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Behavior manager helps prepare Durham dogs for adoption

Posted August 10

— A Durham shelter has implemented a unique new program to help make sure their pets are ready for adoption.

Juli Vetere has been the animal behavior manager at the Animal Protection Society of Durham for just four months, but she is filling a position the shelter has never had before.

“They did play groups before, they did behavior evaluations before, they were monitoring the dogs before. They were doing all the same things, but what it lacked was the staff oversight,” she said.

Behavior manager helps prepare Durham dogs for adoption

Vetere is a certified professional dog trainer who has held various positions in the animal world.

Most recently, she worked for the Humane Society as a contractor who specialized in cruelty cases. At the APS, her main goals are to make sure the dogs are happy and to get as many adopted out as possible.

“Basically, just doing everything I can to help the dogs,” Vetere said.

Since joining the APS, she has increased the number of behavior evaluations from two to three per week and she has assembled a behavior team.

Vetere has also spearheaded a new program called “Project Dogs” to give dogs with behavioral issues some extra attention.

“Maybe they are really fearful, maybe they are really shy or maybe they are jumpy, mouthy kind of behaviors,” she said. “So it is moving dogs through the system a little bit quicker, and it helps us get the dogs up and available for adoption quicker.”

As with any new role, Vetere said there have been challenges, but they are ones she said she is working through. She said she hopes to meet the needs of the dogs of Durham County, both inside and outside the shelter.

“My main goal is to continue developing the program and continue adding enrichment for the animals and further learning myself,” she said.

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