreased reliance on medication intervention to manage behavior
- Increased ability to make evidence-based, medically informed decisions about euthanasia for
severe and irreversible behavioral issues.
The Behavioral Health Program is a collaborative approach between medical and behavioral programs with shelter staff to carryout daily and weekly applications of enrichment, clicker training, and playgroups with shelter animals.