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The Idaho Humane Society has several life-saving programs in place to help prepare animals for adoption. Those include the IDAPI and WISKR partnerships with the Idaho Department of Correction, which bring shelter animals into correctional facilities for around-the-clock care, training and socialization by inmates. IHS also assists animals from overcrowded shelters in other communities and ensures that every pet in its care receives plenty of mental and physical activity on a daily basis.
You can read more about each of the programs below.
The Inmate Dog Alliance Project of Idaho (IDAPI) program is a community partnership of the Idaho Humane Society and Idaho Department of Correction. IDAPI places shelter dogs in cell blocks of Idaho correctional facilities for two-month periods, during which inmates care for them and train them using positive reinforcement techniques.
The Women Inmate Social Kitty Retreat (WISKR) program brings sick cats and young kittens into a tier of the South Boise Women’s Correctional Center for around-the-clock care by inmates. WISKR participants have assisted with a range of cases, but they most frequently work with cats recovering from upper respiratory infections, mother cats and their babies, and orphaned kittens that need bottle feeding.
This is particularly important during the spring and summer season when the Idaho Humane Society can easily see more than 100 cats come through its doors in one week. Sending cats into the correctional center to receive the attention they need to become healthy, socialized and ready for their forever homes helps free up space in the shelter and in the homes of other foster families to help even more cats.
Since WISKR launched in January 2016 with assistance from a Best Friends Animal Society grant, it has helped the Idaho Humane Society save hundreds of cats. It has also increased morale in the correctional center and encouraged collaboration among the inmates. As with IDAPI, the WISKR program teaches inmates responsibility, patience, tolerance, persistence, and empathy.
Want more information about WISKR? Contact WISKR@idahohumanesociety.org
Our employees and volunteers work together to ensure that shelter animals receive plenty of physical and mental stimulation on a daily basis. Enrichment is important because a shelter is an unnatural environment for any animal. It’s easy for pets of all kinds to get frustrated and stressed when they are spending the majority of their day in a kennel. And that’s problematic because bored, annoyed animals are more likely to misbehave and scare potential adopters away – which, of course, means they could end up spending even more time waiting for a forever home.
Kennel enrichment is all about creating productive experiences for animals at the shelter, and variety is a key component of that – the goal is for every IHS resident to receive a range of enrichment each day. For dogs, that can include an hour in playgroups with fellow canines; clicker training with a staff member or volunteer; a meal served in a puzzle feeder or a Kong stuffed with peanut butter and treats; and even a cat blanket to sniff – all of which activate different parts of the brain. Puzzle feeders and clicker training are wonderful for shelter cats as well, in addition to catnip or a toy covered in a prey scent. The cattery decorations change over frequently not just for the sake of customers but to give our feline residents interesting things to look at while waiting in their kennels.
Are you interested in assisting with our kennel enrichment program? IHS volunteers can take a class specific to the subject and help out by prepping puzzle feeders, running playgroups, distributing catnip or toys, rewarding desirable behaviors with clickers and treats, and more! You can learn more about becoming a volunteer and fill out an application here.
Thanks to years of community education about spaying or neutering and the importance of adoption, we have continued to see a decline in the number of homeless pets coming through our doors. That means we are increasingly able to help animals in difficult situations elsewhere. We transfer in dogs and occasionally even cats from other Idaho shelters on an almost weekly basis and routinely assist out-of-state shelters as well. We work closely with the nonprofit Dog Is My CoPilot for many of those transfers from farther locations.
If you are interested in arranging a transfer with the Idaho Humane Society, please contact Dee Dee at firstname.lastname@example.org.