As many people know, we purchased a property in Wheatfield that did not work out for us. Consequently, we are searching for a new home we are confident we will find. Meanwhile, this experience taught us that there are many misconceptions about the project that we want to address.
One of the most frequent concerns of people regarding living near a senior dog sanctuary is their fear of endless barking. I currently live with five old dogs. Do they bark? Twice a day at mealtimes for about a minute when I am on one side of the door pouring out the food, and they are on the other. Other than that, they bark if someone rings my doorbell. And again, for a minute or two.
These are old dogs, and they mostly sleep.
Our dogs at the sanctuary will not be separated from one another. Dogs that are housed separately in kennel situations experience stress for many reasons, and stress can lead to excessive barking.
Here are two quotes from two separate articles our intrepid volunteer, Joe Fecio, was able to find for us:
“Cohabitation is another way to reduce both noise and stress. Dogs housed in social groups vocalize less, sleep more and show fewer abnormal behaviors. Cohabitation has worked well in both Germany and Japan, but it is slow to catch on in the US.
A common noise problem in shelters occurs when dogs are placed in gated kennels along the perimeter of a large room. The dogs receive negative stimulation when they see other dogs, especially when they see other dogs receiving attention.”
– Crista Coppola, Adjunct Instructor in Veterinary Medicine
“Keeping dogs in groups leads to a significant reduction in noise emissions.”
– Petra Mertens and Jay Unshelm, ‘Effects of group and individual housing on the behavior of kenneled dogs in shelters.’
Our dogs will not be running free. When outdoors, they will be safely behind fences or at the end of leashes. Unlike young, exuberant dogs, these guys will mostly be lying around and content to have their ears rubbed. They will be indoors at night, behind sound-proofed walls. (And despite comments to the contrary, you really can sound-proof spaces. I know. I lived on top of a recording studio in my youth!
And a last but not insignificant component, I will be living on the premises, which means I will be right there to intervene should someone’s barking get out of control.
My pledge to you – White Whiskers will be a good neighbor. We will maintain a clean and litter-free property. We will keep our doors open to interested parties who will be able to stop in and see what we are about. We will maintain an open dialog with the residents of our community and work to resolve any problems or issues that arise.
We want to be loved – just like our dogs – and we will work hard to make that happen!