Thanks to a local Boy Scout troop, the dogs at Second Chance Center for Animals can now let out some energy and build confidence in the shelter’s own backyard.
When Anthony Violissi of troop #7033 approached SCCA looking for a project, they tasked his troop to build a confidence training park for the dogs temporarily staying the shelter.
Mark Markussen, the adoptions and outreach manager at Second Chance, designed the course to be similar to the one set up in Bushmaster Park – which he designed for the City.
“I set it up so that any dog can complete the course,” Markussen said. “There are a few more difficult obstacles, but they’re all modifiable so that even a small dog, for instance, can get over everything. We use it particularly for dogs that have less confidence.”
Violissi found different donors to provide all of the supplies and materials needed to create the park. Then, he and his scout troop went out to the shelter for two days and constructed the course.
Mark was impressed with Violissi’s drive and leadership skills.
“Anthony was the lead guy and he learned a lot about leading,” Markussen said. “It was really cool to watch him figure out what he needed to do over the two days. I think the rest of the scouts really got some good work ethic out of it. They all stayed focused and got everything done and stayed on schedule. It was awesome.”
Markussen explained that Second Chance’s goal is to take care of the body, mind, heart and spirit of all of the animals that come in to their facility. The confidence course helps stimulate the dogs’ minds, keeps their bodies strong and their spirit high.
“Most shelters can only focus on Body – which is survival,” Markussen said. “We take it a step further by having a behavioral department so we can also focus on Mind, Heart and Spirit. We think about mind by actually giving them adoptable behaviors. Socially, they get play time together. They also get to interact with people. And finally, Spirit. Most dogs come here with an unbroken spirit and it’s up to us to not break that spirit. We need to make sure their lives are enriched while they’re here.”
To learn more about Second Chance Center for Animals, visit their website: secondchancecenter.org.