All shelter dogs want is a place to call home.
It’s a simple gesture, but the concept is one that most shelters don’t have the space or resources like Toledo Area Humane Society did to build a special room for its residents. Shelter life can be extremely lonely and stressful, which is why the shelter put together the room so that the dogs could visit it and relax.
The facility calls the space the “Real Life Room” because it simulates just that: what a dog’s life should be like in the real world. They should be at home, with furniture and people that they’re used to and who love them unconditionally. For whatever reason, they are instead stuck at the shelter waiting for their forever homes.
“We basically took an office here and turned it into a living room,” a shelter staffer told The Dodo. “We have a recliner, a rug, some pillows and a TV. One of the best things is the lamp we put in there. That means we can turn off the florescent lights and have more soothing lighting in the room.”
What’s great about the room is that there’s nothing particularly special about it. It’s just like a normal living room, but what’s truly special about it is that so many different dogs can call it their temporary home and that the humans working at the shelter loved them enough to create it for them.
Many animals find it difficult, even impossible, to adapt to life in a shelter. Not only are they confined behind bars, but they get little time outside of their kennel, only a little space to themselves that they usually are forced to share, they must deal with constant barking around them or are so stressed that they themselves continuously bark, and people they don’t know are constantly walking by.
Their stress can even make it even harder for them to get adopted. When animals are anxious, and not in a place that they feel safe, they often act differently than they would if they were in a home. That’s why the staffer also said,
“We get a better picture of how these dogs will actually act in a home. That gives us a better sense of the type of personality the dog has.”
The Real Life Room opened just under a month ago and it has been met with praise and success. This is likely because the room truly does relax the dogs enough for others to see their real personality. It helps them stand out amongst the other dogs in the shelter.
“We’ve had several animals that had just been in there, then got adopted shortly after walking out. It’s amazing. We’re so happy to have this room.”
Toledo Area Humane Society isn’t the first shelter to open up a room similar to this, and it would be great if they weren’t the last. Even if the room didn’t have the added benefit of helping dogs get adopted, the reward lies truly in each dog’s ability to relax in a quiet, comfortable space for just a little while.
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