I am a devout dog lover. So much so, that first thing every morning, I write on an index card, “By combining my passion for music with my love of dogs, I improve the lives of canines and people worldwide.” It is a statement I am deeply grateful to own and one that guides my daily decisions. It manifests itself in Through a Dog’s Ear, clinically researched music for canine anxiety problems. I’m a concert pianist, Juilliard graduate, and the recording artist on the Through a Dog’s Ear music series.
A few days ago, I was contacted by Border Collie Rescue Texas. They had just taken in 25 dogs from a horrendous hoarding situation. These dogs had never been with people, never been indoors, and now require extra professional expertise as they move into foster homes. My eyes filled with tears as I read the email request for Through a Dog’s Ear CDs to be used in recovery efforts. Contributing my music to dogs in this way means more to me than appearing on a concert stage.
After packaging 50 free CDs for the Border Collies, I pondered what else we could do to help other animal rescue organizations. Through a Dog’s Ear music now plays in over 1,500 shelters internationally. We always hear from grateful shelter managers about how much calmer and quieter the shelter environment is with the addition of our music. In addition to calming dogs, the quieter environment creates longer visiting times for people and often increases adoption rates.
Since clinical research was conducted by vet neurologist Susan Wagner in 2004, quieter shelter environments do not surprise us. Clinical studies showed that our psychoacoustically designed classical music sound tracks calms twice as effectively as ‘regular’ classical music. We provide music at cost to shelters while our wonderful publisher, Sounds True, provides free CD’s for the adopters of new shelter dogs.
The consideration of the sensory environment – be it in a shelter or your home – is critical to the long-term health of our animals. Humans have stress relief strategies at hand. Dogs and cats don’t have access to relaxation or anti-anxiety techniques.