In great news for pound puppies everywhere, the ASPCA has opened the U.S.’ first dog Behavioral Rehabilitation Center. Located in Madison, N.J., the facility aims to help rescued dogs overcome mainly fear- and anxiety-related behavioral issues. Not only will the rehab center help pets find forever homes, it will also conduct important research on animal behavior.
The rehabilitation program works with a team of 10 people, including two behavior experts from St. Hubert’s Animal Welfare Center, where the facility is housed. Volunteers and staff will take charge of day-to-day tasks with the animals. After completing the Behavioral Rehabilitation Center’s program, rescued dogs will return to an animal shelter for placement in a forever home. Part of the ASPCA’s program involves following up with the pets, ensuring the animals’ recovery is successful.
“If they are hiding in the back of the cage and they are fearful, No. 1, they don’t have a good quality of life and, No. 2, they are not going to be selected for adoption and when they go home, they are not really prepared to be the family pet that adopters seek, so this is just a win-all-around,” says ASPCA President and CEO Heather Cammisa.
The ASPCA’s Behavioral Rehabilitation Center will take in shelter dogs from around the counter, along with rescues. Pets from puppy mills and hoarders will be the main beneficiaries, as they are more likely to suffer from fear and anxiety. The facility’s first dogs are due to arrive in a few days from shelters in the Pacific Northwest.
The ASPCA’s project is scheduled to take two years and handle around 400 dogs during its duration. Although the facility won’t directly have widespread impact on rescued dogs, it could lead to new methods of easing fear and anxiety in neglected animals.