Kokomo Humane Society

Kokomo Humane Society Playgroup Dogs
All photos courtesy of Kokomo Humane Society.

In July 2017, Dogs Playing for Life visited Kokomo Humane Society to implement our Every Dog, Every Day! Seminar to teach them how to enrich the lives of their dogs by running daily playgroups. Since then, we’ve helped them become bonafide playgroup rockstars!


In a recent article by the Kokomo Tribune, Kokomo Humane Society Head of Behavior and Medical, Marissa Shoffner, had this (and much more) to say about the merits of the program:

When Motown came in, he didn’t do well with other dogs,” she said. “That’s a lot different now. That one over there by the gate, she couldn’t even be touched when she came here. El Toro, he was scared of other dogs when he came here, and now he’s one of our assessor dogs. These dogs, I can’t say enough about them. They just need a second chance” (source.)

“Playgroups have encouraged change throughout our shelter. Not only is our Live Release Rate increasing but the overall morale of the shelter has improved.

Staff members and volunteers feel more comfortable getting to know the dogs and spending time with them. We have been able to start new programs like a large dog foster program, Pack Walks, and Dog Day Out due to the increased knowledge that we have of the dogs. ​

We also transfer in dogs from a shelter that struggles to handle more difficult dogs. Usually, after a few days of adjusting to the routine, and playgroups we see a huge change in the dogs. Usually enough change to lessen their adoption restrictions. ​

Playgroups are our main form of assessment for the dogs, followed by a form of a tug test for those dogs we need to learn more about. We have finally reached a point where anyone handling the dogs does a kennel routine and uses the appropriate equipment. We have done this by training our employees through playgroups. This plays a huge role in our success.”​

Kokomo Humane Society Playgroup Shelter Dogs


8 %

increase in the Canine Live Release Rate

95 %

of the canine population participates in playgroups 6 days/week

27 %

increase in the overall Live Release Rate*

*Live Release Rate is calculated by dividing total live outcomes (adoptions, outgoing transfers, and return to owner/guardian) by total outcomes.

Dogs live to play, now let them play to live. 


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