A local organization has embarked on a quest to establish a weekly music program to help soothe pets at the San Clemente-Dana Point Animal Shelter who oftentimes are recovering from traumatizing experiences elsewhere.
The Pet Project Foundation, the volunteer arm of the local shelter, recently hosted its first musician, an 11-year-old violin player from Ladera Ranch, as part of “The Woofgang/Poochini Concert Series.”
Foundation Director Nancy Koritz said that after reading studies that stated classical music can help reduce anxiety in shelter animals, she reached out to multiple shelters who already did so that verified the music’s efficacy.
“Animals that end up in the shelter, they’re there for a number of reasons,” she said. “Most of them are very scared, some of them are sick, some of them haven’t been treated right.”
Regardless of the various stressors pets may endure, data shows that classical music has a calming effect, according to Koritz.
Wanting to try something new for the shelter, which is entirely funded and operated by volunteers, she put out a call for young string musicians in her local Ladera Ranch Facebook group, of which there are more than 4,000 members. Soon enough, Koritz received a sizeable number of responses.
When middle school student Hayden Dossey played for the shelter dogs, Koritz said that most of them were intrigued, apart from one who clearly was not a fan.
“We have a pit bull named River who’s been there almost three years, we’ve just had a hard time finding him a permanent home,” she said. “He was mesmerized. He just stood (there) and he was listening the whole time.”
The concert program would be beneficial for both the animals, who need socialization, and for the musicians who need practice, according to Koritz.
“Of course, animals don’t care if you miss a note, and it can be sometimes intimidating to play in front of people,” Koritz said.
She added that the program would be available for anyone who wanted to play for 30 to 45 minutes, and that the foundation staff would be willing to work with interested parties to get them on the schedule.
The newest program will also be similar to the shelter’s Calming Tales and Senior Tales programs wherein children and older adults, respectively, come to read to the animals.
Koritz mentioned that she is also open to posting about the concert series in Dana Point and San Clemente’s Facebook groups.
To learn more about the programs, contact the Pet Project Foundation via email at email@example.com or call the animal shelter at 949.492.1617.