Dr Graham, Chicago, Elvis discussed on Let's Talk Pets
Hail from the animal humane society located in Saint Paul Minnesota. So I that we're to give pause and applause to Dr Graham Brayshaw he is the chief of veterinarian at this shelter and director of animal services. Can I just say welcome, Dr Graham, thank you for having me. I really appreciate the time to be on your show. All right. And joining him is live Hagen. Now. I gotta say I love your background live. You are currently the behavior modification and rehabilitation manager shoe at the animal humane society, but life for you has literally been a zoo you've been a trainer at Susan Memphis in Chicago, right? Yes. Yes. It definitely has. So that was kind of my past life. Was working in the zoo failed. So I started off as a marine mammal trainer in Chicago. I work with dolphins seals and sea lions. And then I spent a couple of years down in Memphis where I continued to work with sea lions and also worked with a variety of large carnivores, so bears wolves and some birds and a variety of animals any of them named Elvis it didn't work with any named Elvis. No, okay. I didn't know if Elvis left the pool. Okay. All right. So we're here today because a fellow member of cat writers named Mary tan reached out to me and said, you gotta check out what's going on at the animal humane society and Minnesota, and I'm like what? So I'm gonna let you start Dr Graham now people have a vision of what an animal shelter looks like particularly where you how's the dogs? But you guys decided to to be a little more creative. Yep. We're really trying to take a deep put a great a new look at how we how dogs and shelter. If you look at most shelters and honesty, you look at the majority of. Of of our shelters are dog space. It was all designed of how do you fit the most dogs into the smallest space possible to be able to house as many as he can? And then try and find homes for them. And while it is incredibly efficient when it comes to space. It's really not good when it comes to dogs and dogs trying to show their natural behaviors and dogs really trying to be themselves. So the the twist for taking on what we're looking at. It is how can you house dogs where they can basically be themselves or as close themselves as they can while they're in shelter dogs when they're in are they almost always will degrade over time their captain, usually it's a relatively small run. They get out some but most their time has been closed up they won interact with other dogs, but there's bears between them often to try and prevent disease transmission or just to make sure that there's no fighting, and it really takes toll on them, and we're trying to get to where the shelter stay. As is as close to a homestay homes are still the best. A place for these guys. But we want their time with us to be as good as possible. Well, that sounds good. You've touched a little bit about some of the, you know, health decline that can happen in if I could live what about the behavior aspect because these are social beings that you know, like the hang out, but as Dr Graham, so well put you don't wanna have dogfight. But on the other hand, there's a balance, right? Yeah. Absolutely. And so that social piece is something that dogs really miss out on in the shelter environment. And so we do really good job of providing food water shelter. Our veterinary team is really awesome. They do a super job on the medical side of things, but that ability to express normal behavior and reduce a lot of those stressful or anxiety behaviors that we see happen when dogs can hear and smell things going on but not see or interact with their environment. That's one of our freedoms that this new initiative touches honor those freedoms to express normal behavior and freedom from fear and distress, and we. We've done that accomplish that through this group housing prototype where dogs can actually interact then in a social environment. And I feel like I'm you guys are both on stage at the Academy Awards site. Do want to make sure that you acknowledge you have a CEO named Giral Dixon and a project manager for this and Johnson, did I do good for you. Both Gino is tells the one who be set this vision where we're going too and keeps us going. We're on track. If we get skewed a little way one way or the other. She puts us back on track very nicely and Johnson is the one that makes the really just makes it all work. You know, make sure that literally the right lights are on that everything is kept clean everything. She's not scrubbing cleaning much yourself. But making sure that everything really is moving in the right direction. Heck even on whites. We we do have three or four different banks the lights in there that we are testing out to find out the right kind of lighting for these dogs to see what really is the the best thing for their stay. Well, I do want folks to go to the animal. Humane society that Oregon you guys can check out some stuff, and you do have a publication. I'm looking at that just in your recent issue. I guess you you did profile. What's going on? Is there a Facebook page to we can assure our listeners. Oh, definitely there is a just look up animal humane society in Facebook, and we will be right there. All right and. You know, about animal humane society. I was like, wow one hundred and forty years. Plus, that's