Virtual Grant Offers Real Opportunities

We were surprised and pleased to learn this month that National Pyr Rescue (NGPR) is the recipient of an $8,000 program grant from PEDIGREE Foundation. The grant will help increase dog adoption rates through social media programs, specifically our weekly Saturday Facebook broadcast. The show highlights adoptable dogs, desseminates breed information and provides training tips for current and future adopters. The grant includes equipment, a promotional budget and funding for training.

Operations Manager Teresa LaMarche wrote the grant with Training Mananger Steve Kalko in the Spring.  When the grant was written, it was too early to fully understand the huge impact that "going virtual" would have on our lives but we already knew this was the direction we wanted to go in. NGPR began using virtual technology in January 2017.

We wanted to communicate better with potential adopters and showcase adoptable dogs on Facebook. The broadcast began at our old kennel space in Springfield Ohio but implementing Streamyard technology earlier this year provided a huge leap in our capabilities. It allowed us to start featuring dogs in multiple locations. Suddenly we could be in fosters' homes all over the country, watching them interact with the dogs and giving potential adopters the opportunity to meet them virtually.  When we vacated the kennel space in September, the weekly broadcast became more important than ever, bringing rescuers, trainers, fosters and potential adopters together under one big virtual tent. Rachel Huffman, Steve's sidekick appears weekly and NGPR's Development Director, Sharon Wiesenhahn also appears on the show regularly. Roman Gottfried of Roman's Holistic Dog Training joined the broadcast this fall, with a weekly "Ask the Trainer" segment where people can submit questions in advance and have them answered on the show.

As we come to appreciate our dogs' company more, there is growing interest in learning more about their behavior, going beyond basic dog training. Our most recent Google search results show that our page is one of our most popular pages, second only to in the number of clicks it receives.  We get many calls, emails and Facebook messages about training issues as people struggle with how to manage human/pet interactions. The grant allows us to use technology to assess dogs who are having behavioral issues to better advise owners how to work with them. 

Steve understands this and says "People look to us for guidance every day on how to understand and work with their Great Pyrenees dogs. This grant increases our capacity to allow potential adopters to virtually meet dogs hundreds of miles away, as well as allowing us to offer remote behavioral assistance.  Behavioral issues are one of the most common reasons dogs get surrendered and this grant helps us assess dogs’ behavior in their home environments.”

We are excited that the PEDIGREE Foundation grant will increase our ability to reach more dog owners, help us share vital information about the breed and increase general knowledge about people's relationship with their dogs.