Canine behavior rehabilitation centre
Aiming to transform the adoption process and give fearful dogs a second chance for a better life.
This is our logo and it is represented by Little Mura, one of the first dogs we rescued as a team, and our so much beloved hills where we love to walk the dogs. The logo was done by a lovely couple after we posted an announcement on our Facebook page: they were planning to surprise us with a logo before that, but when they say the announcement they knew it was meant to be. We hope that our logo suggests happiness and opportunities.
I confirm that I am fully aware of the eligibility criteria and terms of the Purina BetterwithPets Prize and, based on its description, I am eligible to apply:
Yes, I’m eligible
Yes, I’m 18 years old or older
Should you be successful, please confirm your availability to attend:
Additional Skype interview(s) during the week of March 16-20th 2020
The Purina BetterwithPets Forum in Paris, on 3-4th of June 2020
Initiative's representative name
Initiative's representative date of birth
Initiative's representative gender
Headquarters location: country
Headquarters location: city
Cluj county, Răscruci village
Where are you making a difference?
Website or social media url(s)
July 2016 and in May 2018 we became a NGO
Enhance physical activity and wellness
Promoting responsible adoption and reintegrating abused dogs in families
What is your current yearly budget for the initiative? If you are an idea stage, what early budget you would need to kick-off and run operations in your first year?
nonprofit/NGO: an organisation that uses its resources to achieve a purpose outside of creating profit
1. Founding story: Share a story about the "Aha!" moment that led the founder(s) to get started or the story of how you saw the potential for this project to succeed.
The Dogs on Hills team is formed by 2 people (Ana and Dora) which met when Dora was looking for a solution to make her rescued senior dog's life better. The dog was called Momo and she was fearful, afraid of people and other dogs. Normal dog training classes were paying off, but Dora knew Momo could do so much more in the little time she had left. This is how she met Ana, who was taking care of 50 dogs in a house outside the city. Most of the dogs were abused, fearful and not ready for a family, but they had so much potential. Ana worked with Momo and Momo transformed herself. After that, Dora joined Ana's dream of a canine behavior rehabilitation centre and Dogs on Hills was born to prove that fearful dogs are not broken.
2. The problem: What problem are you helping to solve?
Many abused dogs live in private and public shelters in Romania - most of them are overlooked and live their entire life closed in a small area, the rest are being promoted for adoption as normal, happy dogs. After families are found for these dogs, most of them don't know how to handle the dogs, so they either abandon their animals or live a stressful life. We want to offer a sustainable solution for both the dogs and the community.
3. Your solution: How are you planning to solve this problem? Share your specific approach.
We are working on creating a canine behavior centre where we could work with fearful dogs through positive reinforcement methods and provide these dogs with a stable, calm environment, and protection from fear triggers which is essential to building confidence and trust for the dog in need. We also want to change the mentality of people who adopt shelter dogs and offer a sustainable solution for the dog abandonment problem. We want to change the now known shelters where dogs are kept in kennels and feed while people think that is wonderful and enough. For this, we started building inside individual spaces for dogs where we can spend quality time with the dogs and we aim to also build separate outdoor / indoor spaces where we could socialize dogs taking into consideration
how they interact with each other and the environment (spaces that reproduce day to day life scenarios). In parallel, we promote our dogs for adoption by giving all details required and we offer support for the people interested in adopting them. This is not our daily job, but our passion and we do it volunteer.
4. Innovation: How are you innovating or using unique approaches to solve the problem?
We want to change the now known shelters where dogs are kept in kennels and feed while people think that is wonderful and enough. These shelters create the fake idea that these dogs are safe when instead dogs suffer from abuse or neglect and when they get adopted they are afraid of everything new around them. We aim to solve this problem by working with the fearful dogs in our care until they become adoptable and then promote them for adoption and offer all information before a decision is made. We also offer advice and support after a dog is adopted so both people and dogs live a happy - balanced life.
5. How does your project harness the pet-human bond to help people develop important social competencies (For example: emotional intelligence, collaboration, empathy, resilience, inclusivity) and overcome serious societal issues (for example: violence, abuse, trauma, isolation, abandonment)?
Our motto is fearful dogs are not broken and by doing what we do we try to make people understand that they need to put in a lot of work to have the ideal relationship with their dog: they need to invest to see results. We are also trying to bring into the spot light the fearful dogs, the dogs which suffered not only from physical attacks or punishment, but from neglect, inappropriate or lack of socialization. By working with them and explaining step by step what their problems are and what the solution is we hope to make more people understand that depriving a young dog of its mother through too-early weaning, chaining or tying up a dog; forcing him to spend most of his time in a kennel or cage; making
him live outside, away from his human family, depriving a dog of daily walks and interaction with different situations are also forms of abuse and can and will harm the dog - human relationship.
6. Impact: how has your project made a difference so far in terms of both business outputs and social impact? How do you plan on measuring progress?
We measure our impact by the number of dogs reintegrated into families and by people who call or ask for advice. Each and every adoption has a story behind, a story which motivates other people. We manage to do these activities thanks to the donations we receive and we receive most donations from people who adopt from us and then support us, from people who come and do volunteer work for us, from people who know us and recommend us to more and more people. We are a small community and we plan to measure our success by the number of dogs we manage to reintegrate into the society,
7. Growth strategies: what are your main strategies for scaling your impact?
We would love to implement educational programs, to be able to make spay and inform campaigns, participate to events and improve and enlarge the dog sanctuary we have.
8. Creating shared value: How does your initiative create value for different stakeholders?
On the long term, it is much more wisely to invest in rehabilitating the dogs, informing people about canine behavior rehabilitation and working on creating a sustainable solution for both the dogs and the community. Also financially wise is better to invest in rehabilitating a dog and faster promote it for adoption than keeping the dog in a shelter and spending money on accommodation, food, treatments, or solve behavior problems that an already adopted dog has than to ignore the situation and prolong the suffering and distress on either part. Prevent abandonment and human/ dog misunderstandings.
9. Financial sustainability plan: can you tell us about your plan to fund your project and how that plan will be sustainable in the short, medium, and long term?
On the short term, we rely on donations. On the medium term, we want to implement an adoption fee, which in Romania doesn't exist at the moment and put a fee on the services we offer. On the long term, we want to apply for funds and find financing for our projects.
10. Team: what is the current composition of your team (types of roles, qualifications, full-time vs. part-time, board members, etc.), and how do you plan to evolve the team’s composition as the project grows?
We are two people which do this besides our daily jobs. Ana is a vet tech and Dora works for an IT company. We are hoping that as the project grows, we will make Dogs on Hills our daily job and slowly increase the team.
11. How do you plan to influence your field of work if you are a winner of this edition of the Purina BetterwithPets Prize?
This would be an amazing opportunity to reinforce the idea that fearful dogs are not broken and that they can be reintegrated in families and live a normal life.
12. How did you hear about this challenge?