one of the oldest shelters, isn't it in the country. Don't know what the oldest shelter is out there. But yeah, no, we've been going since the late eighteen hundreds it it started with mostly horses and actually worked with kids has slightly evolved over the years to get to where it's mostly dogs and cats, but quite a few different companion animals cutting through as well. Well, I'm just trying to compute that in dog years, and I just can't go up that high, but you've been at the place awhile, right? Dr ram started in in two thousand twelve so not not too long. Al's been doing animal welfare for twenty thirty years. There's definitely people that put me to shame when it comes to long-term. But I've been here a good while what makes you say. Hey, I wanna do shelter medicine versus a family practice. I have my years in practice. I really enjoyed private practice, but it is very much one on one and the real limit of what you can do in private practice is the resources of that owner how much they have available to provide care for their animals in shelter. You are you're beholden to your organization in yourself. But really you are your own boss when it comes to how much you're trying to do with each animal. The great thing is if I find some way to cut a corner and make sure they get good care, but save a few bucks. Those few bucks goes right towards the care of the next animal so incredibly rewarding and let you talked about the fact that you know, in most shelters dogs waiting for their forever. Home are able to hear and smell to very very powerful. Senses. But. But they're not able to touch our see each other. What's going on here at the animal humane society? That's that's pulling back the curtain if you will in a safe way. Yeah. So what we have developed in. We're calling it a prototype because it is still in its testing. Phase. We're learning a whole lot from it to make sure that both people and animals are getting the most benefit out of it. And so what we have is a space where there's a common area, and then we have six different runs that. So we can accommodate up to six dogs in this housing prototype. And so at night for feeding and overnight when there is an attendant and the common area the dog spend the night then in their individual runs. But during the day, the dogs are out in the common area interacting with each other playing resting being enriched altogether. And so they can really they take social cues from each other. They can express those social behaviors when they're out in that common area that interacting with people. We have customers go in and interact with the dogs as well. And so. It's a much more enriching experience and much more enriching environment, and they can express social behaviors then because they're out all hanging out with each other throughout the day. So if I have a dog at home, this is a good way a litmus test if you will to see how this potential adoptee will do in my home because I'm getting to see firsthand how this dog gets along with two three and four leaguers. Yes, absolutely. It's a great way for potential adopters to see their potential new family member in a situation with other dogs in a social situation. Now, it's also really important that we're acknowledging that this environment isn't right for all dogs, and their stocks that are going to be successful in social environments with other dogs that art currently being housed in the habitat. And that's okay. Sometimes the environment is just not quite right for some dogs. And so we really want doctors to know that just because the dog isn't in the participating in the group housing doesn't mean they're not going to be a good fit for their household or they're not going to be a good fit for a social situation with other. But on the flip side of that. It is a really great way to see potential new family members interacting with other dogs. And Dr Graham, how long is this prototype than being tested, and what are some of the things you do to reduce any risk of any disease spreading, and or you know, having a dog bite another dog. I know we got rolling in early March and just past few weeks, we fully opened it up. Meaning that we have doctors in they're doing visitations in the habitat. So we've progressed over the past few months to really have it fully functional disease. Transmission wise, disease transmission in any sort of high density environments in a hospital in shelter even dog kennel. We know from previous research done. It's actually not the visitors and often not even just the animals themselves that actually transmit disease between each other. It's usually usually the staff are usually things water bowl things like that. I love the term. It's called the might as just one of my. I'm not a great worry probably fail spelling bee's. Oh, can you spell that? For us. F O M I T. Nice and simple. Dispel, it's. But it is it is whatever can carry some contagion. So a water bowl can be a foe might the carries a contagion for one dog to another. But what we found is that really having these dogs together does not significantly increase the risk of disease transmission. And this is our preliminary approach we will definitely build good metrics into its study at down the road to ensure that what we're seeing right now is it is true is validated. But there's also the stress side of things..