by Miranda Curry
Living Free Animal Sanctuary Shares Tips to Help Enrich Your Pet’s Life
At Living Free Animal Sanctuary, our mission extends far beyond simply providing a safe haven for rescue dogs and cats. We are passionately committed to enhancing the lives of our four-legged residents through a variety of activities designed to stimulate their minds, foster socialization, and promote play.
We aim to empower pet owners by introducing them to innovative forms of enrichment that seamlessly integrate into their daily routines, fostering happier and healthier bonds with their beloved pets. In this article, we delve into the wide array of enrichment activities our sanctuary offers—all of which are available to you, to incorporate into your own pet’s daily routine.
Julia and Nero
Enrichment For the Dogs of Living Free
Basic training goes beyond tricks—it’s about stimulating a pet’s mind and strengthening their bonds. For instance, leash training promotes good behavior and safe exploration, opening up a whole new world to a dog.
Quartz enjoys agility training LIVING FREE ANIMAL SANCTUARY
Agility training, a recent addition at Living Free, has been a hit among our dogs. It challenges them mentally and physically, fostering problem-solving skills and teamwork with their caregivers. For high-energy and intelligent dogs like Quartz (left), agility training transformed her to a pup who can navigate the course based on voice commands alone.
Lemming LIVING FREE ANIMAL SANCTUARY
Socialization refers to both human and animal interactions, and it is a cornerstone of all our lives. Socialization is good for a rescue dog’s mental health. Not only that, but companionship and playtime can also increase a rescue dog’s opportunities for adoption. These friendships provide a strong foundation of support and significantly enhance a rescue dog’s overall well-being. Rescue dogs Julia and Nero (left) love their playtime together rolling around in the grass.
LIVING FREE ANIMAL SANCTUARY
Toys are essential for the joy and mental stimulation of our animals. Each dog has their favorites: from squeaky toys to chewies, all of them offer happy outlets. Some of our rescue dogs enjoy a spirited game of keep away, while others love playing fetch. Then there’s Lemming (below, center column), who cuddles her growing collection of stuffed animals.
Enrichment for the Cats of Living Free
Catios, short for “cat patios,” are a paradise for our resident felines. These spacious, outdoor, enclosed areas are designed with cats in mind, featuring sunning rocks, cat trees, climbing branches, and relaxation platforms. Catios offer a unique combination of outdoor exploration and safety, allowing cats to indulge their natural instincts while enjoying fresh air and observing wildlife. Cats have the freedom to come and go from the catio as they please, ensuring they can retreat indoors for a cozy nap after their outdoor adventures.
LIVING FREE ANIMAL SANCTUARY
At the Living Free Cattery, “cat highways” consist of elevated shelves on walls, creating an exciting pathway. These serve a dual purpose by boosting cat confidence while providing mental stimulation in an intriguing environment. Cats can hop between shelves, exploring and gaining a unique perspective. And cat highways are easy to install at home.
Our Cattery is designed to provide our rescued cats opportunities to connect and form friendships. The cats are grouped within different rooms, with ample space for both social interactions and quiet solitude. Some cats eagerly engage in play and companionship, and others prefer peaceful naps in secluded corners. This flexibility allows each cat to find their comfort zone and build relationships at their own pace.
A Variety of Toys
Cats, like dogs, have their own toy preferences, and at Living Free, we cater to their unique tastes. Our Cattery offers a diverse range of toys to entertain every feline resident. Some enjoy crinkle toys, while others prefer fake mice for stalking and pouncing. Interactive play with caretakers, such as chasing a toy on a string, is also a hit. A particularly inventive addition to our Cattery is the cat treadmill, which, though not universally popular, provides an excellent outlet for exercise for the cats who take to it.
By integrating simple, mindful enrichments into our pets’ daily lives, we can foster deeper connections, promote mental and physical health. The best part? The activities and environments curated at Living Free are not exclusive to our residents: Whether it be through replicating our cat highways or engaging in mindful play with toys, every pet owner has the power to provide a rich, fulfilling life for their furry friends. We invite you to explore, adapt, and embrace these practices, ensuring every pet experiences the joy and stimulation they deserve.
Living Free Animal Sanctuaryis located at 54250 Keen Camp Road, PO Box 5, Mountain Center, CA 92561. To book a tour, visit living-free.org/visit-us. Open by appointment.