The ASV Guidelines in Real Life
Serving Up Enrichment to the Dogs at the Austin Humane Society
In 2010, the Association of Shelter Veterinarians (ASV) released a document several years in the making: Guidelines for Standards of Care in Animal Shelters. Developed by a roster of veterinary experts, the standards are designed to “balance animal welfare science with practical and realistic recommendations for shelters,” and to provide a vision based on the needs of animals, which, the authors noted, remain the same regardless of how individual organizations’ missions and resources may differ. Here, we feature the second in a series of stories using real-life shelter examples to demonstrate how the ASV standards can be applied within the sheltering and rescue field to create better and more humane outcomes for the creatures we care for.
When you walk into the dog adoptions area at the Austin Humane Society (AHS) these days, you may notice a funny sound. If you’ve spent too much time in dog kennels, you may find this sound mysterious, and try to remember when you last heard it—or more specifically, didn’t hear it.
It is quiet. Nobody is barking. Almost every dog is sitting on their behind, looking at you expectantly.
This is a pleasant environment for humans and dogs. There are no discombobulated visitors, reeling back after approaching a dog’s kennel and being sprayed with water, or worse, from the flailing happy paws and other enthusiasms on the opposite side of the enclosure door. No one has their hands over their ears.
Many shelters’ dog areas are deafening. Why is this so different? Could it be possible there are only well-behaved dogs in Austin, Texas?