Branford shelter director lived in a dog kennel for a week

Animals and Wildlife

BRANFORD, Conn. (WTNH)– One of the most important missions of an animal shelter is to help our four-legged friends find their forever homes.

But Laura Burban, director of Dan Cosgrove animal shelter in Branford, wanted to know what her kennels were really like, so she lived in one for a week.

Not once, but four times: one week for every season.

“I learned so much about their behaviors overnight and I also learned a lot about how I felt being in there,” said Burban.

She wrote about it for her masters thesis at UConn. Now that she’s graduated, she’s ready to talk about what she experienced behind those kennel doors. 

“It’s really helped me to become more proactive with what we’re doing,” she said.

One thing surprised her the most was how awake the dogs were overnight. 

“In home settings where if you have a dog when you’re sleeping,” said Burban, “they typically go to sleep, we turn the lights out, and that’s it, they’re asleep. But in shelters, a lot of times we have emergency lighting that stays on so it’s pretty bright in the shelters and dogs don’t want to sleep in bright lights just like we don’t.”

They’ve even made some changes to the dog room, like adding baffling panels to absorb some of that noise.

“The decibels are so high in the dog room, it’s at 120 decibels at any given time,” said Burban, “which is like a jet plane taking off.”

Moving forward, she said it changed how they do things at the shelter. 

“As we continue our journey here at the shelter we’re going to continue to make changes positive changes for these animals,” said Burban, “so we can get them adopted faster and make people more comfortable while they’re here, too.”

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