Keeping Tails Wagging

The Coastal Bend Community Foundation funds an exciting new project to help the homeless dogs of the Gulf Coast Humane Society.

By: Kaitlin Calk

One of the most important things we do here at the Gulf Coast Humane Society (GCHS) is keep the hundreds of dogs and cats under our roof healthy and happy while they are waiting to be adopted into a loving forever home. When it comes to our furry friends, some may think healthy and happy go hand-in-hand – if an animal is physically healthy, that animal is happy.

However, a bit more than a clean bill of health is needed to be happy. With an in-house veterinary clinic and a group of wonderful fosters, the physical health aspect is simple enough to maintain. Maintaining happiness in animals, especially those in a shelter environment, is a bit more complicated.

Mental stimulation like walks, playtime at the park, enrichment treats and daily “run” times play a large role in keeping our dogs’ tails wagging. The runs are large, fenced-off areas in which our dogs get to run around off-leash every day. While the runs provide a sense of freedom and let the dogs soak up some sun, which is wonderful, they are pretty basic. Grass, dirt, a tub of water and the occasional tennis ball is about as exciting as the runs get – and frankly, that’s just not very exciting. With a lack of excitement comes unwanted behaviors such as digging, fence fighting, incessant barking and chewing – all signs of distress in dogs.

Not only do these unwanted behaviors signify that a dog is not happy, they also deter potential adopters from making these dogs a part of their family. Even worse, these behaviors can lead to an animal being returned to GCHS if they are discovered after the animal has already been adopted.

Fortunately, we recently received a $5,000 grant from the Coastal Bend Community Foundation to renovate one of our runs! The Coastal Bend Community Foundation was incorporated in 1981 with the mission of enhancing and improving the quality of life in the seven counties of the Coastal Bend. The foundation serves donors by providing a vehicle for the establishment of various types of charitable funds designed to fulfill their wishes. Since its inception, the foundation has distributed more than $93 million from donor contributions and revenues to scholarships to students and grants to nonprofit organizations.

With this generous grant, we plan to enhance one of the runs with agility equipment like an A-frame ramp, large rope toys and balls and even a child’s outdoor playset for the dogs to climb on! All of the dogs at GCHS will take turns playing in this run, and we are so excited to see them explore and interact with these items. We are confident that this renovated run will enable our dogs to have more fun while they wait for their forever homes. This will lead to happier dogs, and happy dogs are adopted more quickly.

We are extremely grateful to the Coastal Bend Community Foundation for providing their support, and we look forward to sharing our progress in this project with everyone.

The Gulf Coast Humane Society is a nonprofit animal shelter located at 3118 Cabaniss Parkway in Corpus Christi, Texas. For more information, call 361-225-0845.

Photo courtesy of GCHS

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