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Improving Lives


Unleashing Joy: A Dive Into Pet Enrichment

By Steph Baigent, Associated Director of the Animal Experience at Foothills Animal Shelter

Enrichment isn’t just about keeping animals occupied; it’s about igniting joy, stimulating minds, and creating fulfilling experiences. At Foothills, we understand the vital role enrichment plays in the well-being of our Shelter animals.

Our approach to enrichment is deeply rooted in observation—we don’t believe in a one-size-fits-all solution. Instead, our Behavior Team keenly observes each animal to understand their preferences and interests. Do they relish solo play, or thrive in social interactions? Are they food motivated or more inclined towards toys? These insights guide us in crafting activities that truly resonate with them. If we provided the same activities to each dog or cat regardless of their preferences, we’d risk introducing unnecessary frustration in what is already a stressful environment for many of these animals.

Enrichment doesn’t have to break the bank either. We embrace cost-effective ideas like egg carton treat puzzles, homemade cardboard treat boxes, and recycled materials turned into interactive toys. It’s all about creativity and ingenuity. You’ll be surprised how easy it is to find activities when you start looking at your recycling bin as enrichment options!

At Foothills, enrichment isn’t just a program; it’s a philosophy woven into every interaction. It’s about listening to our animals, understanding their needs, and sparking joy in their lives.

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